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_GEISHA_ (芸者) (/ˈɡeɪʃə/; Japanese: ), _geiko_ (芸子), or _geigi_ (芸妓) are traditional Japanese female entertainers who act as hostesses. Their skills include performing various arts such as classical music , dance, games, and conversation, traditionally to entertain male customers, but also female customers today.

CONTENTS

* 1 Terms

* 2 History

* 2.1 Origins * 2.2 18th-century emergence of the geisha * 2.3 Rise of the geisha

* 3 Ranking * 4 Stages of training

* 5 Female dominance in geisha society

* 5.1 Relationships with male guests * 5.2 Geisha
Geisha
as a women-centered society

* 6 Modern geisha

* 6.1 Non-Japanese geisha * 6.2 Public performances

* 7 Arts

* 8 Geisha
Geisha
and prostitution

* 8.1 Personal relationships and danna * 8.2 " Geisha
Geisha
girls" * 8.3 Mizuage

* 9 Appearance

* 9.1 Makeup
Makeup
* 9.2 Dress * 9.3 Hair * 9.4 In popular culture * 9.5 In books * 9.6 In geisha photography * 9.7 In films * 9.8 In music

* 10 See also * 11 References * 12 Further reading * 13 External links

TERMS

_ Typical nape make-up on a maiko_ (Note the red collar) _ Maiko_ Tomitsuyu playing the game "konpira fune fune" with a female patron

_Geisha_ (/ˈɡeɪʃə/ ; Japanese: ), like all Japanese nouns, has no distinct singular or plural variants. The word consists of two kanji , 芸 (_gei_) meaning "art " and 者 (_sha_) meaning "person" or "doer". The most literal translation of geisha into English would be "artist", "performing artist", or "artisan". Another name for geisha is _geiko_ (芸子), which is usually used to refer to geisha from western Japan, which includes Kyoto and Kanazawa.

Apprentice geisha are called _maiko _ (舞妓), literally "dance child", or _hangyoku_ (半玉), "half-jewel" (meaning that they were paid half of the wage of a full geisha), or by the more generic term _o-shaku_ (御酌), literally "one who pours (alcohol)". The white make-up and elaborate kimono and hair of a maiko is the popular image held of geisha. A woman entering the geisha community does not have to begin as a maiko, having the opportunity to begin her career as a full geisha. Either way, however, usually a year's training is involved before debuting either as a maiko or as a geisha. A woman above 21 is considered too old to be a maiko and becomes a full geisha upon her initiation into the geisha community.

On average, Tokyo apprentices (who typically begin at 18) are slightly older than their Kyoto counterparts (who usually start at 15). Historically, geisha often began the earliest stages of their training at a very young age, sometimes as early as at 3 or 5 years. The early _shikomi_ (in-training) and _minarai_ (learns by watching) stages of geisha training lasted years, which is significantly longer than in contemporary times.

It is still said that geisha inhabit a separate reality which they call the _karyūkai_ or "the flower and willow world". Before they disappeared , the courtesans were the colourful "flowers" and the geisha the "willows " because of their subtlety, strength, and grace.

HISTORY

ORIGINS

In the early stages of Japanese history, there were female entertainers: _saburuko_ (serving girls) were mostly wandering girls whose families were displaced from struggles in the late 600s. Some of these _saburuko_ girls sold sexual services, while others with a better education made a living by entertaining at high-class social gatherings. After the imperial court moved the capital to Heian-kyō (Kyoto) in 794 the conditions that would form geisha culture began to emerge, as it became the home of a beauty-obsessed elite . Skilled female performers, such as Shirabyōshi dancers, thrived.

Traditional Japan embraced sexual delights (it is not a Shinto
Shinto
taboo) and men were not constrained to be faithful to their wives. The ideal wife was a modest mother and manager of the home; by Confucian custom love had secondary importance. For sexual enjoyment and romantic attachment, men did not go to their wives, but to courtesans . Walled-in pleasure quarters known as _yūkaku _ (遊廓、遊郭) were built in the 16th century, and in 1617 the shogunate designated "pleasure quarters", outside of which prostitution would be illegal, and within which _yūjo_ ("play women") would be classified and licensed . The highest _yūjo_ class was the geisha's predecessor, called _tayuu _, a combination of actress and prostitute, originally playing on stages set in the dry Kamo riverbed in Kyoto. They performed erotic dances and skits, and this new art was dubbed _kabuku_, meaning "to be wild and outrageous". The dances were called "kabuki", and this was the beginning of kabuki theater .

18TH-CENTURY EMERGENCE OF THE GEISHA

Ukiyoe depicting a Gion
Gion
geisha, from between 1800 and 1833 Ukiyoe print by Yamaguchi Soken of a Kyoto geisha

These pleasure quarters quickly became glamorous entertainment centers, offering more than sex. The highly accomplished courtesans of these districts entertained their clients by dancing, singing, and playing music. Some were renowned poets and calligraphers . Gradually, they all became specialized and the new profession, purely of entertainment, arose. It was near the turn of the eighteenth century that the first entertainers of the pleasure quarters, called _geisha_, appeared. The first geishas were men, entertaining customers waiting to see the most popular and gifted courtesans (_oiran _).

The forerunners of the female geisha were the teenage _odoriko_ ("dancing girls"): expensively trained as chaste dancers -for-hire. In the 1680s, they were popular paid entertainers in the private homes of upper-class samurai, though many had turned to prostitution by the early 18th century. Those who were no longer teenagers (and could no longer style themselves _odoriko_ ) adopted other names—one being _"geisha"_, after the male entertainers. The first woman known to have called herself _geisha_ was a Fukagawa prostitute, in about 1750. She was a skilled singer and shamisen player named Kikuya who was an immediate success, making female geisha extremely popular in 1750s Fukagawa. As they became more widespread throughout the 1760s and 1770s, many began working only as entertainers (rather than prostitutes), often in the same establishments as male geisha.

RISE OF THE GEISHA

_ Tokyo geisha_ with _shamisen _, circa 1870s

The geisha who worked within the pleasure quarters were essentially imprisoned and strictly forbidden to sell sex in order to protect the business of the oiran . While licensed courtesans existed to meet men's sexual needs, _machi geisha_ carved out a separate niche as artists and erudite female companions.

