Geisha-turned-YouTuber Kimono Mom taps into the heart of parenting

Japan Times -- Jan 29
The life of a geisha in Japan is often perceived as being shrouded in mystery, the exact opposite of what you’d imagine life is like for a YouTuber.

It’s a contradiction that “Kimono Mom” knows well.

For years, Moe, the 30-year-old creator of the Kimono Mom YouTube channel, trained as a maiko (apprentice geisha) in her hometown of Kyoto, eventually debuting as a geisha.

“I was in Gion and the beauty of what I was doing came from not exposing everything,” she says. “Hiding was the beauty of it, and I never put my personal life out there.”

That changed at the start of last year, when Moe began uploading videos of herself at home cooking traditional Japanese food and taking trips to the market. Both are tried-and-true approaches to making content for YouTube, but it was a big step for the somewhat guarded geisha. And old habits don’t die hard, as Moe has asked to be referred to only by her first name in this article for privacy reasons.

However, she shared just enough of her life to secure a following of more than 670,000 in under a year, with many of her uploads passing a million views. The Kimono Mom channel has become a popular destination for viewers abroad to see what everyday life is like in Japan, but part of what draws in the views goes beyond mere interest in the country. Moe is almost always joined by her daughter, a toddler nicknamed “Sutan,” and her husband, who frequently pops up and provides illustrations of the food she cooks. There’s a cozy familiarity to what Moe shares, tapping into the emotions and aspects of life that few outward-looking Japan-based creators touch on. - Japan Times