This is something I came across a few months ago and have been meaning to post on since.
The manga above is a bilingual PR magazine published by the “International Hospitality and Conference Service Association”. I’m not quite sure what the purpose of that organization is, but its office is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I found the magazine in my pigeon hole at the correspondent’s club.
As well as articles on bonsai, English haiku and an interview with the First Secretary of the Greek Embassy, there was a two page manga about a Kyoto maiko called “Ookini Maiko chan”. The bit above gave me a surprise. I suspect this is a gentle attempt by the Foreign Ministry to educate non-Japanese about “image rights” (肖像権) in Japan.
Now, I understand that celebrities are trying to control media photos, but geisha and tourist snaps???!!! Is some tourist who takes a geisha snap then puts it on their blog going to get a letter from a Kyoto geisha lawyer?
Well, perhaps not. But this must be indicative of the way things are going in Japan. (Incidentally, I quickly checked Flickr and there are over 35,000 photos tagged with “Geisha”.)
The manga is by Shigeo Murakami, who writes a popular series about a sushi-chef.