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The Way Of The Geisha

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Kyley Leonard

on 16 November 2012

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Transcript of The Way Of The Geisha

The Flower and Willow World The Way Of The Geisha A Girl Introduced To The Geisha World Before the 1950s, a young girl who was not a daughter or granddaughter of a Geisha had been sold to the Okiya (teahouse). Usually the youngest daughter of a poor family. This purchase of the girl was the first of her many debts she would need to pay back to the Oka-san ("mother" or proprietress of the Okiya.) When the girl becomes a Geisha she will spend the first however many years paying back the Oka-san for food, clothing, her lessons, any medical expenses; really any money that is spent on her. Even if it was not her debt to begin with. The world in which Geisha live is called the "Flower and Willow World."
It is a very exclusive world and many of the researchers of this place have had a very difficult time learning from the sources, the actual Geisha. It is very tight-lipped community to begin with, and even more so with Westerners since many have come to the conclusion that Geisha are prostitutes. Which they are not, real Geisha never were. The first Geisha were men that were paid to entertain men with jokes, dancing, and skits during the time of shogun rule in what were called "Pleasure Quarters". The word "geisha" translates to "artiste." They were prime examples of Japanese art culture. The First Geisha The story of the first female Geisha The first female Geisha was said to have been a prostitute who was losing business and decided to become Geisha. Soon more and more women were becoming Geisha until they outnumbered the men. And because, as Geisha, they were not affiliated with a pleasure house, they were making more money and were a threat to the pleasure houses.
The Government decided to place rules concerning female Geisha to try and control them. They made rules on their style of dress, how and where they could entertain and the hours. Sex with clients was forbidden and they could not be hired singly. In an attempt to make them less profitable, they only made them more desirable. The First Geisha cont'd In 1779 a Geisha was registered as a profession and with it's own registry office set up to regulate.
Every Maiko (Geisha-in-training) was registered when she began her training. And every request for a Geisha was recorded and all money went through the office. The Stages of Training A young girl may begin her training at the age of seven to twelve. She will attend a school dedicated to geisha training, a Kaburenjo. There, she will learn: the old-style kyoto dialect, singing, traditional Japanese dancing (nihon-buyoh,) tea ceremony (sadoh,) calligraphy (shodoh,) and playing of selected intruments ( the shamisen, shimedaiko, koto, and fue.
A young girl will attend classes at this school after she has become a Geisha, and some well into their 50s and 60s. Shikomi During this period a young girl will work as a maid in the Okiiya and begin paying back her debts to the Oka-san.

