View photographs that reveal the lesser-known traditions of geishas, present-day Kyoto and more

Get a rare glimpse of life in traditional and contemporary Japan at the Asian Civilisations Museum’s new double-bill showcase.

Named Life in Edo | Russel Wong in Kyoto, the exciting exhibition runs from now till Sep 16 to tell some lesser-known stories about the Land of the Rising Sun. Presented in two parts, both displays spotlight different time periods and themes of Japan. While Life in Edo draws attention to the lifestyle and trends of the Edo period (often thought of as the final period of traditional Japan), Russel Wong in Kyoto offers previously unseen photographs of Kyoto’s geiko culture.

Credit: ACM

In addition to exploring everyday occurrences of the Edo period through the showcase of woodblock prints and paintings, also known as ukiyo-e (pictures of the floating world), look forward to getting an intimate look at celebrated Singaporean photographer Russel Wong’s works.

Spotlighting various aspects of modern-day Kyoto, Wong has premiered pictures from his 13-year-long, ongoing personal project that documents the geishas of Kyoto, shedding light on some rarely seen and lesser-known traditions of this private community.

Credit: ACM

For instance, 40 black-and-white photographs illustrate customs and traditions such as the Erikae ceremony, a two-week-long process where a maiko (geisha-in-training) prepares herself to become a geisha.

There are also depictions of the quintessential tea ceremony, one of the most well-known customs in traditional Japanese culture and a crucial part of the geiko and maiko training.

Emulating the ukiyo e-prints on display at the Life in Edo exhibition, nearly all photographs in the Kyoto collection have been printed in oban size, the most popular woodblock print format during the Edo period.

So Japanophiles, be sure to head on down to the Asian Civilisations Museum to learn more about the country as travel restrictions persist. While you’re there, you can even take notes for future vacations.

Life in Edo | Russel Wong in Kyoto runs from now till Sep 16 at the Asian Civilisations Museum. More information available here.