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Geisha Culture and Arts for Use at

Amatsu Okiya in Second Life

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 other roles that 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 in a SecondLife (SL) 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.

At Amatsu Okiya in SL, you begin your training as a shikomi.. a young girl in preparation. Here are your learning tasks in this stage:

Discipline - you will learn this by doing chores and studies (guided or independently)

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 Amatsu 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 SL.

It is important to know that Amatsu Okiya is run very differently from others. It is a quiet, country okiya focused more on independent study, but we also have plenty of one-on-ones and some group discussion. Okaasan is happy to guide and discuss your questions, but it is up to you to bring your presence, 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 SL experience. You must be able to 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 or even worse, bumping into Mother!

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

While it is advisable to proceed at a rate that is comfortable for you, it is best if we are confidant that you understand each stage is intentional to lay a foundation for further training. If you are thoughtful and contemplative, you will see the path is meaningful to the goal. 

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 an improper attitude or rudeness - be polite.
  • Explore and become familiar with Amatsu Shima so you may provide tours for our visitors and residents. Some have shikomi have made notecards with landmarks and pictures as well as scripting to help them remember important facts.
  • Add active members of the Okiya to your friend's list. Check with Okaasan first.
  • Makeup: subdued, natural - no painted lips or eyeshadow
  • Hair: wear down, neat, not in your face, could be in a single braid behind your back or over one shoulder
  • Dress: simple yukata, zouri (flat-soled sandals) and tabi (white socks with big toe separated)
  • Behavior: demure, quiet, respectful, shy (maid)


Please obtain the following from Okaasan:

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

Upon assignment completion, continue to Shikomi 2: Roleplay