Travel Tokyo: Sayuki Geisha from Asakusa Temple

Literally geisha in Japan means an "artist" or "performing artist". Another name for geisha used in Japan is geiko (芸子), which is usually used to refer to geisha from Western Japan, including Kyoto. Apprentice geisha are called maiko. 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 before 21 years may begin her career as a full geisha with usually a year's training, but those who do go through the maiko stage can enjoy more prestige later in their professional lives of Geisha.

From a long time there were female entertainers in Japan. They were called saburuko. Some of these saburuko girls sold sex services in Japan, 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, Japanese Geisha culture began to emerge, as it became the home of a beauty-obsessed elite. Skilled female performers, such as Shirabyōshi dancers, thrived.
In ancient Japan, for sexual enjoyment and romantic attachment, men did not go to their wives, but to Walled-in pleasure quarters  built in the 16th century, outside of which prostitution was illegal, and within which "yūjo" ("play women") would be classified and licensed. The highest yūjo class was the Geisha's predecessor, called "Oiran", a combination of actress and prostitute in Japan, 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.
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. Geisha do sometimes marry their clients but they must then retire; there can never be a married geisha.
Geisha may gracefully flirt with their (often infatuated) guests, but they will always remain in control of the hospitality.

The first western Geisha is Graham, who is popularly known as Sayuki Geisha of Asakusa. She is an Australian by born.

Continue Reading more on the First Western Geisha, Sayuki Geisha.


1 comment:

  1. Geisha did not come from Oiran courtesans...they existed at the same time. Oiran sold their bodies and geisha did not. Geisha were artists and entertainers and were forbidden from prostitution. They had to dress modestly in comparison to the flamboyant oiran and were only allowed the three hair ornaments that geisha still wear today.