Oiran courtesan. Also see my photos of an oiran show here. My oiran video at YouTube here.

The highest-ranking geisha is called an oiran or tayu. She is escorted by two little attendant girls called kamuro. Notice her high clogs. It takes some skill to walk in those and she usually requires someone's shoulder to hold onto while walking. Sometimes at festivals or special events, you can see the Oiran Dochu procession where she walks in a parade together with geisha attendants.
photos of an oiran show here. My oiran video at YouTube here." data-count="horizontal">Tweet

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Comments   [Sep 19, 2008 at 03:22 AM]
From: emiko (Jul 27, 2006 19:57)
facts

-oiran/tayuu were prostitutes, not geisha

-geisha were NOT PROSTITUTES

-geisha did not have sex with multiple men

-geisha are not allowed to auction their mizuage anymore

-i beleive that japanese actresses did not want to act in the movie "memoirs of a geisha" because it was an insult to their culture. the oshiroi (white makeup used) was not used in the movie, because they were afraid it would scare americans. i find that insulting, changing a culture to fit the likes of americans!

-the shoes are called geta

-obi tied at the front meant a prostitute


From: Bonnie (Aug 05, 2006 02:29)
WOW, take a chill pill people.
I think Geisha and their life style is beautiful and intriguing, but why all the anger?
It is very well known fact that there is a lot of misconception sourrounding Geisha/Geiko and their lifestyle.
It has been made very clear by several people that Geisha are NOT prostitutes, although I'm sure it could of been done in a much nicer way.
I think if nothing else, the comments on this site will prompt people to learn more about the truth of Geisha.
I actually commend Philbert's comment on the 1/4/2004 stating he will not remove or change the caption as it is allowing people to have this debate and be educated on the truth of Geisha.
Think about it, if you have read all the comments on this site you should surely know by now the picture depicts a Tayu which is NOT a Geisha, and just maybe bother to research the difference between the two.
Well done, your postcards are lovely & thankyou for allowing the world to see them and have their say.
If you would like to see somemore Geisha pics I must recommend www.pbase.com/julianht/image/geisha
his pics are stunning.



From: philbert (Sep 09, 2006 15:33)
Wow, I added this image over three years ago and it still gets comments.

I have a video clip (at YouTube) of an oiran doing the figure 8 walk at the Tokyo Jidai Matsuri. It's not a very good video clip (I was busy taking still pictures), but adequate.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcbsVoyDb8U


From: Country Wife (Oct 09, 2006 23:08)
Thanks for posting this photo--I'm researching yujo, and this image and text will be helpful, especially the term "kamuro" for the little maids. And yes, before everyone starts shouting again, I know that geisha are not prostitutes, but yujo are/were.

Are those clogs called geta, or are geta only the wooden ones with the two platforms underneath (like the square wooden sushi trays)?


From: philbert (Oct 10, 2006 00:15)
Country Wife,

Yes, those huge clogs are also called geta. The actual name is 'Sanmai-ba geta" 三枚歯下駄(さんまいばげた)which literally means geta with three teeth. Normal geta are much smaller with two "teeth."


From: euja_chan@yahoo.com (Jan 05, 2007 22:56)
Clarification: It may have alreayd been clarified, but geisha are not oiran and oiran are not geisha. The way to tell the difference is that oiran wear many elaborate layers of kimono, white face makeup with red lips and have multiple pins in their hair. Geisha wear far more subtle kimono, plain geta, and tie their obis in the back. Geisha are the highest ranking geiko, maiko are the apprentices. And, that is all. :)


From: Bai (Jan 08, 2007 03:09)
You know, the most fascinating thing about this page is not the original error, nor the venemous corrections, nor the polite corrections, nor the rebuttals by people who have read one book or seen one movie, nor the vitriol thrown from both sides, nor the gracious decision of the host regarding the error (and subsequent abuse of his hospitality)...it's the fact that 7 out of 10 posters clearly haven't read any of the other posts in the debate.

Surprising, no, fascinating, yes.

Thank you for reading this far down the page.


