Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No.614



Today, we would like you to enjoy Nichibu (Japanese dance) with nagauta singing. At the beginning, you can hear the shamisen, Japanese guitar play and the singing but the stage keeps dark for a while. It is supposed to be this way and not after a minute or so, you can see the dancer, so please wait for a little before the dancer appear in the light.

Our freind Keiko Minami san is dancing and the name of this dance piece is Keisei (kei means to lean and sei is a castle). This is a dance of an Oiran (you may have heard of Geisha. Oiran is high rank. Oiran are distinguished from yujo. Oiran were entertainers, very special celebrities of their times outside the pleasure districts. They had to be pretty and more of all had to be intellectual. They had to be able to play music, and had to have deep knowldge of way of tea and all other culture. They had to be accomplished. Their style and fashion collected attention and often became trends.

Keisei,is the Oiran and the word means an exceptional beauty who could make a ruler perish the country and destroy castle. The Oiran from Yoshiwara is showing her inner thought, saying she is just a woman who misses her lover and is longing he could love back. After expressing her honest thought, she changes and leaves to her work. It is quite a long piece and takes approx 18 minutes.

Music is very slow and the dance has unique tempo with atmosphere - there is no strong or high beat.  There is no extreme dance step. The music just keeps slow and gentle mode till the end.

People back in the time enjoyed this dance and the narrative singing-feeling the Oiran's emotion.

People must have had curiosity towards Oiran at that time-- their costume is stunning-and enjoyed to see the style on the stage. The music may sounds boring compared to the present music with strong beat and variety of instruments, The song of this dance only have shamisen(Japanese guitar) and tsutsumi(drum)to go with the song.

We hope you enjoy the unique music and dance which is completely different from what you see or hear now. We hope you enjoy seeing the gorgeous costume too.