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Japanese singer
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Japanese singer
Countries Japan
Occupations Musician Singer Photographer
Gender female
The details

Hanayo (花代), born Hanayo Nakajima (中島 花代, Nakajima Hanayo, born 1970), is a Japanese musician and artist. She is known for her playful and subversive artwork, often deeply rooted in Japanese culture. Hanayo currently lives and works in Japan.


In 1989 Hanayo began training as a junior geisha in Tokyo, publishing an account of the experience in her 1991 book, Oshakuchan No. 1. Together with Japanese noise musicians Masami Akita (Merzbow) and Masaya Nakahara (Violent Onsen Geisha) she formed the band Muscats in 1992. Later that year Hanayo was featured on the cover of The Face magazine's December issue in full geisha attire. In 1993 she modeled for a Jean Paul Gaultier advertising campaign.

In 1995 Hanayo finished her geisha work and moved to Europe. In 1997 she joined German director/performance artist Christoph Schlingensief for several projects: She portrayed Yoko Ono in the performance Mein Filz, mein Fett, mein Hase (English: My Felt, My Fat, My Hare) at documenta X in Kassel. She took part in Schlingensief's performance Passion Impossible at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg and had a role in his theatre play Die letzten Tage der Rosa Luxemburg (English: The Last Days of Rosa Luxemburg) at the Berliner Ensemble. In 2000 Hanayo starred in Shane O'Sullivan's film Second Generation.

Hanayo's single Joe le taxi has been featured on many compilations, including 2 Many DJs with Soulwax. She has performed with musicians and bands such as Violent Onsen Geisha, Red Crayola, Vapid Dolly, Black Dog, Jun Miyake, Merzbow, Woodman, Kai Althoff, Terre Thaemlitz, The Panacea, Pain Cake (with Locust Fudge) and Ponpons. Her most recent project is the Berlin-based band Wooden Veil.


  • Makka Na Shizuku (1995), produced by Jun Miyake, discogs entry
  • Dang Dong (1995), discogs entry
  • Sayonalala (1996), (featuring The Black Dog and Hair Stylistics) discogs entry
  • Queen Of Pseudo Psychos (1997) / as a member of Vapid Dolly
  • Hanayo in Panacea, with The Panacea (1999), discogs entry
  • Gift (2000), featuring guest appearances by Merzbow, Kai Althoff, Terre Thaemlitz, Woodman etc., discogs entry
  • Joe le taxi (2002), discogs entry

Solo exhibitions

  • Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo (1996)
  • Gallery Institute, Berlin (1997)
  • Hanayo: Utsushi-Umekuni, Parco Gallery, Tokyo (2000)
  • Hanachambre-winter kinder spielplatz, Kunst-Werk, Berlin (2000)
  • Galerie Binz & Krämer, Köln (2001)
  • Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo (2002)
  • Hanayo, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2002)
  • Habitat Repubulique Store, Paris (2002)
  • agnes b's LIBRAIRIE GALERIE, Hong Kong (2003)
  • agnès b., Ginza, Tokyo (2003)
  • APC shop, Berlin (2004)
  • miss HECKER, Berlin (2006)
  • Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo (2008)


  • Chiisa na geisha san: Oshakuchan No.1 (小さな芸者さん!お酌チャンNo.1!), Tokyo: Media Factory, 1991, ISBN 4-88991-259-2
  • Hanayome: Hanayo shashinshū (ハナヨメ 花代写真集) / Hanayome. Tokyo: Shinchōsha, 1996. ISBN 4-10-602420-9. Photo book.
  • Dorīmumumumumu...bukku (ドリームムムムム…ブック 花代写真集) / Dreammmmm Book. Tokyo: Little More, 2000. ISBN 4-89815-034-9. Photo book.
  • Hanayo artist book 2004. Tokyo: Kawade Shobō Shinsha, 2004. ISBN 4-309-90540-4. Photo book.
  • Magma. Tokyo: Akaka Publishing, 2008. ISBN 4-903545-25-3. Photo book.

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