By 1800, being a geisha was considered a female occupation (though there are still a handful of male geisha working today). Eventually, the gaudy Oiran began to fall out of fashion, becoming less popular than the chic ("iki ") and modern geisha. By the 1830s, the evolving geisha style was emulated by fashionable women throughout society. There were many different classifications and ranks of geisha. Some women would have sex with their male customers, whereas others would entertain strictly with their art forms. Prostitution was legal up until the 1900s (decade), so it was practiced in many quarters throughout Japan.

World War II
World War II
brought a huge decline in the geisha arts because most women had to go to factories or other places to work for Japan. The geisha name also lost some status during this time because prostitutes began referring to themselves as "geisha girls" to American military men. In 1944, the geisha world, including the teahouses, bars and geisha houses, was forced to close, and all employees were put to work in factories. About a year later, they were allowed to reopen. The few women who returned to the geisha areas decided to reject Western influence and revert to traditional ways of entertainment and life. "The image of the geisha was formed during Japan's feudal past, and this is now the image they must keep in order to remain geisha." It was up to these returning geisha to bring back traditional standards in the profession, though with increased rights for the geisha:

After Japan lost the war, geisha dispersed and the profession was in shambles. When they regrouped during the Occupation and began to flourish in the 1960s during Japan's postwar economic boom, the geisha world changed. In modern Japan, girls are not sold into indentured service. Nowadays, a geisha's sex life is her private affair. —  Liza Dalby , Do They or Don't They?

There were many rumors that stated before the war, a maiko's virginity would be auctioned (the original "mizuage "). But this was confused with the girls who were apprentices to yujo and courtesans. This practice was completely outlawed in 1959. Compulsory education laws passed in the 1960s made traditional geisha apprenticeships difficult, leading to a decline in women entering the field.

In her book _Geisha, a Life_, Mineko Iwasaki said: "I lived in the karyukai during the 1960s and 1970s, a time when Japan was undergoing the radical transformation from a post-feudal to a modern society. But I existed in a world apart, a special realm whose mission and identity depended on preserving the time-honored traditions of the past."

RANKING

At the pinnacle of the complex geisha ranking system are the grand dowagers of Kyoto. The _gokagai_ of Kyoto are its five geisha districts, also known as _hanamachi _ ("flower towns"). Gion
Gion
Kōbu , Ponto-chō and Kamishichiken have the highest status; they are very expensive and are frequented by powerful businessmen and politicians ( Gion
Gion
Kobu is sometimes seen as having the very highest ranking). As reported by Dalby (1983) from her impressions in 1975 Geiko from the other two _hanamachi_ ( Gion
Gion
Higashi and Miyagawa-chō ) have high prestige but are considered to be one rank lower.

STAGES OF TRAINING

_ A geiko_, _minarai_ and _shikomi_ from Odamoto

Traditionally, Geisha
Geisha
began their training at a young age. Some girls were bonded to geisha houses (_okiya _) as children. Daughters of geisha were often brought up as geisha themselves, usually as the successor (atotori, meaning "heir" or "heiress" in this particular situation) or daughter-role (musume-bun) to the okiya.

A maiko is an apprentice and is therefore bonded under a contract to her okiya. The okiya supplies her with food, board, kimono, obi , and other tools of her trade. Her training is very expensive and her debt must be repaid to the okiya with the earnings she makes. This repayment may continue after the maiko becomes a full-fledged geisha and only when her debts are settled is she permitted to move out to live and work independently.

A maiko will start her formal training on the job as a _minarai_, which literally means "learning by watching" at an ozashiki (お座敷, a banquet in any traditional Japanese building with tatami ), to sit and observe as the other maiko and geiko interact with customers. This is a way in which she will gain insights of the job, and seek out potential clients. Although minarai attend _ozashiki_, they do not participate at an advanced level. Their kimono , more elaborate than a geiko's, are intended to do the talking for them. Minarai can be hired for parties but are usually uninvited (yet welcomed) guests at parties that their _onee-san_ attends. They only charge a third of the usual fee. Minarai generally work with a particular tea house (_minarai-jaya_) learning from the _okaa-san_ (literally "mother", the proprietress of the house). From her, they would learn techniques such as conversation and gaming, which would not be taught to them in school. This stage lasts only about a month or so. _ Two senior maiko_ performing a dance.

After a short period the final stage of training begins, and the students are now called "maiko", rather than minarai. Maiko (literally "dance girl") are apprentice geisha, and this stage can last for up to 5 years. Maiko learn from their senior maiko and geiko mentors. The _onee-san_ and _imouto-san_ (senior/junior, literally "older sister/younger sister") relationship is important. The _onee-san_, any maiko or geiko who is senior to a girl, teaches her maiko everything about working in the hanamachi . The onee-san will teach her proper ways of serving tea, playing shamisen , dancing, casual conversation and more. _ Senior maiko_ Suzuha wearing _sakkou_, two weeks before her _erikae _.

There are three major elements of a maiko's training. The first is the formal arts training. This takes place in special geisha schools which are found in every _hanamachi_. The second element is the entertainment training which the maiko learns at various tea houses and parties by observing her _onee-san_. The third is the social skill of navigating the complex social web of the _hanamachi_. This is done on the streets. Formal greetings, gifts, and visits are key parts of any social structure in Japan and for a maiko, they are crucial for her to build the support network she needs to survive as a geisha.

Maiko are considered one of the great sights of Japanese tourism, and look very different from fully qualified geisha. They are at the peak of traditional Japanese femininity. The scarlet-fringed collar of a maiko's kimono hangs very loosely in the back to accentuate the nape of the neck, which is considered a primary erotic area in Japanese sexuality. She wears the same white makeup for her face on her nape, leaving two or sometimes three stripes of bare skin exposed. Her kimono is bright and colourful with an elaborately tied _obi_ hanging down to her ankles. She takes very small steps and wears traditional wooden shoes called _okobo _ which stand nearly ten centimeters high. There are five different hairstyles that a maiko wears, that mark the different stages of her apprenticeship. The " Nihongami " hairstyle with "kanzashi" hair-ornamentation strips is most closely associated with maiko, who spend hours each week at the hairdresser and sleep on holed-pillows to preserve the elaborate styling. Maiko can develop a bald spot on their crown caused by rubbing from Kanzashi strips and tugging in hairdressing.

