What is a Geisha?

December 15, 2005 geishalifestyles

Geisha meaning person of the arts are traditional Japanese artist-entertainers. The word Geiko is also used to describe such persons. Geisha were very common in the 18th and 19th centuries, and are still in existence today, although their numbers are dwindling. “Geisha,” pronounced /ˈgeɪ ʃa/ (“gay-sha”) is the most familiar term to English speakers, and the most commonly used within Japan as well, but in the Kansai region the terms geigi and, for apprentice geisha, “Maiko” have also been used since the Meiji Restoration. The term maiko is only used in Kyoto districts..Geisha-lifestyles-1.gif

geisha_maiko_kyoto.jpg

Geisha were traditionally trained from young childhood. Geisha houses often bought young girls from poor families, and took responsibility for raising and training them. During their childhood, apprentice geisha worked first as maids, then as assistants to the house’s senior geisha as part of their training and to contribute to the costs of their upkeep and education. This long-held tradition of training still exists in Japan, where a student lives at the home of a master of some art, starting out doing general housework and observing and assisting the master, and eventually moving up to become a master in her own right (see also irezumi). This training often lasts for many years.

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