Geisha Culture and Arts

Shikomi 1: Introduction

     Welcome to the first level of training - Shikomi. The purpose of this lesson is to discuss the role of Shikomi online role play and familiarize you with some of the others you may see in a SecondLife Okiya. At the end of this lesson there are some assignments. You will have 1 week to complete this initial stage. 


A shikomi is in SecondLife okiya is a young girl first orienting to life in an okiya - or Geisha House. She works as a maid straightening up  rooms, running errands, doing chores and tending to the needs of the mother (Okaasan) and others in the house. 

You begin your training as a shikomi.. a young girl in preparation. Here are your learning tasks in this stage: 

  1. Discipline - you will learn this by doing chores and studies (guided or independently
  2. Observation - watching your older sisters interacting, but also watch movies or read books like Geisha by Liza Dalby; Geisha: A Unique World of Tradition, Elegance and Art  by John Gallagher, Memoirs of a Geisha as movie or book and you will see other suggestions as you go through the studies.
This is a trial period to determine your fit in the Okiya and to find out if it fits you! If the Amatsu Okiya is not your "cup of tea", no worries. There are many other opportunities to find in SecondLife. It is important to know that Amatsu Okiya is run very differently then many of the others. It is a quiet okiya focused more on independent study, a quiet little village in the country. Okaasan is happy to guide and discuss your questions, but it is up to you to research and learn. No one can do this for you.
At this stage, study hard, demonstrate that you are enthusiastic and do your best. Please talk about your concerns rather than just running away. It would be rude and disrespectful to make us worry. 

Prerequisite to Shikomi role at Amatsu Okiya is a minimum of 3 months Second Life experience, you speak, understand and read/write in English. You need to be proficient at guiding your avatar to move, sit, kneel, walk through doors without injuring yourself or the house. :)

The shikomi stage must last at least a week before you are eligible to advance to the next stage of Minarai.

Do this...

  • Do your chores and submit a creative note card about the chore - get into your role
  • Attend classes and/or discuss lessons with your mentor (Okaasan or older sister)
  • Complete the Shikomi web lessons and independently investigate learning opportunities in bookstores, online, with other okiya in SecondLife.
  • Ask questions in character and be respectful at all times. Do not risk being expelled for attitude or rudeness - be polite.
  • Explore and become familiar with Amatsu Shima so you may provide tours for our guests. Some have made notecards with landmarks and pictures
  • Add active members of the Okiya to your friend's list and arrange to meet a minimum of two geisha from our okiya or another (Okaasan can help you with this)
  • Makeup: subdued, natural - no painted lips or eyeshadow
  • Hair: wear down, neat, not in your face, could be in a braid
  • Dress: simple yukata, zouri (flat-soled sandals) and tabi (white socks with big toe separated)
  • Behavior: demure, quiet, respectful, shy


Please obtain the following from Okaasan:

  • bow and kneel animations
  • Japanese phrases
  • A place to call "home" if needed
  • Membership: Amatsu Shima, Amatsu Okiya and Amatsu Tea House Groups
  • House rules and about training
  • Ask which people to add from the Amatsu Okiya as friends

Upon assignment completion, continue to Shikomi 2: Roleplay