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Talking About Geisha

Have you seen the movie, "Memoirs of Geisha," which starred the lovely Zhang Ziyi and martial arts expert Michelle Yeoh? If not, then most probably you are wondering about the meaning of the word geisha. Literally, geishas were traditional Japanese artist-entertainers in the 18th and 19th centuries. Although there are geishas that still exist today, their numbers are obviously decreasing. They were Japanese women, who were icons of beauty, grace, and elegance. They started training as little girls until they eventually developed into fine women. They are later introduced as geishas to exclusive club of wealthy patrons.

Usually dressed in kimono, geishas used to be dealt with much respect for their skills. But before they get that respect, they went through a thorough training. Before aspiring geishas begin their training, they have to complete first their junior high school or even high school or college education. During the training, they have to be familiar with the traditional instruments like the shamisen, shakuhachi, drums, and traditional songs, tea ceremony, classical Japanese dance, literature, and poetry.

A geisha's role was to respond to the needs and desires of wealthy Japanese men who can only pay so much for what is deemed to be a talent. A geisha must entertain her clients by playing musical instruments, performing on stage, or singing; she must also play the role of a perfect hostess in tea parties, serve dishes, and create her own flower arrangements. Geishas were sophisticated women who gave comfort as well as advices to most men who sought their company. But there were also those who crossed the boundaries of professionalism and developed more intimate relationships with their clients as mistresses. This was accepted before, in a time when fixed marriages dominate the early culture of Japan.

Unfortunately, geisha is now a rare sight outside Kyoto. There were two of the most prestigious and traditional geisha districts, Gion and Pontocho. Some of the main reasons there is a decline in geisha tradition include Japanís sluggish economy, decreasing interest in the traditional arts, and the enigmatic nature of the flower. Such decline of this great Japanese tradition is definitely saddening and something that the Japanese should take into consideration because geishas are very important part of the Japanese culture. But now, we can only see the images of these geishas through Japanese dolls which are as fragile as these women used to be.

Submitted by:

John Creech

If you need more information on Geisha and Japan, you can check out the provider's website by clicking here http://www.exploring-japan.com




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