The tekomai dance was created in the mid-Edo Period when some geisha, dressed as men, showed up to lead a float. Tekomai is translated to “float-leading dance” in English.
These tekomai dancers hold an iron rod in their right hands and hold a paper lantern with their names written on them in their left hands. They parade around while chanting kiyari, which is a workmen’s chant when they are carrying a heavy load. Currently, according to a Yahoo blog post, it seems that the people who perform the tekomai dance are the former tatsumi geisha and volunteers.
The tekomai dancers wear a somewhat plain kimono above the scarlet underwear that has fancy embroidery on it. Usually the kimono has wide sleeves. They leave one shoulder exposed and wear a type of hakama that is called tattsuke in Japanese. Instead of wearing their hats that are decorated with flowers, they leave them hanging on their backs. There is a specific hairstyle called hakesaki which resembles a man’s hairstyle. However there are some occasions where girls have a chigomage, a mid-Heian to late Edo period hairstyle.
Not only is this particular dance performed at the Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine in Fukagawa, it is also performed at other festivals such as the Sanja Matsuri Festival at Asakusa and the Koto City’s festival. With other dancers, the tekomai dancers usually march around Asakusa on a Friday, sometime around the 17th of May. At the Koto City’s festival, women in male clothing dance the tekomai.