From: crazy_inu@hotmail.com (Jan 14, 2007 12:14)
Hi! Thanks for all the information, but I'm working on an art project and I'm having trouble finding the relationship between Geisha, oiran, maiko and their hair. Is there a certain meaning behind why their hair were done the way they were? Maybe on a religious, or maybe political point-of -view? Anything would help, thanks!


From: Alene (Jan 17, 2007 19:38)
Bai! Thats hillarious that you would write that because I was just thinking the same thing!!


From: Rob Oechsle (Mar 23, 2007 01:47)
To BAI above, I was thinking the same things. Amazing.


From: alyssa (Apr 14, 2007 17:29)
GEIKO ARE NOT PROSOTUTES.
geiko are geisha from kyoto and i know for a fact they do not sell there bodys. a misuagie has not been part of there culture for generations. some dont even have sex with thier danna. however the girl in the picture was something of a prostitute for the men of court. and BTW the way their comono is tied has nothing to do with how often they have sex. they have different styles and thats it.


From: alyssa again (Apr 14, 2007 17:34)
to.crazy_inu@hotmail.com
http://www.immortalgeisha.com/hairstyles_maiko.php
-information on geisha hairstyles


From: philbert (May 05, 2007 05:41)
I have uploaded my best oiran video yet:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNncpdEFOB0

It includes footage of her putting on and taking off those high clogs. Also watch a beautiful Oiran Show that she performs. Make you drool even more and wish you were in Japan like me.

Still photos of the above are (...)
Comments   [Sep 19, 2008 at 03:21 AM]
From: jojoscandles@hotmail.com (Jan 31, 2006 12:57)
hi again, wanted to remind some that there is no plural, it is just Geisha, not Geishas or Maiko, not Maikos etc.. that is Japanese..oh and did someone ever find a place to tell us how to do the Obi?? Maiko and other....


From: charl (Feb 01, 2006 15:34)
could someone please tell me the differance between a geisha and a courtesan?


From: sarah (Feb 04, 2006 17:25)
to above post:
why dont you read these comments before posting a question like that?


From: sasha (Feb 14, 2006 17:22)
No words for Charl!
Back to the debate: surely only a true Geisha could enlighten conjecture based on gossip & legend...


From: geisha, a life (Apr 27, 2006 18:11)
the autobiography of mineko iwasaki clears up everything; the mizuage ceremony is only the coming of age, and does not involve sex, but only changes the maiko's (apprentice geisha's) hairstyle. Geisha ARE in fact allowed to get married, but the life is so restricting they usually don't. A courtesan is a high class prostitute and a geisha entertains people with her artistic skills, NOT SEX. This picture is of a tayu, a high class courtesan or prostitute.


From: kayako (Jun 29, 2006 14:59)
The person who made this site is probably gonna die because of all the "in puts" but most of them are right anyhow this is a high class shimabara/yoshiwara oiran or yujo what ever you like, but were the first kinds of "geisha"(the term geisha in kyoto is man in drag so its geiko) or with that look the first geisha were more of joksters and comedians and were men and the first real woman was a shirobyoshi dancer, kind of like a samurai, dancer, prostitute thing. but once the woman geiko came in they were prostitutes at first and looked much like an oiran, but the oiran got all upset because the geiko were taking all their business, so then a law was passed umong the geiko about the way they looked and what they did, like today a geiko is not a prostitute but i will say that when they have a danna they respect and maybe love one another and she might make love to him but its her call really, because the sexual arts is not a geiko or maiko's profession its not their purpose.


From: kayako (Jun 29, 2006 15:08)
oh, and another thing the whole memoirs of a geisha movie blows. it totally turned those poor geisha into sluts and arthur golden is a liar and said that its all the info he got from mineko iwasaki a former geiko when actually he turned it around to his likings that why it was such a horrible movie if they would have made it more like a geiko's life and the whole look then it would have been good, and the movie and book says that the maiko's mizuage is how a maiko becomes a geiko by selling her virginity to the highest bidder is a big fat lie, the truth is the man who makes a maiko lose her virginity is a very subtle older gentleman who is asked by the geiko mother but its isnt done anymore so the maiko can stay virgin the rest of her life its her choice.


