Omamori DESIRE (a single desire for those who receive it) for wallet
IMAGE: Maiko (drawing by Fujishima Takeji, 1867-1943)
A maiko (舞妓) is an apprentice geisha in Kyoto and Western Japan. Their jobs consist of performing songs, dances, and playing the shamisen or other traditional Japanese instruments for visitors during banquets and parties, known as ozashiki.
Maiko are usually aged between 15 to 20 years old and graduate to geisha status after a period of training, which includes learning to dance traditionally, play the shamisen, sing kouta (lit. "short songs"), and, in Kyoto only, learn the Kyoto dialect. This apprenticeship usually ranges from a period of a few months to a year or two years, though apprentices too old to dress as maiko may instead skip to the stage of geisha, despite still being in training.
Maiko are known by other terms in areas such as Toyko, such as hangyōku (半玉) (lit. "half jewel", referring to one euphemistic term for a geisha's wages, "jewel money"). The traditions of apprentice geisha in these areas vary from those in Kyoto, sometimes to a considerable degree, including appearance and apprenticeship structure.
Maiko originated from women who served green tea and dango (Japanese dumpling made from rice flour) to people who visited the Kitano Tenman-gū or Yasaka Shrine (these are the two of the famous shrines in Kyoto) at teahouses in the temple town about 300 years ago.