Apprentice geisha are called Hangyoku. They learn how to behave at ozashiki parties, how to play the shamisen and other musical instruments, and about the traditional Japanese tea ceremony and others. They are then divided into Tachikata and Jikata geisha and train hard in the pursuit of professionalism.
Tachikata refers to geisha whose major role is dancing (Japanese dance). They need to perform dances suitable for each ozashiki party and guest. They also need to be able to respond to unexpected requests and should therefore have a broad repertoire of dances to draw upon.
Jikata refers to geisha who are tasked with singing and playing the shamisen and other musical instruments. Jikata geisha also need to have a broad repertoire of musical pieces that they can perform. As they play while Tachikata geisha are dancing, Jikata geisha need to match the tempo of the movements. The required skills are very difficult to master and so they spend a lot of time practicing.
© 2021Tokyo Akasaka Geisha Union
photo by NARUYASU NABESHIMA/SHINICHI YOKOYAMA/NAOKO UKIBE