From: kallie (Jul 03, 2006 02:48)
The tall geta ("clogs" XD) were worn by the tayyu. Geisha are simpler, and don't put thier hair in outlandish styles with all these ornaments. The Oiran and Tayyu had to walk a certain walk called "the figure 8 walk" or something along those lines, because of the height. Can't really remember the name. Between the layers of Kimono, high "clogs", and that ridicolous up do, I'm sure we can conclude this is a Tayyu or Oiran. And yea, they were prostitutes. No, Geisha were not. Also, Geisha did not wear open toe. Tayyu did, as a)it was a sign of endurance in winter, and 2) even that tiny bit of skin would drive a man wild. Or so they say... In my opinion, any guy thats gets wild because of toes has a few issues.


From: cory (Jul 09, 2006 11:10)
WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!! WHOEVER WROTE THIS OBVIOUSLY IS AMBIVILANT TOWARDS THE GEISHA CULTURE. THOSE OF YOU WHO BELIEVE GEISHA ARE PROSTITUTES, YOU R WRONG!THIS IS A TAYYU/ORIAN NNOOOOOOOOTTT A GEISHA!!!!!!! GEISHA DO NOT WEAR THEIR OBI TIED IN THE FRONT AND THEIR HAIRSTYLYES DONT LOOK LIKE THAT! AND GEISHA DID NOT HAVE KAMURO!!!!!!( CHILD ATTENDANTS)!!!!! GEISHA ALSO DONT WEAR ALL THOSE LAYERS OF KIMONO! THE OWNER OF THIS SIGHT REALLY NEEDS TO CHANGE THIS. THIS IS ABSOLUTLEY DISGRACEFUL!!!!!!! AS A FAN OF THE GEISHA CULTURE MYSELF, AND ONE WHO LOVES GEISHA, AND OTHERS WHO DO ALSO, WE DO KNOW ALL THIS INFORMATION! I AM SHOCKED AND APALLED THAT THE IDIOT WHO CAPTIONED THIS PAGE IS STILL ALIVE BECAUSE HE NEEDS TO HAVE SOME SENSE " KNOCKED INTO HIM" I WANT TO MEET THE PERSON WHO WROTE THIS AND EXPLAIN TO HIM THAT ORIAN/TAYYU ARE NOT THE SAME THINGS AS GEISHA AT ALL. THEN ID YELL "WTH WERE YOU THINKING?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" PEOPLE TODAY ARE SO AMBIVILANT TO GEISHA AND IGNORANT!!!!!! I AM ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTED. AND THATS ALL I HAVE TO SAY!!!
Comments   [Sep 19, 2008 at 03:14 AM]
From: Jeff (Jan 24, 2006 19:37)
I think things here reached an inflammatory pitch, because this is an area of great uncertainty, and historically, the modern west has hypocritically viewed prostitution as something that the "lowest of the low" are involved in.

Geisha clearly made a living, in part, by emboying men's dreams of an amazing "perfect woman".

A talented beauty who can sing, dance and tell amazing stories... a woman so interested, but who also specializes in making the *man* feel that he is the truly interesting one. For this, many men would pay money, in order to get a rather insincere (they paid after all) ego boost. To feel important and glamorous. After all, this woman, who is but a dream in a misty fog, thinks *I* am interesting and acts in a playful and alluring way towards me.

This bit of amazing talent and theatrics coupled with some ego stroking -could be the sole source of income for many geisha, clearly.

But of course, as always, the geisha dealt only with the wealthy (the poor could never afford the cost of admission to even meet a geisha at all). When extreme wealth meets a profession whose purpose is to be unbelievably alluring, it would be fair to say that *some* within the alluring profession might occasionally take up the inevitable offers suggested to them.

But how many? Was it the rule, or the exception? The real question is whether or not geisha "as a rule" took up these offers, or whether they "as a rule" did not.

An analogy is this:

Some women in Los Angeles are prostitutes. They have prostitutes there, oh yes they do. But it is a big city, and the bulk of the women there are not prostitutes. So it would be unfair to say that "Women from L.A. are prostitutes".

