The spring dances of Kyoto offer a rare glimpse of Geisha performances
|Yuki Onna: the Snow Woman|
The deadly but beautiful Yuki-Onna
Yuki-Onna, the snow woman, is winter manifested in a deadly, ghostly form. She is depicted as all white with long black hair wearing a white kimono — beautiful but deadly like winter itself. And like winter, Yuki-Onna was cruel and ruthless in killing unlucky souls caught in her icy realm. She was particularly known for killing mortals by either breathing upon them with her icy breath or simply leading them astray so they would die of exposure.
Yuki-Onna is best remembered from author Lafcadio Hearn’s Kwaiden, a collection of various strange and ghostly tales. She attacks two men in a lone hut in the wilderness but spares one because of his youth and good looks.
Akane and Yuki-Onna fight over Kasumimura’s love
Kasumimura returns as Springs begins
Sei Shonagon: Observant and Opinionated Court Lady
Curtain representing the seasons
Sei Shonagon was a lady-in-waiting at the Japanese Imperial Court in the beginning of the 11th Century. She kept a personal diary of sorts in which she wrote down her experiences but mainly her feelings. Such diaries were common at the time and were called pillow books because these books were often kept next to people’s pillows in which they would write their experiences and observations. The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon gives an invaluable insight into the world of the Imperial Court of Kyoto a thousand years ago. Sei Shonagon’s observations are witty, wry, poignant, and at times condescending. Sei Shonagon was a contemporary - however, not a friend - of the famed novelist Murasaki Shikibu who wrote The Tale of the Genji.
Young maiko dance in kimonos the color of cherry blossoms
A Geisha dancer representing summer nights
A Geisha plays as a servant working on a winter morning