Image: Unknown via Okinawa Soba
According to photographer and researcher Rob Oechsle (a.k.a. Okinawa Soba), who compiled these amazing Meiji (1868–1912) and Taisho (1912–1926) era photographs of geisha, it was not uncommon for geisha and maiko (their apprentices) to pose in a variety of costumes.
“From roughly the 1870s until the early 1920s, geisha pretty much owned the world of fashion and character modeling throughout the photo studios of Japan,” Oechsle explains. “The photographers… needed poised and pretty models who knew how to take direction as they posed in all manner of studio dress… and sometimes undress,” he adds.