A maiko 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.
Portraits of geisha and maiko without kimonos in the early 1900s
Maiko are usually aged between 17 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, 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.
Here below is a set of beautiful photos from Okinawa Soba that shows portraits of geisha and maiko without kimonos in the early 1900s.
A geisha awake inside her own dream
A geisha gathering her hair
A geisha girl models an exotic take on western fashion
A geisha waits between poses as the photographer changes out lenses