My Day as a furisode shinzō

During the Golden Week (first week in May) I had the chance to participate in the biggest historical show in Kumamoto City: the oiran dōchū. Find out more about the day when I became a Japanese prostitute in Edo-Period.

Starting in the early morning

Ok, to be honest: it wasn’t too early (9 a.m.), but it took 3 hours for make-up and dressing up.


Nearly 90% of all nihongami (日本髪 traditional hair up-do) you see today, are wigs. Anyway, on this all hair up-dos are done with one’s own hair. It was my first time I had nihongami and it was a great but hurtful experience.


Japanese traditional make-up only uses the colors black, red, and white. Sounds like Snow-white, doesn’t it? The color blue was only used in Japanese theaters like kabuki (歌舞伎) or noh (能). A luxury only actors could enjoy.


And that’s how a foreign furisode shinzō would have looked like. A furisode shinzō was a girl who was promised to become an oiran once. Which was quite a big deal in Edo-Period, because oiran weren’t only prostitutes. They were fashion icons and professional dancers and musicians. (Read more about the difference between an oiran and a geisha here.)

Taking a walk through Edo-Japan

After my furisode shinzō fellows and I were finished, we grabbed some parasols and took a walk through the old city. Where we actually tried to make the flair more Edo-like or “Higo-like”. (Higo is the old name of Kumamoto, as Edo is the old name of Tokyo.)


The main performance – oiran dōchū


It was an amazing day! Such a great experience! I’m so thankful for being given the chance to be part of this breathtaking event.

All make-up artists, hair and kimono stylists are professionals who volunteer on that day. As well as the supporting staff who fulfilled all our wishes on that hot and humid day, all of them did a great job.


Don’t wanna miss the next oiran dōchū in Kumamoto?

They are hold twice a year during Golden Week (first week in May) and during Kumamoto’s Light Festival (2nd weekend in October). Come and join us into the old Japan!

Picture credits: © Photoglower / All rights reserved


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