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 Post subject: Hanamachi rivalry less intense today, or even over?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:28 pm 
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Minarai
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It's on p. 20 in the Dutch translation of Geisha: Ichikiku aka Liza Dalby and her Pontocho sisters looked down deep upon their 'double-licensed' [her okaasan said] Miyagawa sisters/competitors. And they felt they only had to look just a tiny bit up to posh Gion Kobu, if at all [p. 32].
Nowadays the very same Gion Kobu and Miyagawa-cho seem to get along well, as noted here by ewoodham. And I fully support the really nice comment _qd gave to that picture: I too think they'd all need one another nowadays rather than keep those old rivalries going, which IMHO are, and should be, totally passé.


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 Post subject: Re: Hanamachi rivalry less intense today, or even over?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:55 pm 
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Senior Maiko
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I don't think Dalby herself was dissing Miyagawacho, she was simply stating what her own Okaasan had told her so her readers would understand that there is rivalry between the districts and that for the most part the individual hanamachi aren't carbon-copies of each other. She didn't actually state whether she believed being from Miyagawacho was a detriment. She was actually pretty careful in making sure not to give a personal opinion about Miyagawacho, since she probably never went to talk to the ladies there and so had no counter-argument. Dalby was usually really good at getting the different takes on important issues, like older geisha/okaasan vs. modern geisha/maiko on mizuage, or the Gion Kobu vs. everyone else debate. So it struck me as strange that Dalby never once gave Miyagawacho's or Gion Higashi's opinion on their supposedly lowly state. I think if she had, that section of the book would have been a good deal longer.

I think it makes sense that the rivalry is lessening. While I believe it's true that the level of service and level of clientele in the 'lesser' hanamachi was sub-par in the distant past, (and that the Miyagawacho of the Meiji era and probably the Taisho era wasn't very high class), I believe that the level of service all of the hanamachi give now is equal as they all represent the image of the Kyoto Geiko. They all have to live up to a certain standard, and Gion Kobu isn't the only one setting it. The geiko of Miyagawacho are just as skilled as those from Gion Kobu, and they all recognize that. And since they all have the same general skill level and fight to preserve the same thing, the prejudice has probably alleviated. It's good to see that changes are happening...

Although our theories could be wrong and they all still do diss each other, but not when there are fifty photographers surrounding them ;).

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 Post subject: Re: Hanamachi rivalry less intense today, or even over?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 7:13 pm 
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moving this to discussion area

maikoemotebase

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 Post subject: Re: Hanamachi rivalry less intense today, or even over?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 9:22 pm 
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Minarai
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Thanks Fuyouhime for such an elaborate and well-built-up argument.

Even though I did make clear her okaasan was the person to actually state it, I agree I should have put a clearer 'distance' between Ichigiku / Liza Dalby and the looking-down-upon part. She did not say it was her own opinion too.

Strange indeed she never asked for an opinion in Gion Higashi or Miyagawa-cho. On the other hand, did she ever ask Kamishichiken, or even Gion Kobu itself, whether they agreed to being rated superior [even when the answer may be guessed with near certainty :wink: ]?
Besides, Ichigiku personally still did get a cold shoulder once or twice from Gion Kobu women IIRC.
Though not 100% sure of this, all in all it seems she chose to stick to her own Pontocho [or even her own okiya] as the primary case study object.

Your description of an ongoing process of catching-up by the 'lesser' hanamachi seems to make sense too. For instance, Miyagawa's own dancing school started late [c. 1950] compared to Gion Kobu and Pontocho [c. 1870], but they improve ever since. I like their Kyo Odori!
All hanamachi starting with shikomi of about 15 years of age & no experience nowadays obviously will produce the
Quote:
same general skill level
you spoke about.

WRT your final remark: so all those obsistant, obstreperous & obnoxious photographers even are useful? Gosh, it seems even I can go now! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Hanamachi rivalry less intense today, or even over?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:01 pm 
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Minarai
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I think it's great that they want to support each other and not to destroy. I also noticed that maiko and geiko from diffrent hanamachis come to each others odoris and other public events.