Around the age of 20–21, the maiko is promoted to a full-fledged geisha in a ceremony called _erikae _ (turning of the collar). This could happen after three to five years of her life as a _maiko_ or _hangyoku_, depending on at what age she debuted. Geisha
Geisha
remain as such until they retire.

FEMALE DOMINANCE IN GEISHA SOCIETY

The biggest industry in Japan is not shipbuilding, producing cultured pearls, or manufacturing transistor radios or cameras. It is entertainment. — Boye De Mente, _Some Prefer Geisha_

The term geisha literally translates to "entertainer". Some prostitutes refer to themselves as "geisha", but they are not. A geisha's sex and love life is usually distinct from her professional life. A successful geisha can entertain her male customers with music, dance, and conversation.

Geishas are not submissive and subservient, but in fact they are some of the most financially and emotionally successful and strongest women in Japan, and traditionally have been so. — Iwasaki Mineko, _Geisha, A Life_

Geisha
Geisha
learn the traditional skills of dance and instruments and hold high social status . Geisha
Geisha
are single women, though they may have lovers or boyfriends whom they have personally picked, who support them financially.

There is currently no western equivalent for a geisha—they are truly the most impeccable form of Japanese art. — Kenneth Champeon, _The Floating World_

RELATIONSHIPS WITH MALE GUESTS

A geisha entertaining a foreign guest

The appeal of a high-ranking geisha to her typical male guest has historically been very different from that of his wife. The ideal geisha showed her skill, while the ideal wife was modest. The ideal geisha seemed carefree, the ideal wife somber and responsible. Historically, geisha did sometimes marry their clients, but marriage necessitated retirement, as there were never married geisha.

Geisha
Geisha
may gracefully flirt with their guests, but they will always remain in control of the hospitality. Over their years of apprenticeship they learn to adapt to different situations and personalities, mastering the art of the hostess.

GEISHA AS A WOMEN-CENTERED SOCIETY

Women in the geisha society are some of the most successful businesswomen in Japan. In the geisha society, women run everything. Without the impeccable business skills of the female tea house owners, the world of geisha would cease to exist. The tea house owners are entrepreneurs, whose service to the geisha is highly necessary for the society to run smoothly. Infrequently, men take contingent positions such as hair stylists, dressers (dressing a maiko requires considerable strength) and accountants, but men have a limited role in geisha society.

The geisha system was founded, actually, to promote the independence and economic self-sufficiency of women. And that was its stated purpose, and it actually accomplished that quite admirably in Japanese society, where there were very few routes for women to achieve that sort of independence. —  Mineko Iwasaki in interview, _Boston Phoenix _

The majority of women were wives who did not work outside of their familial duties. Becoming a geisha was a way for women to support themselves without becoming a wife. Thus, some argue that geisha women live in a women-centered society. Women run the geisha houses, they are teachers, they run the tea houses, they recruit aspiring geisha, and they keep track of a geisha's finances. The only major role men play in geisha society is that of guest, though women sometimes take that role as well.

Historically, Japanese feminists have seen geisha as exploited women, but some modern geisha see themselves as liberated feminists: "We find our own way, without doing family responsibilities. Isn't that what feminists are?"

MODERN GEISHA

Modern geisha still live in traditional geisha houses called _okiya_ in areas called _hanamachi _ (花街 "flower towns"), particularly during their apprenticeship. Many experienced geisha are successful enough to choose to live independently. The elegant, high-culture world that geisha are a part of is called _karyūkai_ (花柳界 "the flower and willow world").

Before the twentieth century, geisha training began when a girl was around the age of four. Now, girls must go to school until they are 15 years old and have graduated from middle school and then make the personal decision to train to become a geisha. Young women who wish to become geisha now most often begin their training after high school or even college. Many more women begin their careers in adulthood.

Geisha
Geisha
still study traditional instruments: the _shamisen _, _shakuhachi _, and drums, as well as learn games, traditional songs, calligraphy , Japanese traditional dances (in the nihonbuyō style), tea ceremony , literature, and poetry .

By watching other geisha, and with the assistance of the owner of the geisha house, apprentices also become skilled dealing with clients and in the complex traditions surrounding selecting and wearing kimono , a floor length silk robe embroidered with intricate designs which is held together by a sash at the waist which is called an obi.

Kyoto is often most strongly associated with the geisha tradition. The geisha in Kyoto's districts, as well as in other parts of western Japan, are known as _geiko_. The Tokyo _hanamachi_ of Shimbashi, Asakusa and Kagurazaka
Kagurazaka
are also well known.

In modern Japan, geisha and maiko are now a rare sight outside _hanamachi_ or _chayagai_ (茶屋街, literally "tea house district", often referred to as "entertainment district"). In the 1920s, there were over 80,000 geisha in Japan, but today, there are far fewer. The exact number is unknown to outsiders and is estimated to be from 1,000 to 2,000, mostly in the resort town of Atami . Most common are sightings of tourists who pay a fee to be dressed up as a maiko.

A sluggish economy, declining interest in the traditional arts, the exclusive nature of the flower and willow world, and the expense of being entertained by geisha have all contributed to the tradition's decline. However, the flower and willow world has seen a resurgence in new members over the last 10 years due to the accessibility that the internet has provided for young girls wanting to know more about the profession and not needing a formal introduction to an okiya. _ Entrance to Ichiriki Chaya , one of the most famous tea houses where geisha_ entertain in Gion
Gion

Geisha
Geisha
are often hired to attend parties and gatherings, traditionally at _ochaya _ (お茶屋, literally "tea houses") or at traditional Japanese restaurants (ryōtei). The charge for a geisha's time used to be determined by (measured by burning incense stick ) is called _senkōdai_ (線香代, "incense stick fee") or gyokudai (玉代 "jewel fee"). Now they are flat fees charged by the hour. In Kyoto, the terms _ohana_ (お花) and _hanadai_ (花代), meaning "flower fees", are preferred. The okasan makes arrangements through the geisha union office (検番 _kenban_), which keeps each geisha's schedule and makes her appointments both for entertaining and for training.