Same goes for geisha. It is pretty much indubitable that *some* geisha (actual geisha!) saw an occasional "offer" from a somewhat tipsy, and "handsome looking" patron and thought "You know, he's not so bad, and all he wants is a little fun..."

It probably happened from time to time. How often? No one will ever know. Maybe it happened a lot. Maybe it was very rare.

So we'll never know how prevalent prostitution was among geisha. I can tell you with great ceratinty that *some* of them must have done it. They are, after all, only human under all the makeup and gold embroidered regalia. (Hell, in the history of nuns, I�ll bet that there are a few hundred nuns who�ve had sex for money) How many geisha have done it? Maybe just a tiny handful. Maybe a large number. We'll never know.

That is the problem with prostitution: When done correctly, it is a very secretive bit of business.

But it is their beauty and ability to perform amazing acts of talent within their shows that is unique and amazing. Whether a few men in past Japanese society got to live �the ultimate dream� of their contemporaries (probably at an extremely high financial cost) is irrelevant to the cultural and historic importance of this beautiful and sadly, dying form of entertainer.



From: Lala (Jan 28, 2006 23:12)
Ohh meehh gawd~! I can't believe people are still having misconceptions aout geisha. I will answers some questions that some people here asked.

Just to clear things up, geisha do not do "mizugue" anymore, the men are nto allweod to explroe the "caves" of a geisha with tehre "eels" anymroe or the geiaha will be immideatly be banned from there okiya for bad reputation, no other okiya would take her because she did something BAD and ochaya would not accept her for she does not have connections with the ochaya anymroe if she does not even have an okasan. (the qoute was from memoirs of a geisha, read the book twice hun and saw the movie)

It is a maiko's descesion if they wnat to be geisha or not. They ahev to asnwer thhese questions: Will I spend my life becoming a geisha and practing my arts continously? iI I become a geisha, i would not get married, would it be okay for me and for my friends and family? E'm I willing to live in a okiya with visit from my parents once a motnh? E'm I willing to give up education like collge or university?

Kamuro's would NOT wnat to become an oiran or tayuu. Kamuro's are forced to become oiran's/tayuu whcih si bad, it's like a 12 year old already signed up a contract to be a sex slave for someone in the future, you wouldn't be proud at all. Maiko's ahev choices, kamuro's dont. Maiko in the past did not have any choices, but now they do since they cna just go back to tehre families, while in the past tehy where sold and if they escpae it would be hard to find there families again.

Geisha certainly would not wnat to becoem a oiran/tayuu, why would someone who has a perfectly good job, that involves dirnkign sake, playing instruments,, tleling joeks and talk, also dancing would wnat a job in which you have many men in the bed for the whole day?

Ohh well thsese ar ethe things I just wnated to say. Hmm I really wanna dress up as a geisha, then a maiko, then a tayuu though. Those tayuu.oiran wlak in like figure-8 steps. It looks evyr cool and weird~! They drag the geta sandaly with tehre feet in the sde and towards forward infrotn of the otehr fete, and does smae with the otehr feet again adn again , also they ahev to ahve a man or kamuro's who help the oiran/tayuu balance. I saw one secemn of this in the movie memoirs of a geisha, also in the movie "Gohatto".
Comments   [Sep 19, 2008 at 03:09 AM]
From: tell'em_like_i_see'em (Nov 23, 2005 17:05)
I think that the people who pretend to be so very appalled by the idea that geisha were a form of prostitutes should ponder why they feel this way. Often our emotions will get out of hand when we are confronted by discrepancies between what we want to be true and what actually is the truth. In my opinion if it looks like a duck, acts like a duck and receives money to �!! ;-)


From: Mae (Dec 07, 2005 09:14)
this is certainly not a Geisha. She's a Tayuu or Oiran. If you do some reserches you might find out. Geisha's aren't prostitutes. Geisha's are people who entertain ( dancing, singing, etc...). She ties her obi at the back whilst the Tayuu tie theirs in front. Plus, Tayuus are so much more accessorated.