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 Post subject: Re: Hanamachi rivalry less intense today, or even over?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:15 pm 
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Junior Maiko
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Sometimes the visiting of the other events is for PR and scoping out 'the enemy', as well as respect for the tradition. They want to know who they are up against. The profession isn't all about outshining each other, but some geiko and maiko are more popular than others and being more popular implies more success, meaning a better career. You can say all office workers are equal, but an office worker of a more prestigious company will be seen in better light than Joe Schmoe at XYZ Corporation. And then even in the more prestigious places there is the hierarchy of salaries. A weird analogy, I apologize lol

I don't think there is really blood-thirsty rivalry and Hollywood-type backstabbing, as it would be hard to get away with. Plenty of girls to rat you out and really no time to get away with anything. I'm sure there are rumors, but that's common of any people living in such close proximity. If you're the girl known to spread these rumors and gossip you look just as bad as the gossip subject, so discretion I'm sure is valuable.

I like to hope that the genuinely nice and goodhearted girls get ahead, over the nasty ones. I don't think it is a profession that attracts too many buttholes because of all the discipline and cooperation involved.

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 Post subject: Re: Hanamachi rivalry less intense today, or even over?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:11 pm 
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No one can really say why the maiko and geiko visit each other's performances. It could be appreciation of the art just as much as it is scoping out the enemy. Largely, I don't think the maiko and geiko compete so much on an individual basis with maiko and geiko from other districts since they all have slightly different clients. Each district has a certain flavor to it, so a client from Pontocho isn't quite the same as one from Kamishichiken. So it's not like the women are fighting over the same customers. From what I've read, the only times that maiko and geiko would really single out and pick on a woman from another hanamachi was when said woman was invited to entertain in another district. In that case, she had entered their world but she didn't have the support system to protect her. It was like she was stealing their customers, and she was also a sitting duck. Of course they picked on her.

But all in all, I think the rivalry is really more a group spirit sort of thing. After all, a geiko from Gion Kobu is going to be proud of being such and have a deep bond with Gion Kobu, so obviously she's going to be biased about the merits of her district. That doesn't mean she doesn't like Pontocho and thinks they suck, she just thinks that Gion Kobu is better. But Pontocho geiko will of course have their own bias towards their district, along with the geiko from every other hanamachi. They probably don't hate each other, but put them all together when the group dances come up and that's five contradicting opinions in a small space. So, bickering probably happens, but it still doesn't mean that they don't respect the overall image and skills of the women of the other districts. They all know what each other is going through, so it's not hate, it's more like school rivalry.

Compared to those few instances when all of the districts are together, I personally think most rivalry in the karyukai is within the individual hanamachi, with Gion Kobu women fighting other Gion Kobu women and likewise with the other districts. There's going to be competition and rivalry no matter what. The fact is that they are all working towards the same goal but not everyone is going to get it. Not everyone is going to be Number One, and not everyone is even going to be a success. So, there's rivaly, but most of it probably doesn't go above the level of childish bickering or pranks. I seriously doubt that all of the maiko and geiko go through the stuff that happened to Mineko Iwasaki, and that most of the time they all generally get along.

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 Post subject: Re: Hanamachi rivalry less intense today, or even over?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:17 am 
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Minarai
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I recently was reading an interview and a few discussions. Rivalry is still alive and there, however it is more now a matter of taking pride in where you come from...and clinging to those few last nodes of clientbase that exist. The community is collectively aware that backstabbing one another...only puts their collectively existance the more in peril.

Rivalry is natural, and human nature. It is there, just transformed as the industry itself changes.

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 Post subject: Re: Hanamachi rivalry less intense today, or even over?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:07 pm 
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First Year Maiko
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Atropos wrote:
I recently was reading an interview and a few discussions. Rivalry is still alive and there, however it is more now a matter of taking pride in where you come from...and clinging to those few last nodes of clientbase that exist. The community is collectively aware that backstabbing one another...only puts their collectively existance the more in peril.

Rivalry is natural, and human nature. It is there, just transformed as the industry itself changes.


well said :giggle: !

I guess what happens is it´s forbiden to show rivality,it should be subtile.I got surprise when i saw it so open in Dalby´s book (her ozashiki in Gion).I belive geishas are more elegant in this matter than "normal people".I can´t imagine a geiko fight in an ozahiki,for exemple,just in stuff like "Memoirs of a geisha"....

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 Post subject: Re: Hanamachi rivalry less intense today, or even over?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:44 pm 
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First Year Maiko
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I saw in a programm, can't remember which one for the life of me, in which a Maiko-san sayd herself that rivalry is still very much alive but only on a professional level. When it comes down to personal matters they apparently are like a big family.

That's something i can understand because i work in a mostly female workplace and we all try and look after ourselves and bickering is just part of communication.


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