_ This section's FACTUAL ACCURACY IS DISPUTED . Relevant discussion may be found on Talk: Geisha
Geisha
. Please help to ensure that disputed statements are reliably sourced . (May 2017)_ _(Learn how and when to remove this template message )_

NON-JAPANESE GEISHA

In recent times, non-Japanese women have also become geisha. Liza Dalby worked briefly with geisha as part of her doctorate research in the 1970s, although she did not formally debut.

Other foreign nationals who have worked as geisha in Japan include Ibu, a geiko of Ukrainian ancestry working in Anjo, Juri, a Peruvian geisha working in the resort town of Yugawara, and Fukutarō (Isabella Onou), a Romanian national working in the Izu-Nagaoka district of Shizuoka. Australian national Fiona Graham debuted as a trainee under the name Sayuki in the Asakusa district of Tokyo. She was, however, kicked out of Asakusa in 2011 for not following the rules laid out by her teachers and her elders. As of October 2015, Kimicho, an American from St. Louis, was in training in the Oimachi district of Shinagawa, Tokyo.

PUBLIC PERFORMANCES

While traditionally geisha have led a cloistered existence, in recent years they have become more publicly visible, and entertainment is available without requiring the traditional introduction and connections.

The most visible form of this are public dances, or _odori _ (generally written in traditional kana spelling as をどり, rather than modern おどり), featuring both maiko and geisha. All the Kyoto hanamachi hold these annually (mostly in spring, with one exclusively in autumn), dating to the Kyoto exhibition of 1872, and there are many performances, with tickets being inexpensive, ranging from around 1500 yen to 4500 yen – top-price tickets also include an optional tea ceremony (tea and wagashi served by maiko) before the performance; see Kyoto hanamachi and Kanazawa hanamachi for a detailed listing. Other hanamachi also hold public dances, including some in Tokyo, but have fewer performances. _ A maiko_ from the Kamishichiken district serving tea at the plum blossom festival at Kitano Tenman-gū .

Another notable event is that the geisha (including maiko) of the Kamishichiken district in northwest Kyoto serve tea to 3,000 guests on February 25 in an annual open-air tea ceremony (野点, _nodate_) at the plum-blossom festival (梅花祭, _baikasai_) at Kitano Tenman-gū shrine. As of 2010 , these geisha also serve beer in a beer garden at Kamishichiken Kaburenjo Theatre during summer months (July to early September); another geisha beer garden is available at the Gion Shinmonso ryokan in the Gion
Gion
district. These beer gardens also feature traditional dances by the geisha in the evenings.

ARTS

_ Geisha_ are skilled artists, trained in and performing music and dance. _ Geisha_ Komomo and Mameyoshi playing the _shamisen_

Geisha
Geisha
begin their study of music and dance when they are very young and continue it throughout their lives. Geisha
Geisha
can work into their eighties and nineties, and are expected to train every day even after seventy years of experience.

The dance of the geisha has evolved from the dance performed on the noh and kabuki stages. The "wild and outrageous" dances transformed into a more subtle, stylized, and controlled form of dance. It is extremely disciplined, similar to t\'ai chi . Every dance uses gestures to tell a story and only a connoisseur can understand the subdued symbolism. For example, a tiny hand gesture represents reading a love letter, holding the corner of a handkerchief in the mouth represents coquetry and the long sleeves of the elaborate kimono are often used to symbolize dabbing tears.

The dances are accompanied by traditional Japanese music. The primary instrument is the shamisen . The shamisen was introduced to the geisha culture in 1750 and has been mastered by female Japanese artists for years. This shamisen, originating in Okinawa, is a banjo-like three-stringed instrument that is played with a plectrum . It has a very distinct, melancholy sound that is often accompanied by flute. The instrument is described as "melancholy" because traditional shamisen music uses only minor thirds and sixths. All geisha must learn shamisen-playing, though it takes years to master. Along with the shamisen and the flute, geisha also learned to play a _ko-tsuzumi _, a small, hourglass-shaped shoulder drum, and a large floor _taiko _ (drum). Some geisha would not only dance and play music, but would write beautiful, melancholy poems. Others painted pictures or composed music.

GEISHA AND PROSTITUTION

Sheridan Prasso wrote that Americans had "an incorrect impression of the real geisha world ... geisha means 'arts person' trained in music and dance, not in the art of sexual pleasure". K. G. Henshall wrote that the geisha's purpose was "to entertain their customer, be it by dancing, reciting verse, playing musical instruments, or engaging in light conversation. Geisha
Geisha
engagements may include flirting with men and playful innuendos ; however, clients know that nothing more can be expected. In a social style that is common in Japan, men are amused by the illusion of that which is never to be."

In 1872, shortly after the Meiji Restoration , the new government passed a law liberating "prostitutes (shōgi) and geisha (geigi)". The wording of this statute was the subject of controversy. Some officials thought that prostitutes and geisha worked at different ends of the same profession—selling sex— and that all prostitutes should henceforth be called "geisha". In the end, the government decided to maintain a line between the two groups, arguing that geisha were more refined and should not be soiled by association with prostitutes.

Also, geisha working in _onsen _ towns such as Atami are dubbed onsen geisha . Onsen
Onsen
geisha have been given a bad reputation due to the prevalence of prostitutes in such towns who market themselves as "geisha", as well as sordid rumors of dance routines like Shallow River (which involves the "dancers" lifting the skirts of their kimono higher and higher). In contrast to these "one-night geisha", the true onsen geisha are in fact competent dancers and musicians. However, the autobiography of Sayo Masuda , an onsen geisha who worked in Nagano Prefecture in the 1930s, reveals that in the past, such women were often under intense pressure to sell sex.

PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS AND DANNA

Geisha
Geisha
are portrayed as unattached. Formerly those who chose to marry had to retire from the profession, though today, some geisha are allowed to marry. It was traditional in the past for established geisha to take a _danna_, or patron. A _danna_ was typically a wealthy man, sometimes married, who had the means to support the very large expenses related to a geisha's traditional training and other costs. This sometimes occurs today as well, but very rarely. A geisha and her danna may or may not be in love, but intimacy is never viewed as a reward for the danna's financial support. While it is true that a geisha is free to pursue personal relationships with men she meets through her work, such relationships are carefully chosen and unlikely to be casual. A hanamachi tends to be a very tight-knit community and a geisha's good reputation is not taken lightly.

