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Geisha and maiko perform for first time in 8 months on special stages in Kyoto

"Maiko" apprentice geisha are seen performing traditional dance to the musical piece "Gion Kouta" at the Gion Corner theater in Kyoto's Higashiyama Ward on Nov. 7, 2020. (Mainichi/Hiroshi Odanaka)
Geisha are seen performing traditional dance to the piece "Shiokumi" at the Gion Corner theater in Kyoto's Higashiyama Ward on Nov. 7, 2020. (Mainichi/Hiroshi Odanaka)

KYOTO -- Special performances by geisha and "maiko" apprentice geisha from one of the five famous "hanamachi" entertainment districts in Kyoto began on Nov. 7 in this western Japan city.

    The special shows by geisha and maiko of the Gion Kobu district have been organized by the Kyoto Traditional Art Foundation in an attempt to make up for opportunities lost amid the coronavirus pandemic. On Nov. 7, nine geisha and maiko appeared on stage and performed a traditional Kyoto dance to four musical pieces, including "Shiokumi" and "Gion Kouta," at the Gion Corner theater in Kyoto's Higashiyama Ward.

    The Gion Corner theater had been temporarily closed since the end of February due to the new coronavirus. The special performances will be held for a total of 14 days, all Saturdays and Sundays, until Dec. 20, and 71 members in all will take turns appearing on stage. On Saturdays, three shows will start at 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m., while Sundays will consist of only the earlier two performances. The number of seats has been limited to 94 -- below half the usual number -- as a preventative measure against the spread of coronavirus infections.

    Tickets cost 3,000 yen for adults, 2,000 yen for high school and university students, and 1,000 yen for elementary and junior high school students. For more inquiries, please call the Gion Corner theater at 075-561-1119 (available between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.)

    (Japanese original by Hiroshi Odanaka, Kyoto Bureau)

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