From: Confused (Dec 08, 2005 16:42)
Huh? I thought an Oiran was the highest ranking Geisha or something. But I;m probably wrong. But I don't see the reason for a lot of idiot comments on this page. I personally think this is a lovely site with some pretty pictures (most Geisha pictures on Google are horrible looking!).

I think some people that have commented should just relax and have fun viewing all the pics.

I don't think some Westerner who thinks that he knows about Asian culture can really have a say in any sort of discussion such as this one. Why? Because Geishas DID give sexual favors for money such as her Mizuage and Danna. But when Westerners hear this they go "OH MY GOD! They are prostitutes!" Yet they are ignorant enough to only look from their perspective and their view of Asian culture from their civilization.

Geishas are Geishas, prostitutes are prostitutes, whining about how bad prostitutes are won't make them disappear so stop whining about them, all men try to deny it, but in they end, they just want their "eels" to explore new "caves", and if they try to move above that; then they are 1) hypocrite or 2) sissy who can';t face the truth.
From: tell'em_like_i_see'em (Dec 11, 2005 19:08)
"Confused"
This name says it all. But no no "Confused", felt the need to give us a clear and vivid demonstration of just what a hypocrite is. Also appreciated was the clear and vivid demonstration of one who is ignorant enough to only look from their perspective. And by the way; a bigot is a bigot, might need to contemplated by this open foe of all �Westerners�.

Here�s to you "Confused" and good luck finding new caves for your sissy eel.

From: Jessi (Dec 29, 2005 17:03)
okay ppl. are Geisha's really prostotues or not, doo they really do sexual stuff for men?

From: maikeru (Jan 08, 2006 17:12)
the level of ignorance tossed about on these pages is unbelieveable. and that such a caption can even be sited to that photograph is disgusting... to label a oiran or tayu as a geisha of the highest rank is obscene... what's next? perhaps a movie about geisha which casts chinese as the lead role?? hmmmm...

From: tan (Jan 18, 2006 15:28)
they are not prostitutes you all got that.
philbert   [Sep 19, 2008 at 03:08 AM]
From: philbert (Nov 08, 2005 ) More oiran (...)
Comments   [Sep 19, 2008 at 03:05 AM]
From: faenocturne@gmail.com (Jul 13, 2005 23:16)
Why do people always pick and choose quotations from books? It's usually a sign they haven't read the whole thing.

Tayu, or whatever name they were called at the time, were highly trained in an artform. That artform happened to be sexual prowess. This is gone over in the same Liza Dalby book, "Geisha", that you have quoted.

Also, she states that in a certain time period, more experienced and slightly older geisha DID tie their obi in the front so as to be distinguished from their younger counter parts.

As for geisha taking "pillow money", I'm quite sure it happens in Gion, as well as the provinces the Kyoto geisha looked down upon. As you read Dalby's book, at one point in visiting the Akasaka geisha whose only visible artform was being at the head of fashion. She was appalled that the teahouse in that district that she was at didn't even have a shamisan on premises.

The Japanese police and the givers and takers of "pillow money" are really the only ones who can atttest to who does what where and with whom.

I am *quite* certain if (and this is a big if) there are current books about the subject of geisha being connected to prostitution, they certainly wouldn't be readily available to high-school debaters who come up with such pithy comebacks. Stick to trying to score enough on your SAT's to get into something better than junior college.

As for the rest of the beraters, he made a mistake. The rest of his information, while rather repetitive, is true. He is displaying artworks for YOUR enjoyment.

Shut up and enjoy them.

From: gaeus@yahoo.com (Jul 22, 2005 19:14)
I have heard this discussion before and in the 1.5 years these commenta have said little.
I have never seen it said that geisha are celibet which means they were having sex with someone.
Next question, is the goal of a geisha to become an oiren like maiko desire to become geisha?
I can not imagine a maiko refusing to become a geisha. Similarly I don't think a geisha would turn down the chance to become an oiren.
Eitherway, the conflict here is not what did geisha do but people prudish concepts of sex. If is the ignorant idea that a woman recieved money for sex she must be some type of (...). It is this thinking that is insulting not the idea that they had sex.
Lose your prudish hang-ups about sex and the question of did geisha get paid for sex is no longer important.

