Refer to Flickr photo captioned: In the Flower and Willow World, Height is of No Importance.
A young geisha or child geisha is called Maiko. There are certain hairstyle worn only by Maiko or older geishas and these traditions have also changed over the years. Not all geishas begin by being Maiko. Those who have reached the age of 21 and wish to become geisha are too old to be Maiko. However, those who are Maiko, or children born into geisha can easily be identified by their hairstyles.
The Momoware or Ofuku is part of the shimada geisha hairstyles which is the traditional hairstyle. This hairstyle resembles a split peach and is often thought of by those when they think of geisha hairstyles. In fact, when most Americans or other westerners think of geisha, the image that comes to mind is often that of a Maiko and not a full geisha. This isn’t limited to hairstyles but also includes dress and makeup. Traditional Maiko makeup includes bright white face makeup that is applied in a thick coat or layer as well as bright red lipstick.
There are four major types of the shimada: the taka shimada, a high chignon usually worn by young, single women; the tsubushi shimada, a more flattened chignon generally worn by older women; the uiwata, a chignon that is usually bound up with a piece of colored cotton crepe; and a style that resembles a divided peach, which is worn only by maiko. This is sometimes called “Momoware”, or “split peach”. Additional hairstyles: Ofuku, Katsuyama, Yakko-shimada, and Sakko. Maiko of Miyagawa-chō and Pontochō will wear an additional six hairstyles leading up to the Sakko, including Umemodoki, Oshidori no Hina, Kikugasane, and Osafune.
From Immortal Geisha:
Traditionally, a young Maiko would change to the ofuku hairstyle of the senior Maiko after her mizuage, or when she got her first danna. One point of time in history, this change would have taken place between the ages of 13 and 15, although due to changes in laws, the age was slowly raised. Whilst this event would mark a change in the maturity and advancement of the Maiko, it no doubt would be of some embarrassment to her as everyone would know what events took place for the change of hairstyle! In the modern day hanamachi, mizuage is a practice that no longer takes place and the transformation to the ofuku hairstyle now takes place on or around her 18th birthday or three years after the start of her training.Visually, from the front, the hairstyle looks very similar to the wareshinobu except for the kanoko showing at the top of the mage in the wareshinobu style. At the back though, it is distinctly different with the kanoko being replaced by a chirimen tegarami. The tegarami, which is triangular in shape, is pinned to the bottom of the mage, rather than being woven through the mage as in the previous style.
The alternative name for the ofuku hairstyle is derived from its distinct look, the momoware or, better known, the “split peach” hairstyle. There is a debate though on which style is actually the correct one for momoware though. Some traditional hairstyle experts claim that it is the same as the ofuku with no split at the top, where others claim that the momoware actually has a small split in the top of the mage similar to the wareshinobu, but not as wide or prominent. Regardless, it has been stated that the name emerged due to the shape being sexual and tantalizing in nature, although this information has likely evolved over the years due to the fact that this hairstyle was worn by girls who had lost their virginity. It is highly possible the real meaning is lost in time, and quite a bit less exciting.
The senior Maiko will wear the ofuku hairstyle for the duration of her training up until two weeks to a month (there appears to be conflicting time frames) before her eri-kae (turning of collar) where she will don the elaborate sakkou hairstyle. Being a senior Maiko, she is also now able to wear both the katsuyama and yakko-shimada hairstyles for special events and festivals.
From Geisha of Japan:
The ‘split peach’ style worn after mizuage or a level of maturity is attained. The splash of red (no longer red and white) is meant to be suggestive and the types of hair decorations must change to match the hair style.
Ofuku hairdo is the famous Japanese hairstyle. Ofuku hairdo is also called as split peach and momoware hairstyle. Ofuku hairstyle is used for the long hairs. In the ofuku hairstyle the large amount of decorations is required which give pleasant looking. Ofuku is beautiful hairstyle and decorated with interesting variety of kanzashi. The twist is split and red fabric natural fiber in the center. The tegarami is triangular shape which is pinned to the underneath of the mage and ofuku hair style is conventional hair style.
Ofuku is famous from its distinct look, in the ofuku a toned down form with the knot worn lower which signified the maiko’s loss of virginity. Ofuku hairstyle is diffucult to achieve and this hairstyle is look good on special event.
Maiko and Ofuku Hairstyle
- Ofuku hairstyle is first developed by maiko.
- The maiko should grown her hair long and her Shikomi-san and Minarai-san thus that her own natural hair can be dressed up.
- Maiko will wear the ofuku hairdo for the period of her training.
- The young Maikomodify a ofuku hairstyle of the senior Maiko after her mizuage when she got her first danna.
- Ofuku hairstyle is used not only young women but also worn by teenage.
- After some time ofuku hairstyle was changed and gave a maturity looked.
- While these changes only make of maturity but also advancement of the Maiko.
- A maiko becomes a geisha and she switches out her red collar for a white one and her maiko kimono for a geisha kimono.
- But mature maiko wears a hairstyle called ofuku and the new maiko wears a hairso called as wareshinobu, which includes two strands of red ribbon that show her innocence.
- Mizuage was not a secret formal procedure but a group of maikos frequently shared the same mizuage patron.
- It was really amazing to be celebrated for the maiko with her hair done in the ofuku hairstyle.
- Maikos distribute gifts and sweets to her tea house mistresses and teachers.
- A split peach hairstyle is also supposed to have erotic effect on men.
- It has a knot in the back formed by wrapping the hair round a piece of fabric but in an apprentice geisha, the knot is of red silk.
In earlier days, there was a more clearly defined loss of virginity, called mizuage, that would go to the highest bidder, and launch the young maiko geisha into full womanhood. As the marker of this significant change in her life, red fabric is placed in the deflowered geisha’s “split peach” hairstyle.
Historically, the geisha would hope for a steady patron, or DANNA, who would provide her with financial support and consistent patronage.
Here are a couple further references being added in a September 23, 2012, edit to this post:
Today, geisha wear different shimada styles depending on their rank. A high chignon is usually worn by young women, for example, while only maiko, or apprentice geisha, can wear the “split peach” style bun, a round style …
Publish Date: 06/10/2012 13:56
Newer · Older. “split peach” hair-style: formed by wrapping the hair around a piece of fabric. In back where the knot is split, the fabric is left visible; it might be any design or colour, but in the case of an apprentice geisha it’s always red silk.
Publish Date: 11/24/2005 8:51