WaiWai: The kabuki actor, his politician wife, the rock star and their geisha

This article is reproduced from the discontinued, but much loved Mainichi Waiwai column by Ryann Connell. Read more about this at the bottom of this article.

While many eagerly await the union between Takacho, the top geisha, and Takuya, the guitarist, just as many are looking back to see how much carnage the pair have caused with past liaisons.

Takacho, the Thinking Butterfly, currently commands the greatest attention of all geiko, the name given to women of the arts in the ancient capital.

But the 21-year-old superstar of the geisha world is best known for a June 2002 scandal when the tabloid sheet Friday captured her on camera as she left a hotel room.

Sending her off, as the photo showed, was kabuki actor Ganjiro Nakamura, a Living National Treasure.

And the photo also showed a farewell salutation from the spread-open gown of this Living National Treasure’s family jewels.

Titillated tabloid journalists were even more delighted because the kabuki actor and geiko were playing around on his wife, Chikage Ogi, who was a Cabinet Minister at the time.

Takacho gained instant notoriety for her role in the sort of scandal that delights Japan — one that contained everything from the traditional arts, politics, prominent celebrities and, of course, illicit sex, implied or otherwise.

“That scandal made Takacho the most famous geiko in Gion,” a geiko tells Shukan Gendai, referring to the goings-on in Kyoto’s geisha quarter. “When she changed her collar (went from being a maiko apprentice geisha to being the fully fledged performer), her popularity and name recognition were number one in all of Gion.”

Takuya, meanwhile, has established something of a reputation among young women as a heartthrob while performing in his old band, Judy and Mary, one of Japan’s most successful acts.

Friday also caught him on celluloid with an old lover, celebrity Shinju Sato, and he also dated Yuki, the frontwoman of Judy and Mary.

Many are pondering how a rock guitarist could ever have gotten together with such a sought-after siren. But the answer is simple: their roots.

“Takuya was brought up in Gion. His family runs restaurants in Kyoto and his grandma was a geiko. He grew up about one minute’s walk from Takacho’s teahouse,” the operator of a teahouse, the name given to the establishments where geisha are based, says.

Takuya met Takacho when she entertained at one of the parties he gave in Gion last year. They exchanged phone e-mail addresses and began dating.

“Takacho’s a bright spark and quickly comes out with whatever’s on her mind,” one of the geiko’s regular customers tells Shukan Gendai, adding that the geisha will leave the world of willow and flowers after marrying to become a housewife. “She can drink like a fish and when she gets blotto, those huge eyes of hers start to droop. God, it’s sexy.”


(The Mainichi Waiwai column ran online from April 19, 2001 – June 21, 2008. It was a much loved form of entertainment amongst foreigner in and outside of Japan. To any reader it was obviously not serious news, but it was a set of articles that portrayed quite well how the Japanese tabloids actually write about their own country. In 2008, a small number of Japanese people bought it to the attention of rival news groups that Mainichi was running an anti-Japan column on its website. With the bad publicity, Mainichi was forced to shut the page down, and take punitive measures against the journalists that were working on it, claiming that it was receiving opinions that were critical of the column, such as “its contents are too vulgar” and “the stories could cause Japanese people to be misunderstood abroad”. A perfect example of how Japanese consider what they write in their own script to be an acceptable secret code, that the rest of the world cant understand. When that same tabloid rubbish gets inconveniently translated to English to make light of some aspects of the Japanese people, it gets canned. Stippy.com finds this unacceptable, and will reproduce as much of the Waiwai content as possible in order to bring it once again to our computer screens for a good laugh. Of course we claim no credit for this content, and attribute it to it’s writers who were former Mainichi employees. Waiwai in its true and glorious form has been discontinued, but it’s legacy will live on at stippy.com for all to enjoy.)

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