Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Geisha

In Japan, a Geisha is a member of a professional class of women whose occupation is to entertain elete male clientele.The word Geisha itself literally translates to “artisan”, and the women are known for their distinct make-up and attire, their elegant and graceful dance and movements, and demure conversation. They use their talents and well-practiced techniques to provide entertainment for customers on the occasion of banquets and performances.Eizan Kikukawa

All geisha must learn to play the shamisen, alongside additional instruments that often accompany the shamisen, such as the ko-tsuzumi (small shoulder drum) and fue (flute), as well as traditional Japanese dance.In addition to being skilled at physical arts, the Geisha excel in making conversation.Other talents showcase flower arranging, performing the tea ceremony, and calligraphy.Katsushika Hokusai

 

Their distinct appearance is characterized by long, trailing kimono, traditional hairstyles and oshiroi make-up.Geisha entertain at parties known as ozashiki, often for the entertainment of wealthy clientele, as well as performing on stage and at festivals.

The Geisha system is thought to have emerged in the 17th century to provide a class of well-trained entertainers set apart from courtesans and prostitutes.Kitagawa Utamaro

 

While Geisha themselves are not prostitutes, their roots can be found in Saburuko, late seventh century Japanese women who were forced by eroding economic conditions and social displacement to exchange sexual favors in order to survive.

Modern Geisha still live in traditional geisha houses called okiya in the hanamachi areas, particularly during their apprenticeship. Many experienced geisha who are successful enough eventually choose to live independently during the later part of their careers. 

Today, the Geisha who exist in areas such as Kyoto, Kanazawa, and Tokyo are some of the most highly developed and valued professional entertainers of the region.

 

 

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