She was known variously as “The Smiling Geisha”, “The Laughing Geisha”, “Emiko”, or “Miss Tokimatsu, the Belle of Japan”. She appeared on dozens of postcards, photographs and advertising nomenclature published between 1900-1910, mostly in Yokohama, including this one (above) imprinted with the name of a nearby Shizuoka food wholesaler, The Golden Rule Pure Food House. Her affable and infectious smile made her stand out during a time when most people posing for a photograph did not smile. Not much is, otherwise, known about her.
“The laughing geisha – humming bird
With such resplendent wings
When laughter dies, shall falling skies
Blot out such futile things?”
– ‘From Ginza in Wartime’, A Book of Princeton Verse, Volume 2, edited by Alfred Noyes, Henry Van Dyke, et al., 1919