From: O-REN ISHI (Nov 07, 2005 18:00)
SHARE THE LOVE
,DON'T ARGUE. LOVE ALL GEISHAS
Comments   [Sep 19, 2008 at 03:02 AM]
From: greatjob! (Apr 23, 2004 03:00)
I have learned much from this site. Thank you for leaving the caption as is. I find it interesting that the high platform shoes (for lack of a betterword) that she is wearing are very similar in idea to the ones worn by Venetian courtesans (calles chopines)during the Italian Renaissance period. Thanks for all of the constructive corrections, too.

From: natalie (May 03, 2004 22:42)
pretty picture....
whats this obsession with prostitutes?There are kids on this picture people watch your language!

From: flash (Aug 08, 2004 16:08)
I've done a lot of research into the various roles women play in both modern and ancient societies, and there is only one real conclusion that can be reached--you all a bunch of hoes.

From: Frank (Sep 12, 2004 21:14)
A "Flash" to Flash - As they say, it takes one to know one. If there were any "ignorant" comments on this page - without a doubt, the one by Flash is the "MOST!!!"

From: Lauren (Knucklessanwitch@aol.com) (Sep 21, 2004 05:53)
OUch... reading all of this made my head hurt. I do have a question though. All of you seem well informed. Do you know of any websites that show how to tie the obi in the longer hanging style of the Maiko?

Drop me a line if you can help. Thanks.

From: Chris(chriskyra@yahoo.com (Oct 10, 2004 23:44)
Yes. Please let me know how you tie the Obi also. Thank you.

From: Ash (Feb 14, 2005 00:27)
Okay guys, someone made a mistake. They are human, get over it!

From: yoshiwara (Mar 07, 2005 17:55)
The description 'The highest-ranking geisha is called an oiran or tayu' should be corrected to 'The highest-ranking courtesan is called an oiran or tayu'. The distinction is quite clear, whether or not a geisha sells sexual favours. The image is in no way an image of a geisha.

From: senggana@yahoo.com (Jun 09, 2005 05:08)
can i find information about art of sex from geisha?please i nedd to my study.

From: Japanese Fan (Jul 03, 2005 21:05)
Geishas are awesome, they are truly the highlight of Japanese Culture in my opinion. If you look at logic, Why would any prostitute go through so much trouble for sex? Geishas are entertainers. They play music and dance. Perhaps a wealty prostitute took that the wrong way and word spread that Geishas are prostitutes. That is only a theory though. Maybe the media has made them appear to be prostitutes. What ever the case, geishas are not prostitutes. That be like saying Elvis was a prostitute because he was an entertainer who wore "Unusual" clothing.
philbert   [Sep 19, 2008 at 03:01 AM]
From: philbert (Apr 01, 2004 03:09)
Thanks for all your notes. I could correct the innocently-written caption for this postcard, but then all these notes would become invalid. So I'll leave the caption as is and have this debate continue for everyone's amusement (and sometimes education).
Kiki   [Sep 19, 2008 at 03:00 AM]
From: Kiki (Mar 12, 2004 01:12)
*ahem* I am not going to point out the obvious, as many people before me have. I am going to agree with many other commenters on this note: please, please, please research your information BEFORE you put it up. There is plenty of information out there on the correct meanings of both geisha and tayu(also known as oiran, I do believe). Oh and real quick: the first recorded geisha was a MAN. Yes, the geisha and prostitutes came out of the same world, but their world diverged after that. One world offered sex, the other offered art and entertainment.

Now as for why I think so many people were outraged at this misleading mistake, is the extreme difference between a prositute and a geisha. A prostitute (tayu, oiran,kamuru, etc)sold her body for sex and company. She dressed ostentaiously, flamboyantly, and yes,with her obi tied in front.

