Photo/IllutrationGeisha and maiko from Gion Kobu express their gratitude to Inoue Yachiyo V, a master of the Inoue school of “kyomai” dance, in Kyoto's Higashiyama Ward on Dec. 13. (Yoshiko Sato)

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  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

KYOTO--A colorful scene unfolded at the home of a master of traditional geisha dance, as her students took turns offering messages of gratitude and good wishes for the year to come.

The "kotohajime" ceremony held Dec. 13 marked the start of preparations for the new year in the "kagai" entertainment area.

Inoue Yachiyo V, 63, is a teacher of the Inoue school of "kyomai" dance, which originated in the ancient capital.

In a room where her students take dance lessons at her home in Higashiyama Ward, "kagami mochi" (mirror-shaped rice cakes) gifted by her students were arranged on a hina doll stand covered in a scarlet cloth.

Geisha and maiko apprentices from the Gion Kobu entertainment district took turns greeting their mentor and offering an "Omedetosandosu" (Congratulations).

Inoue offered words of encouragement to them and handed each a folding "maiogi" fan used in Japanese traditional dance as a celebratory gift.