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Kyoto entertainers perform New Year greeting ritual

In Japan's ancient capital of Kyoto, professional female entertainers known as "geiko," and their apprentices known as "maiko," have started offering early New Year's greetings. Kyoto's entertainment districts observe "kotohajime," which literally means "the start of things," on December 13. The day marks the beginning of preparations for the New Year. Geiko and maiko traditionally visit their teachers for kotohajime, as well as the shops they use. Some entertainment districts canceled the visits last year amid the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, geiko and maiko from the Gion Kobu district visited their dance teacher, Inoue Yachiyo, a designated living national treasure, at her rehearsal hall in Higashiyama Ward. The women exchanged greetings in a room decorated with rows of mochi rice cake offerings. They wore brightly colored kimonos. The students wished their teacher a happy new year, and asked for her continued support. Inoue thanked them and gave them celebratory folding fans.