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Geiko Kayo - in Winter Dress 1870s

Geiko (geisha) Kayo dressed in winter clothes ready for a snowy day. This type of headscarf is called an Okoso-zukin.


Era Kayo 江良加代 was a popular geiko (geisha) in Gion, Kyoto during the early Meiji period (1870s). At one time she became the mistress of Saionji Kinmochi (1849 – 1940), who was a politician, statesman and twice Prime Minister of Japan. Although, Kido Takayoshi (1833 – 1877), a statesman during the Meiji Restoration, pursued her and promised to pay for her stage costumes, he died before he kept his word. After Kido’s death, Ito Hirobumi (1841 – 1909), four times Prime Minister of Japan, paid for her costumes in his stead, but she jilted Ito to become the mistress of Mitsui Gen’emon (1867 – 1945), a noted businessman.


Her name is written in kanji on the reverse, sometimes with the honourable prefix O (お), e.g. O-Kayo.

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Taken on January 1, 2011