The History of Geisha

Topics: Geisha, Dance, Kimono Pages: 2 (357 words) Published: May 9, 2013
The history of Geisha

What is a Geisha?
A Geisha is person of the art in Japanese. They are entertainers who spend a large amount of time sharpening their craft. Many people think that Geisha are prostitutes. High-class courtesans called the oiran in the Edo period could be confused with Geisha as they had the same makeup and hairstyles. Geisha partly grew out of the oiran, genuine Geisha are not courtesans. They are employed for their skills in traditional Japanese musical instruments, dancing, singing, tea ceremonies, and literature.

The Geisha Make-up and Clothing
Makeup and clothing is very important to a Geisha. They use a thick white substance called bintsuke-abura for their face paint. Geisha always paint their lips bright red and eyebrows are lined in red and black. They wear traditional kimonos depending on the season. Apprentice geishas known as maikos wear 12 to 15 layer kimonos. When they go out, Geisha wear flat soled-sandals or clogs called getas. Sometimes they wear perfumes for performances.

How a Girl Becomes a Geisha
To become a Geisha, a girl undergoes training which usually starts when she turns 16. She moves into a Geisha house and goes through different stages of training. At the beginning, she is a shikomi, then a minarai. As she develops, she becomes a maiko and finally, a full Geisha.This takes about six years.

Geisha Training
Geisha training is very confusing. These girls must study how to dance and speak perfectly, entertain a room of customers, dress perfectly, and how to perform elegant ceremonies. A shikomi, a girl takes dance lessons for six months. A minarai spends most of her time observing the Geisha and learning from them, like applying white makeup. Once this period is over, a large ceremony called the misedashi takes place where the girl is appears as a maiko, which can last many years. During this time, she begins going out to tea houses and practicing everything she has learned. When a maiko reache the age...
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