"GEISHA GIRLS"

During the period of the Allied occupation of Japan , local women called " Geisha
Geisha
girls" worked as prostitutes. They almost exclusively serviced American GIs stationed in the country, who actually referred to them as "Geesha girls" (a mispronunciation). These women dressed in _kimono_ and imitated the look of geisha. Many Americans unfamiliar with the Japanese culture could not tell the difference between legitimate geisha and these costumed performers. Shortly after their arrival in 1945, some occupying American GIs are said to have congregated in Ginza
Ginza
and shouted, "We want geesha girls!"

Eventually, the English term "geisha girl" became a general word for any female Japanese prostitute or worker in the mizu shōbai and included bar hostesses and streetwalkers .

Geisha
Geisha
girls are speculated by researchers to be largely responsible for the continuing misconception in the West that all geisha are engaged in prostitution.

MIZUAGE

Main article: Mizuage

MIZUAGE (水揚げ) was a ceremony undergone by a maiko where a man paid money for the privilege of having sex with the apprentice. Prostitutes posing as geisha often used this term to refer to their acts with customers. Such prostitutes often called themselves "geisha" in the company of foreign soldiers and even Japanese customers, thus leading to the confusion between the roles of the two.

Mizuage literally means "raising the waters" and originally meant unloading a ship's cargo of fish. Over time, the word came to represent money earned in the entertainment business.

During the Edo period , maikos undergoing mizuage were sponsored by a patron who had the right of taking their virginity . This practice became illegal in 1959. Once the mizuage patron's function was served (of deflowering the young courtesan) he was to have no further relations with the girl.

The money acquired for an apprentice's mizuage was a great sum and it was used to promote her debut as a full-fledged geisha. The ceremonial deflowering of the young girl was not only a commercial transaction, but was a rite of passage : The idea that maiko underwent mizuage can be attributed to both confusion between true geisha and courtesan, as well as the idea that a fully fledged geisha is a sophisticated "professional woman" expected to have worldly knowledge of the opposite sex.

APPEARANCE

_ Mature geisha_ (center) ordinarily wear subdued clothing, makeup, and hair, contrasting with the more colourful clothing, heavy makeup, and elaborate hair of maiko (apprentices; left and right). _ The maiko_ Mamechiho in the Gion
Gion
district. Notice the green pin on the mid-left called _tsunagi-dango_: this identifies her as a maiko of Gion
Gion
kobu.

A geisha's appearance changes throughout her career, from the girlish, heavily made-up maiko, to the more somber appearance of an older established geisha. Different hairstyles and hairpins signify different stages of a girl's development and even a detail as minute as the length of one's eyebrows is significant. Short eyebrows are for the young and long eyebrows display maturity.

MAKEUP

In modern times the traditional makeup of apprentice geisha is one of their most recognizable characteristics, though established geisha generally only wear full white face makeup characteristic of maiko during special performances.

The traditional makeup of an apprentice geisha features a thick white base with red lipstick and red and black accents around the eyes and eyebrows. Originally, the white base mask was made with lead; after the discovery that it poisoned the skin and caused terrible skin and back problems for the older geisha towards the end of the Meiji Era , it was replaced with rice powder.

The application of makeup is hard to perfect and is time-consuming. Makeup
Makeup
is applied before dressing to avoid dirtying the kimono. First, a wax or oil substance called _bintsuke-abura_ is applied to the skin. Next, white powder is mixed with water into a paste and applied with a bamboo brush starting from the neck and working upwards. The white makeup covers the face, neck, and chest, with two or three unwhitened areas (forming a _W_ or _V_ shape, usually a traditional _W_ shape) left on the nape , to accentuate this traditionally erotic area, and a line of bare skin around the hairline, which creates the illusion of a mask.

After the foundation layer is applied, a sponge is patted all over the face, throat, chest, the nape and neck to remove excess moisture and to blend the foundation. Next the eyes and eyebrows are drawn in. Traditionally, charcoal was used, but today, modern cosmetics are used. The eyebrows and edges of the eyes are coloured black with a thin charcoal; a maiko also applies red around her eyes.

The lips are filled in using a small brush. The colour comes in a small stick, which is melted in water. Crystallized sugar is then added to give the lips luster. Rarely will a geisha colour in both lips fully in the Western style, as white creates optical illusions and colouring the lips fully would make them appear overly large. The lower lip is coloured in partially and the upper lip left white for maiko in her first year, after which the upper lip is coloured. Newly full-fledged geisha will colour in only the top lip fully. Most geisha wear the top lip coloured in fully or stylized, and the bottom lip in a curved stripe that does not follow the shape of the lip. Geisha round the bottom lips to create the illusion of a flower bud.

Maiko who are in their last stage of training sometimes colour their teeth black for a brief period. This practice used to be common among married women in Japan and, earlier, at the imperial court, but survives only in some districts. It is done partly because uncoloured teeth seem very yellow in contrast to white face makeup; colouring the teeth black means that they seem to "disappear" in the darkness of the open mouth. This illusion is of course more pronounced at a distance.

For the first year, a maiko wears this heavy makeup almost constantly. During her initiation, the maiko is helped with her makeup either by her _onee-san_, or "older sister" (an experienced geisha who is her mentor), or by the _okaa-san_, or "mother" of her geisha house. After this, she applies the makeup herself.

After a maiko has been working for three years, she changes her make-up to a more subdued style. The reason for this is that she has now become mature, and the simpler style shows her own natural beauty. For formal occasions, the mature geisha will still apply white make-up. For geisha over thirty, the heavy white make-up is only worn during those special dances that require it. Further information: History of cosmetics

DRESS

_ A senior maiko_ (left) with _darari obi_ and _geisha_ with _taiko-musubi_ _ Niigata geisha_ performing dance, dressed in _kimono_ and _taiko musubi_

Geisha
Geisha
always wear kimono . Apprentice geisha wear highly colourful kimono with extravagant obi . The obi is brighter than the kimono she is wearing to give a certain exotic balance. Maiko of Kyoto wear the obi tied in a style called "darari" (dangling obi), while Tokyo "hangyoku" wear it tied in various ways, including taiko musubi. Older geisha of Kyoto wear more subdued patterns and styles (most notably the obi tied in a simpler knot used by married women known as the "taiko musubi" (太鼓結び), or "drum knot"). Tokyo and Kanazawa geisha wear "yanagi musubi" (柳結び, _willow style_), taiko musubi and "tsunodashi musubi" (角出結び).

