The Only Male Geisha

€2,900 of €6,000 goal

Raised by 45 people in 9 months
Hello everybody :) 
We are Hans Diernberger and Will Saunders, two artists from Cologne and London.  We have both studied art extensively and are now working as self employed artists. For our next big project, we'd be thrilled if you'd take a short moment to learn more about it, and maybe, if you like, support us. 

Since 2016, we are working on our project about Japan's only male geisha, Eitaro.
This is Eitaro. He works as a professional geisha in Tokyo.

In many ways, he fascinates us.  Not only is he doing a perfect job as a geisha, he also shows us that a traditionally female occupation can be done by someone of another gender without jeopardising the beautiful tradition of geisha culture in Japan. (Funnily enough, the geisha culture started with male geishas, though wearing male dresses. Eitaro looks and dresses like a female geisha). The result: It doesn't matter if there's a woman or a man working as a geisha. What matters is the perfection of a profession.

In April this year, we have the great opportunity to travel to Japan, to be able to work with him and develop artworks around his persona and his great influence as a person free of a gender boundary. 
Later, in September, we will show the results of that time and our artworks in an exhibition in Cologne. 

For both, our time in Japan and our exhibition in Cologne, we are depending on funding from outside. Luckily, we already have some funding from Germany and England that cover our basic costs for:
flights, rent, wages, translators, hospitality gifts, subway travel and rent. 

What we would still need money for is:
- being able to rent special equipment
- being able to rent more interesting locations
- being able to work more days with Eitaro
- producing a small documentary film about him
- covering additional fees
- being able to afford extra travel to see special locations
- production costs of our artworks for the show
- developing a catalogue for our exhibition and
- hopefully (if we are able to make enough money) being able to invite Eitaro and one of his musicians to Europe. It would be an absolute dream for us to organise an event for and about him in his presence. 

We strongly believe that the people who are really benefitting from this campaign are the visitors of our show, everyone who likes to see more about the only male geisha in Japan and people being interested in art in general. We are so humbled and happy to being able to travel to Japan, even if it means we will work for free on pretty much all the content being produced for this project. 

We decided to become artists that constantly work for free in order to give something exciting and special back to this world, because we believe in the importance of art and a creative production of humans. However, having no regular income is quite a huge task and we constantly have to fight. 

With your help, we can realise our project on a larger scale, allow us to do things that we couldn't do alone. 
You won't be sponsoring us more expensive sushi or a fancy hotel room, but you will be enabling us to do a better project with a much more interesting outcome.

(We are very happy to live in that old sumo house for sumo-scholars and their masters, that now hosts artist studios)

Thank you so much! 

Hans and Will
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Update 5
Posted by Hans Diernberger
5 months ago
Dear Supporters!
Sorry for our recent silence. Since we were back in Cologne in July we've been in the studio every day to work for the exhibition in September. Slowly slowly the artworks are coming together and we are sure it is going to be a really interesting show :)

In case you haven't heard of it already, we'll be opening our show THE ONLY MALE GEISHA at the Japanisches Kulturiunstitut (The Japan Foundation) in Cologne on September 7th, 7PM.
The exhibition will run until November 4th, 2018.

A part of that show will be an outside installation at the bridge of Aachener Weiher, where you can see and hear sound and image works spreading over the Japanisches Kulturinstitut and the Museum of East Asian Arts Cologne.

You are of course all invited!

Also, of course we haven't forgotten about our thank you gifts for you. Please bare with us a little more, we'd like to produce something very special for you, not just a rushed version... We hope you'll understand.

Sending lots of love, square eyed from the studio in all directions,
Hans and Will
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Update 4
Posted by Hans Diernberger
6 months ago

Dear friends,
we'd like to inform you about our time here in Japan and what your support has enabled us to achieve so far.

The two months in Tokyo flew by and we are currently on our residency in Tamashima, a small town near Okayama, where our exhibition will open tomorrow at "Yumikobo", an old Japanese house turned into a beautiful gallery.

In Tokyo, thanks to your support, we were able to do a few key things we couldn't have done otherwise:

• We could use a professional film studio including lighting and technical support, where we did some green screen work and other footage together with Eitaro Matsunoya.

• We could work with Eitaro for a second day of filming which turned out to be crucial for our project.
Also, thanks to you, we could do that in one of Tokyo's most beautiful tea houses.

These two locations make a world of difference to how we are able to portray Eitaro's story. They also provided us with precious time to collaborate that is otherwise almost impossible to come by in Tokyo, so THANK YOU!

• We were also able to make a few trips to film extra content that turned out to be very interesting for our work. We interviewed the most well known of the very few female Noh-actors, Uzawa Hisa (yes, she is like an equivalent to the only male geisha), who loved our project and was happy to contribute. We also filmed Mr. Sogame, a master of the art of repairing ceramics with gold, and we could work closely with Kazuko Furuya, a professional story teller and now good friend. We filmed her reading a hand selected story that she felt resonated with her interest in our project. Kazuko has helped us think further about the importance of Eitaro's determination to follow his own path in life.

Our time here in Japan is almost over, but the work for our exhibition in Cologne is still in full flow. Currently we are in talks with the City of Cologne to allow us to make an outdoor installation at the Japanese Culture Institute. Fingers crossed!

Once again, we can't thank every one of you enough for your support. Making all of this possible on a super tight budget is a lot of work, but we love this project and we can now proudly carry on working and look forward to exhibiting the results. Your support enables us to follow ambitious avenues that would otherwise be impossible for us to take.
Please stay tuned on this channel or Instagram ( @hansiplus ) for more images. And please, if you haven't already, forward this to people who might find it interesting.

Will and Hans
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Update 3
Posted by Hans Diernberger
9 months ago
We have arrived in Tokyo! Our temporary home is an old house for sumo fighters that recently became a space for young artists and architects. The people living here are mega nice and it feels amazing being instantly a part of a creative group in Tokyo. Yesterday we have met Kazuko Furuya, a professional traditional story teller. She is very interested in our project and will help us with her invaluable knowledge and contacts. Tomorrow, we'll meet Eitaro again, can't wait!

Thanks to everyone who supported us so far, it means so much and allows us to take our project further than we could on our own!

If you also would like to help us with our The Only Male Geisha project, you can support us here :
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Update 2
Posted by Hans Diernberger
9 months ago
Dear supporters, we have now heard that a major funding body will only maybe support us at a later date, so your help is valued even more!! Thank you all SO MUCH for your generosity and your support! It means incredibly much to us.
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€2,900 of €6,000 goal

Raised by 45 people in 9 months
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