Nensho Geigi (年少芸妓)

Nensho geigi refers to a young geigi (a woman who gives fun with a song, dance or music instrument at a feast; geisha) who is not yet a full-fledged, or a girl who appears in ozashiki (banquets in which guests are attended by geisha) in hanamachi (geisha districts) as a geigi apprentice.

Nensho geigi is characterized by the typical style which emphasizes their young age; they wear kimono with long, trailing sleeves, that are removed the tucks at the shoulders and hemmed up, and haneri (neckpiece on a kimono), that is embroidered in red or reddish color, and pokkuri-geta (lacquered tall clogs), and their hair is done in the Japanese coiffure style for girls (such as momoware [literally, split peach; a hairstyle that the bun is split and a red fabric woven in the center], tojinmage [maiden hairstyle around Meiji period, characterized by separating the upper knots from the lower, decorated with fabric], yuiwata [hair style like cotton wrapped up], wareshinobu [a hairstyle characterized by a bagel-shaped, rolled knot worn high on her head, decorated with ribbons, ornaments and silk flowers], and ofuku [female hair style in kimono that the bun is split and a red fabric woven in the bottom]) using hana kanzashi (flower kanzashi [a decorative hair-pin]).

Formerly they earned half 'the hanadai' (fee for geisha) of geigi (also referred as gyokudai or senkodai), since their status was considered to be 'half' of that of geigi (excluding the geigi in Kyoto). Today, however, this is not the case.

Names for nensho geigi include 'hangyoku' (literally, half gyokudai), 'oshaku' (お酌 or 雛妓, person who pours sake liquor), 'maiko' (舞妓, apprentice geisha), 'akaeri' (red collar), 'kingyo' (goldfish), 'hinatsuko' (little geigi), and 'furisode' (a kimono with long, trailing sleeves).

They are called 'maiko' (舞妓) in Kansai region, and commonly 'hangyoku' in the hanamachi of other areas.

In Sakata City, Yamagata Prefecture, young shain geigi (geigi who are employed by organizations) are called 'maiko' (舞娘).

Also, in some places, 'younger geigi,' including hangyoku, are called by terms of endearment such as 'kirariko-san' (in Hakone Yumoto Hot Spring Resort, Kanagawa Prefecture) and 'karariko-san' (Aizu Higashiyama Hot Spring Resort, Fukushima Prefecture).

[Original Japanese]