The colour, pattern, and style of _kimono_ is dependent on the season and the event the geisha is attending. A _kimono_ can take from two to three years to complete, due to painting and embroidering.

Geiko wear red or pink _nagajuban_, or under-kimono. A maiko wears red with white printed patterns. The junior maiko's collar is predominantly red with white, silver, or gold embroidery. Two to three years into her apprenticeship, the red collar will be entirely embroidered in white (when viewed from the front) to show her seniority. When she becomes a fully fledged geisha her collar will turn from red to solid white.

Geisha
Geisha
wear raised wooden sandals, called _geta _ while maiko wear a special wooden sandal known as _okobo _ and wear only _tabi _ (white split-toed socks) indoors. Geisha
Geisha
and apprentices wear the flat-soled sandal _zōri _ outdoors during inclement weather.

HAIR

_ Mamechiho as a geiko_.

The hairstyles of geisha have varied through history. In the past, it has been common for women to wear their hair down in some periods and up in others. During the 17th century, women began putting all their hair up again, and it is during this time that the traditional shimada hairstyle , a type of chignon worn by most established geisha, developed.

There are four major types of the shimada: the _taka shimada_, a high chignon usually worn by young, single women; the _tsubushi shimada_, a more flattened chignon generally worn by older women; the _yuiwata_, a chignon that is usually bound up with a piece of coloured cotton crepe . Additional hairstyles are Ofuku, Katsuyama, Yakko-shimada, and Sakko . Maiko of Pontochō will wear an additional six hairstyles leading up to the Sakko, including Umemodoki, Oshidori no Hina, Kikugasane, and Osafune.

These hairstyles are decorated with elaborate hair-combs and hairpins (kanzashi ). In the seventeenth century and after the Meiji Restoration period, hair-combs were large and conspicuous, generally more ornate for higher-class women. Following the Meiji Restoration and into the modern era, smaller and less conspicuous hair-combs became more popular.

Maiko sleep with their necks on small supports (takamakura), instead of pillows, so they keep their hairstyle perfect. Even if there are no accidents, a maiko will need her hair styled every week. Many modern geisha use wigs in their professional lives, while maiko use their natural hair. Either must be regularly tended by highly skilled artisans. Traditional hairstyling is a slowly dying art. Over time, the hairstyle can cause balding on the top of the head.

IN POPULAR CULTURE

A growing number of geisha have complained to the authorities about being pursued down the street and tugged on the sleeves of their kimonos by groups of tourists keen to take their photograph. As a result, residents and local businesses have joined forces to protect the geisha by launching patrols of the streets of the Gion entertainment district of the city in order to prevent tourists from pestering them.

IN BOOKS

* Masuda, Sayo (1957). _ Autobiography of a Geisha _ (芸者,苦闘の半生涯 _Geisha, kutō no hanshōgai_, lit. _Geisha, Half a Lifetime of Pain and Struggle_). ISBN 0-231-12951-3 . * Dalby, Liza (1983). _Geisha_. University of California Press . ISBN 0-520-04742-7 . * Dalby, Liza (1993). _Kimono: Fashioning Culture_. Yale University Press . ISBN 0-300-05639-7 . * Dalby, Liza (2000). _The Tale of Murasaki_. First Anchor Books . ISBN 0-385-49795-4 . * Dalby, Liza (2007). _East Wind Melts the Ice_. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-25053-2 . * Dalby, Liza (2009). _Hidden Buddhas_. Stone Bridge Press . * Mineko, Iwasaki & Brown, Rande Gail (2002). _ Geisha
Geisha
of Gion_. Atria. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link ) * Shikibu, Murasaki (c. 1021). _The Tale of Genji_ (源氏物語 _Genji Monogatari_).

IN GEISHA PHOTOGRAPHY

* Ogino, Naoyuki (2007). _A Girl Inherited Maiko (Apprentice Geisha) Life_. Japan: Canon Gallery. * Ogino, Naoyuki (photographs) & Komomo (text) (2008). _A Geisha\'s Journey_. Kodansha International. ISBN 978-4-7700-3067-2 . CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link ) * Perkins, P.D. (text) -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">