A geisha was a woman her sold her time...she was like the perfect dinner companion. The best geisha are not the prettiest, but the most intelligent, wittiest ones. It is not easy to become a geisha. In fact, a girl used to have to spend 7-12 years as an apprentice, and then a maiko, before she could "turn her collar" and become a geisha. She would spend that time perfecting her competance in playing instruments, dancing, painting, conversations, and dressing herself. After she became a geisha, a geisha did not stop learning or practicing...she spent the rest of her life continuing her classes in instrument playing and other classes to keep up her art. Geisha are not always young women, many geisha still practicing today are older women, some as old as in their 70's. Also, being a geisha was incrediably expensive. The kimono and obi alone could cost easily upwards of US $10,000. And a geisha/maiko had to have many different ones for the different seasons. Geisha entertain men at parties and teahouses, and charge exorbiant amounts of money for that honor. The reason geisha and maiko are fading in modern times, is not because of the supposed taint of sex, but because the costs of being a geisha are too great, and the costs of being entertained by a geisha are too great. People cannot afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on one evening party of conversation with a few geisha. And women cannot afford to live the geisha lifestyle, with its beautiful, luxurious, hand-made kimonos, wigs, hairdressers, stunning obis, makeup, shamisan lessons, etc.

I think it is a shame that people continuously make the mistake of considering geisha to be women who sell their bodies for sex. The reason that geisha became so popular is because sex wasn't part of the equation. They "entertained" men through witty conversation, stylized dancing, playing musical instruments, singing, and generally being "fun" and "cool" to party with. In those days, marriages were arranged, and most japanese women were taught to be subsurvient, not to be witty talkers. Geisha were a class onto themselves, an art form that is unfortuantly dying out in this high-tech, modern world.

For those who would like to learn more about geisha...this site has excellent information: http://www.immortalgeisha.com/ig/index.html

:)
what's the deal?   [Sep 19, 2008 at 02:59 AM]
From: what's the deal? (Feb 11, 2004 12:15)
Why all the anger? People doth protesteh too much! Anytime you have young attractive women and wealthy older men, sex is usually some part of the bargain...be it realized, hoped for, or implied. Obviously both the geisha/geiko and licensed courtesan traditions had their start in the mizo shobai...along w/ kabuki. In the heyday of the licensed quarters, both geisha/geiko (many, but certainly not all) and courtesans worked many of the same beats....the licensed quarters.

The record stands that the bakufu issued many laws concerning and restricting both geisha and unlicensed prositiutes...so one can conclude that there was reason to do so. In short, while geisha/geiko practiced gei, many offered other services as well.

As for later times in geisha/geiko and courtsean history, girls were routinely "recruited" (ie bought from their families) and then "contracted" (ie sold) to geisha houses or brothels by zegen (ie pimps) at extremely tender ages, both groups had to endure extended training periods as maiko/kamuro, made to undergo mizuage, and both labored under heavy debt burdens that made it unlikely many would easily turn away a man w/ alot of money....considering all this, one wouldn't be too off in concluding that art wasn't the only thing on the agenda for most women in this position.

As for tayu being "sluts" and geisha being "artisans".....who's giving out misinformation? Tayu and high ranking courtseans WERE trained in many of the same arts as the geisha...shaimesen playing, dancing, singing, incense and tea ceremony, etc.....what's w/ the revisionist history?

As for the post 1958 era, licensed prostitution and the debt issues were a thing of the past...this affected geisha/geiko in that they were no longer compelled to undergo mizuage as a part of paying off their "contracts". They could and can, in theory, choose w/ whom and under what circumstances they have sex, BUT this being so.....why is it that most (post 1958 era) parents of girls who have considered or chosen to become geisha/geiko are opposed (if not outraged and appalled) by the idea?

As much as many people enjoy the whole geisha/geiko image and culture, one still can't get away from the fact that the exchange is HER time (whoever and whatever she does) and HIS money. Obviously many men simply enjoy the compainionship of beautiful/witty women, but it would be naive to believe that sex doesn't have it's place in the equation, especially when one considers how expensive and exclusive the flower and willow world has become. How and under what circumstances it's done these days is the business of the people involved, but there's no denying that the geisha/geiko tradition has been steadily in decline since 1958. As for why...isn't the answer obvious?

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