This time began as soon as the girl was introduced into the Okiiya. Now it begins when a girl is 15 and is no longer required to attend highschool. Misedashi When a girl becomes a Maiko ("dancing girl" but translated to geisha-in-training,) she must find an One-san (older sister) to be her mentor. The Geiko (Geisha) does not need to be from the same okiiya. The maiko and geisha will perform the ritual San SanKudo. Drinking from three cups of sake, with three sips from each. This ritual is also done when the geiko is being adopted by an Oka-san, and when she is being bound to her Donna.
This is the maiko's debut into the world, her One-san and Oka-san will now begin introducing her, sometimes quite obsessively,to clients in the hope that one will be interested in her. And her new name will be derived from her One-san's.
The maiko must spend 5 years training before she can become a geiko Minarai Now a public member of the Geisha Community, it is the responsibility of the One-san to take the maiko out to observe a geisah in action, this is called Ozashiki. A maiko will sit by quietly and observe her One-san at work, she is to sit by and look pretty and make all her One-san's clients familiar with her. The maiko wears a type of kimono called a furisode. It's sleeves drop down almost to the floor and is much more brightly coloured and designed than the geiko's. A maiko's obi is also longer than a geiko's, hers falls almost to the floor. She wears a much more elaborate hairstyles called wareshinobu, ofuku(after mizuage,) yakko shimada, kastuyama, and sakka. Traditionally it is a sign of a productive and hard apprenticeship to have a small bald patch from the ornate hair styles. A maiko wears tabi (button socks,) and okobo, high wooden clogs that taper down to half the foot size and are designed to help keep the obi and hem of the kimono off the ground. It also encourages smaller steps as this is considered pretty. Smaller steps make the hem of the kimono billow about as if it were waves of water. Mizuage When a young maiko reaches the age of fourteen plans for her mizuage are made. Two explanations exist for what mizuage really is.
One is the young maiko's virginity is put up for auction. And the highest bidder, wins
The other is a party is planned for the maiko, and the man who pays the most for her party is the one who can take her virginity.
After this a maiko's hairstyle is changed and the fabric in her hair to indicate maturity.
Because of Japanese prostitution laws this no longer happens and the change is made when the maiko turns 18. Erika Turning of the collar. When a maiko officially becomes a geiko, her kimono is changed to kosode, and her collar is changed from red to white. A maiko also stops using her own hair, instead from now on she will wear wigs. And no longer wears okobo, but zori (flipflops,) and her obi is made shorter and tied more simply. The Life of a Geisha In the Geisha world love was seen as an illusion. For if a geisha fell in love her whole career was ruined.
They were to attend parties thrown by business men to show how wealthy and cultured the host was. They were to keep everybody present happy, and make sure that every cup was full. In an Okiiya there was always a more senior geisha. One who provided the most income to support the Okiiya. And because of this the whole household was to make sure that this geisha was happy and ready to leave each night.
This geisha was given the most leeway in the house. She could make life miserable for everyone else in the house, except the Oka-san. She could lie and blame it on a maid, and could get away with it even if the Oka-san knew she was lying. She could build up debts on the other geisha or maiko, and sometimes hurt them and get away with it.
However, no matter how important a geisha was to the Okiiya, no geisha was permitted to have a boyfriend, it would be the end of her career if it were to become known. Okiiyas were entirely matriarchal. The only jobs for men in the geisha world were as dressers, shamisen players, or as hairdressers. Because of this, geisha were the most independent women in Japan. Danna In the geisha world, ine was not considered a successful geisha unless she had a Donna.
A Donna is a man who pays for the geisha's needs. He would supply money for any of the geisha's debts, her kimono, any classes she would take, and her medical expenses; he would bring her gifts regularly, pay more than twice the usual amount for the Geisha's company,pay for anything she might need or want, and in return was the only person a geisha was permitted to have sex with.
He was also the only way a geisha might be able to move out of the Okiiya she was tied to and into her own apartment. Every geisha wanted, needed, a Donna if she hoped to become truly independent. Or else she would remain indebted to her Oka-san forever. Okiiyas were run by a retired geisha who had been the daughter, biological or adopted, of the previous Oka-san.
Most geisha stayed in the geisha world after they retired since their were few jobs for middle aged women. They either became a "mother" of their own teahouse, or taught at the Kaburenjo. Hiki-Iwai When a geisha retires from public a party is thrown in honor of her. This can mean that the geisha has retire formally, quit the life, become too old,getting married, or becoming an Oka-san of a teahouse. The Geisha Aesthetic Geisha are known for their wholly white faces and necks, reds around the nose and eyes, her perfectly drawn eyebrows, and her coiled hair. A geisha first begins by smoothing out her face and eyebrows with a mixture of oil and wax. White make-up is applied over her face and neck, with a section just below her hairline that is left bare, to symbolize vulnerability. She applies red around her nose and eyes, which she then outlines in black. Finishing by drawing her eyebrows in brown The Geisha aesthetic cont'd A geisha visits the hairdresser about once a week. Each time multiple layers of the scalp are scratched away to avoid dandruff and thoroughly cleaned, because they cannot wash their hair except relatively right before they go to have it done. And a wax is combed through their hair to keep it in it the styles.
These coils are then adorned with flowers, ribbons, and combs. Trivia Iki- all Geisha strived to be iki. It was a word that stood for hinting at things rather than make them apparent. To keep things elegant and low-key.
Kangeiko- winter practicing, a young girl would place her hands in ice water until numb and play her shamisen outside until her fingers bled.
At the height of the geisha era, 1920s, there were 80,000 geiko and 106 maiko
In 1999 only 195 geiko and 55 maiko
A geisha's health was the most important, they were busy all day and well into the night and received very little sleep. Bibliography Geisha Districts http://geishaofjapan.com/index.html
slides 7,8,9,13,& 14,22 http://teacher.usi.edu/students/gradstudents/a_b_c/carroll_k/intro%20page.html
slides 4,6,15,16,18,19,20,21,& 23 Because of their hair, geisha had to sleep on bolster-shaped pillows. http://people.howstuffworks.com/geisha5.htm
slides 3,4,5,15,18,20,&21 http://www.angelfire.com/rnb/shizuka/maiko.htm
slides http://www.japan-zone.com/culture/geisha.shtml
Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden Women of the Pleasure Quarters, by Lesley Downer Shamisen Shime Daiko Koto Fue wareshinobu yakko shimada
Used for dance recitals Made to emphasize prettiness of maiko katsuyama Used for dance recitals during the cherry blossum season sakko Used during the maiko's last two months, hair ornaments more subtle but still more daring than a geisha's Geisha aesthetic cont'd Zori Kosode Darari style obi taiko-musubi obi
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