* ^ \'Geisha\' pronounced in Japanese, Forvo, the pronunciation dictionary * ^ Geisha
Geisha
translations, EZ Glot * ^ _A_ _B_ Masuda, Sayo, 2003, Autobiography of a Geisha, trans. G.G. Rowley, Columbia University Press, New York ISBN 0-231-12951-3 * ^ Prasso (May 2006). "The Real Memoirs of Geisha". _The Asian Mystique: Dragon Ladies, Geisha
Geisha
Girls, and Our Fantasies of the Exotic Orient_. p. 218. ISBN 978-1-58648-394-4 . * ^ Downer, L. (February 2004) . "In Search of Sadayakko". _Madame Sadayakko The Geisha
Geisha
Who Bewitched the West_. Gotham. pp. 5–6. ISBN 978-1-59240-050-8 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Gallagher, John. Geisha: _A Unique World of Tradition, Elegance, and Art_. London: PRC, 2003. ISBN 1-85648-697-4 * ^ "History of geisha". Retrieved 2010-06-18. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ Lesley Downer, "The City Geisha
Geisha
and Their Role in Modern Japan: Anomaly or artistes", in Martha Feldman and Bonnie Gordon, eds, _The Courtesan's Arts: Cross-Cultural Perspectives_ (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006; ISBN 0-19-517028-8 ), pp. 223–242. * ^ Fujimoto, Taizo (1917). _The Story of the Geisha
Geisha
Girl_. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-4086-9684-2 . * ^ Seigle, C. S. (March 1993) . "Rise of the Geisha". _Yoshiwara: the glittering world of the Japanese courtesan_ (illustrated ed.). University of Hawaii Press. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-8248-1488-5 . * ^ Fiorillo, J. "Osaka Prints: Glossary". _geiko_: "Arts child", originally dancing girls who were too young to be called geisha but too old (more than twenty years of age) to be called odoriko. Geiko was the pronunciation used in the Kamigata region. Some geiko operated as illegal prostitutes. By the nineteenth century the term became synonymous with geisha. * ^ Tiefenbrun, S (2003). "Copyright Infringement, Sex Trafficking, and the Fictional Life of a Geisha". _Michigan Journal of Gender & Law_. 10: 32. SSRN 460747  _. doi :10.2139/ssrn.460747 . * ^ Gallagher, J. (October 2003). "Appendix II a timeline of geisha and related history". Geisha: a unique world of tradition, elegance, and art_. PRC Publishing. p. 252. ISBN 978-1-85648-697-2 . —Gallagher says that "Kiku" from Fukugawa district founded the profession in 1750, and that by 1753 one hundred _odoriko_ were consigned to Yoshiwara
Yoshiwara
, which licensed (female) Geisha
Geisha
in 1761. * ^ Seigle (1931) p. 172-174 * ^ Dalby, L. C. "The paradox of modernity". _geisha_. p. 74. OCLC 260152400 . * ^ Ohnuki-Tierney, E. (October 2002). _Kamikaze, Cherry Blossoms, and Nationalisms: The Militarization of Aesthetics in Japanese History_. University Of Chicago Press. p. 347. ISBN 978-0-226-62091-6 . _kuruwa geisha_ referred to the geisha in the geisha quarters who entertained their clients with the skills and performing arts and also offered their bodies. The term _yūjo_ and _jorō_ were used to distinguish them from _machi geisha_, who were exclusively entertainers ... some of the latter too engaged in sexual services * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Dalby, Liza (1998). _Geisha_. Berkeley: University of California. * ^ Dalby, Liza. "Do They or Don\'t They". Retrieved 12 January 2010. The question always comes up...just how 'available' is a geisha? ... There is no simple answer. * ^ _A_ _B_ Melissa Hope Ditmore (2006). _Encyclopedia of prostitution and sex work_. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-32969-9 . , page 184 * ^ _Japan encyclopedia_. Belknap Pr of Harvard U. 2005. ISBN 0-674-01753-6 . page 234 * ^ Reynolds, Wayne; Gallagher, John (2003). _Geisha: A Unique World of Tradition, Elegance and Art_. PRC Publishing. p. 135. ISBN 1-85648-697-4 . * ^ Taubman, Howard. " Geisha
Geisha
Tradition Is Bowing Out in Japan; Geishas Fighting Losing Battle Against New Trends in Japan", _The New York Times_. June 12, 1968. Page 49. Retrieved March 16, 2011. * ^ _A_ _B_ Mineko, Iwasaki; Rande Brown (2003). _Geisha, A Life_. New York: Washington Square. * ^ "Kyoto Gokagai". Kyoto Traditional Musical Art
Art
Foundation. The total number of Kyoto geisha had declined to 196 by 2007 (and 77 maiko); see: "Preface " Geisha
Geisha
in the 21st Century" in the 25th anniversary edition of _Geisha_". 2008. * ^ Dalby —_Geisha_ 2008 p. 17–18 * ^ _Geisha_ 2008 p.18,77,148 * ^ Iwasaki, Mineko ; Brown Ouchi, Rande (October 2002). _Geisha: A Life _ (first ed.). Atria. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-7434-4432-3 . * ^ Tetsuo, I. _ Nihongami no sekai_ . Nihongami Shiryōkan. ISBN 4-9902186-1-2 . * ^ Layton, J. "Dressing as a Geisha". * ^ _A_ _B_ Reynolds, Wayne; Gallagher, John (2003). _Geisha: A Unique World of Tradition, Elegance and Art_. PRC Publishing. ISBN 1-85648-697-4 . page 159 * ^ De Mente, Boye (1966). _Some Prefer Geisha_. Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle Company. * ^ Champeon, Kenneth (3 November 2002). "The Floating World". Things Asian. Retrieved 12 January 2010. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ McCurry, J. (2005-12-11). "Career geisha outgrow the stereotype". _The Age_. Melbourne. p. 3. Retrieved 2010-06-21. * ^ Wieder, Tamara (17 October 2002). "Remaking a memoir". Boston Phoenix. Retrieved 12 January 2010. * ^ Collins, Sarah (24 December 2007). "Japanese Feminism". Serendip's Exchange. Retrieved 12 January 2010. * ^ Jones, N. (2007-04-20). "Japan's geisha hit by poor economy". _The Washington Times_. now more students are interested in becoming geisha * ^ Kalman, B. (2008). _Japan the Culture_. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-7787-9298-7 . * ^ McCurry, J. (2005-12-11). "Career geisha outgrow the stereotype, page 2". Melbourne: The Age
The Age
. Retrieved 2010-06-21. * ^ Coutsoukis, Photius (2004-11-10). "Japan Performing Arts". Retrieved 2009-06-02. Originally from The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook. * ^ Coutsoukis, Photius (2004-11-10). "Japan Dance". Retrieved 2009-06-02. Originally from The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook. * ^ Tames, Richard (September 1993). _A Traveller's History of Japan_. Brooklyn, New York : Interlink Books. ISBN 1-56656-138-8 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Kalman, Bobbie (March 1989). _Japan the Culture_. Stevens Point, Wisconsin
Stevens Point, Wisconsin
: Crabtree Publishing Company. ISBN 0-86505-206-9 . * ^ Dougill, John (2006). _Kyoto: a cultural history_. Oxford University Press. p. 182. ISBN 0-19-530137-4 . * ^ Merriam-Webster, Inc (2000). _Merriam-Webster\'s collegiate encyclopedia_. Merriam-Webster, Inc. p. 639. ISBN 0-87779-017-5 . * ^ Lies, Elaine (2008-04-23). "Modern-day geisha triumphs in closed, traditional world". Reuters
Reuters
. Retrieved 2009-06-02. * ^ "Near extinction". Reuters. December 2007. An economic downturn in the 1990s forced businessmen to cut back on entertainment expenses, while high-profile scandals in recent years have made politicians eschew excessive spending. A dinner can cost around 80,000 yen (US$1,058) per head, depending on the venue and the number of geishas present. But even before the 90s, men were steadily giving up on late-night parties at 'ryotei", restaurants with traditional straw-mat tatami rooms where geishas entertain, in favour of the modern comforts of hostess bars and karaoke rooms. * ^ Hyslop, Leah (4 October 2010). "Liza Dalby, the blue-eyed geisha". _The Telegraph_. London. Retrieved 18 July 2011. * ^ Liza, Dalby (1983). _Geisha_. London: Vintage U.K. pp. 106–109. ISBN 9780099286387 . * ^ "Chunichi Shimbun, 1 October 2011, 3rd opening". * ^ "湯河原温泉ふきや 若女将のブログ : 「新花」の「樹里」さん". _blog.livedoor.jp_. * ^ Gilhooly, Rob (2011-07-23). "Romanian woman thrives as geisha". Tokyo: The Japan Times. Retrieved 2014-10-26. * ^ "Life inside the Flower and Willow World - Wattention". _Wattention_ (in Japanese). Retrieved 2015-10-23. * ^ "Turning Japanese: the first foreign geisha". London: The Independent . 2008-01-24. Retrieved 2009-06-02. * ^ Ryall, Julian (2008-01-09). "Westerner inducted into mysteries of geisha". London: The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph
. Retrieved 2009-06-02. * ^ "First ever Western geisha leaves the \'sisterhood\'". * ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-07. Retrieved 2016-08-28. * ^ "インタビュー01 君蝶 東京花柳界情報舎". _karyuukai.jp_. August 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-21. "君蝶さんは現在、見習いとしてお座敷を見学している"

