Kyoto’s magic lies in its mystery: the way time stands still in this ancient capital city, and yet it gracefully embraces modernity. Geisha embody so much of Kyoto’s wonder and elegance, which is why they’re our muses. So when Emi Meyer, a singer-songwriter, reached out to me and offered an idea for a collaboration in Kyoto, I was intrigued.
Emi was born in Kyoto, but grew up in Seattle. She returned to Japan to pursue her dreams of becoming a professional musician. In many ways, her journey is similar to mine. We’re both drawn to Kyoto and built a life’s work driven by passion. We also strive to tell beautiful stories, finding inspiration in our travels.
It is my joy to share our collaboration, Galaxy’s Skirt (Soul Catalyst Remix). Emi tells me she was inspired to write this song when she realized she needed to bravely open herself to new discoveries and possibilities. She was drawn to her hometown of Kyoto and the classic geisha for the music video as inspiration, bringing a fresh perspective to the timeless and familiar. In her words:
“This to me is very emblematic of myself and Tatcha - we are in unique positions to bridge two worlds, and by being respectful of each culture and digging deeper, we are unlocking traditions that can rarely be seen by the outside.
One thing that is key to realize as an audience, is that it is extremely rare for there to be such stylish footage of a geisha (or more specifically maiko, in the case of Mamefuji). As the director, Ben Matsunaga, and I were searching for images for inspiration, we discovered that most of the time photographers do not have access to geisha, and if they are lucky enough to spot one, it is during the afternoon with limited time, which does not allow for good lighting.
So this is an extremely rare, perhaps first ever, music video featuring high-quality footage of a geisha. It was also my first time meeting a maiko-san. I was struck by the grace with which she moved, and her special aura. It made my breath stop. Underneath, she has this playful side, which was both comforting and surprising. The combination of playfulness, mystery and grace is a quality I really admire.”
It was serendipitous to have the chance to introduce Emi to Mamefuji-san and to take part in making this beautiful video homage. When director Ben Matsunaga studied photographs of Kyoto, he felt they “never quite did the city justice.” I find his unique perspective on the streets and temples of Kyoto to be a poetic love letter to the city’s magic.
I hope you enjoy this gorgeous glimpse into Kyoto and Emi’s captivating performance.
You can learn more about Emi’s work at http://emimeyer.com.