Have you ever watched movies or Japanese animations where lovely women wear white makeup and kimonos? They are called geishas. Most films we may have seen depict them as high-class courtesans, but what we have seen is wrong.
In celebration of Women’s Day, let’s learn more about what geishas are. What they do, what they represent, and how one becomes a geisha. We have tons of questions about what geishas are. Let us try to answer these questions one at a time.
What are Geishas?
Geishas are professional entertainers. They are trained in traditional Japanese arts, such as singing, dancing, playing the flute, and shamisen, and the art of hospitality and communication. In addition, the highly developed art they perform is called kyo-mai. The teach the dance solely to the geisha living within the Inoue School district, owned by the Living National Treasure Inoue Yachiyo.
Did you know that the very first geishas in Japan were men? Moreover, they were the first entertainers in Japan in the old days, called hokan or taikomochi. They mostly catered to the feudal lords with story-telling and dancing. It only changed during the 17th century as they started performing for the general public. And by the 18th century, female geishas came about; they were called geiko. With the countless number of geiko until now, the taikomochi fell, and only a handful are still performing in Japan.
How does one become a geisha?
Becoming a geisha is no easy feat, as it requires years of training and dedication. The process begins with an apprenticeship, during which aspiring women learn about traditional Japanese customs, etiquette, music, dance, conversation skills, and more. Finally, after completing their apprenticeships, it officially recognized them as maiko or full-fledged geishas, depending on their experience level.
Geishas represent the pinnacle of Japanese elegance and refinement. Geishas are highly respected in Japan for their knowledge and skill in the performing arts. They mentor younger generations and serve as ambassadors of Japanese culture to those outside it. The image of the geisha has become a symbol of Japan’s rich cultural heritage, representing beauty, tradition, and sophistication.
The importance of Geishas serves as a reminder of Japan’s rich history and its unique cultural identity. By respecting the traditions, we can ensure that this vital part of Japanese culture will continue to be appreciated for generations to come.
Lastly women’s day celebrates the achievements of women. Geishas are an example of female empowerment, and we should learn more about them. Furthermore, they come from different walks of life and backgrounds–yet they made their mark in society through their artistry and grace.