* ^ " Maiko Dance". * ^ _A_ _B_ " Geisha
Geisha
dances". * ^ Baika-sai (Plum Festival), Kyoto Travel Guide * ^ Open-Air Tea Ceremony with the Scent of Plum Blossoms: Plum Blossom Festival at Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine, Kyoto Shimbun, 2007.2.25 * ^ _A_ _B_ Demetriou, Danielle (2010-07-16). "Geishas serve beer instead of tea and conversation as downturn hits Japan". Telegraph.co.uk . * ^ " Geisha
Geisha
beer garden opens in Kyoto". Sydney Morning Herald . 2010-07-09. * ^ Geisha
Geisha
gardens in Kyoto, 12 Jul 2010 – contact information * ^ "World\'s oldest geisha looks to future to preserve past". 2007-12-03. Girls in the past could become apprentice geishas from the age of 13, but it is now illegal to become an apprentice before 18 except in Kyoto where a girl can be an apprentice at 15. * ^ Jones, N. (2007-04-20). "Japan's geisha hit by poor economy". _The Washington Times_. Even the older sisters who became geisha as teenagers, they are over 80 but still train every day * ^ _A_ _B_ Maske, Andrew L. " Geisha
Geisha
Beyond the Painted Smile." Peabody:Peabody Essex Museum, 2004:104 * ^ Asian Mystique, page 52 * ^ Henshall, K. G., 1999, A History of Japan, Macmillan Press LTD, London, ISBN 0-333-74940-5 , page 61 * ^ Matsugu, Miho, 2006, "In the Service of the Nation: Geisha
Geisha
and Kawabata Yasunari's 'Snow Country'", in Martha Feldman and Bonnie Gordon, ed. The Courtesan's Arts, Oxford University Press, London, ISBN 0-19-517028-8 , page 244 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Prasso, Sheridan. "The Asian Mystique." New York: Public Affairs, 2005:206 * ^ Ozeki, R. (2005). _Inside and other short fiction: Japanese women by Japanese women_. Kodansha International. ISBN 4-7700-3006-1 .

* ^ Alan Booth, _Looking for the Lost: Journeys Through a Vanishing Japan_ Kodansha Globe Series, 1995. ISBN 1-56836-148-3 * ^ " World War II
World War II
and the American Occupation". _geishaofjapan.com_. * ^ _A_ _B_ Dalby, L. (February 2009). "waters dry up". _East Wind Melts the Ice: A Memoir through the Seasons by Liza Dalby_. University of California Press. pp. 190–191. ISBN 978-0-520-25991-1 . the resulting official line that geisha live by art alone is unrealistically prudish * ^ Seigle, Cecilia Segawa (1993). _Yoshiwara: the glittering world of the Japanese courtesan_. : University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-1488-6 . page 179. * ^ Liza Crihfield Dalby. Geisha. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998) * ^ Lesley Downer. Geisha: The Secret History of a Vanishing World. (London: Headline Book Publishing, 2000) Pages 256–266. * ^ "A Week in the Life of: Koaki, Apprentice Geisha
Geisha
– Schooled in the arts of pleasure". London: The Independent
The Independent
. 1998-08-08. * ^ Tokyo, By Danielle Demetriou in. "Tourists warned to stop \'harassing\' Kyoto\'s geisha".

FURTHER READING

* Aihara, Kyoko. _Geisha: A Living Tradition_. London: Carlton Books, 2000. ISBN 1-85868-937-6 , ISBN 1-85868-970-8 . * Ariyoshi Sawako, _The Twilight Years_. Translated by Mildred Tahara. New York: Kodansha America, 1987. * Burns, Stanley B., and Elizabeth A. Burns. _Geisha: A Photographic History, 1872–1912_. Brooklyn, N.Y.: powerHouse Books, 2006. ISBN 1-57687-336-6 . * Downer, Lesley. _Women of the Pleasure Quarters: The Secret History of the Geisha_. New York: Broadway Books, 2001. ISBN 0-7679-0489-3 , ISBN 0-7679-0490-7 . * Foreman, Kelly. "The Gei of Geisha. Music, Identity, and Meaning." London: Ashgate Press, 2008. * Ishihara, Tetsuo. Peter MacIntosh, trans. _ Nihongami no Sekai: Maiko no kamigata (The World of Traditional Japanese Hairstyles: Hairstyles of the Maiko)_. Kyōtō: Dōhōsha Shuppan, 1993. ISBN 4-8104-1294-6 . * Iwasaki, Mineko , with Rande Brown. _Geisha, A Life_ (also known as _ Geisha
Geisha
of Gion_). New York: Atria Books, 2002. ISBN 0-7434-4432-9 , ISBN 0-7567-8161-2 ; ISBN 0-7434-3059-X . * Scott, A.C. _The Flower and Willow World; The Story of the Geisha_. New York: Orion Press, 1960.

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_ Look up 芸者 _ or _GEISHA _ in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

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Geisha
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