The Geisha Mystery

We delve into the beautiful enigma that is the geisha. We try to lift some of the misconceptions about this artistic subculture that even the Japanese find mysterious. Let’s see them first for what they really are: traditional entertainers that act as hostesses well versed in the arts of classical music, dance, games and conversation. Their focus is mainly to entertain male customers.

These ladies spend years learning to play various musical instruments, honing their singing talents, perfecting their dancing to a fine art and also how to be the perfect hostess at parties for men. They are definitely trained hard to be the perfect lady of the arts, and their make-up clothing, hair, manners are honed to cater to man’s fantasy of the perfect woman.

Geisha have a structure. They are each under contract to an Okiya (geisha house), which is run by an Oka-san (meaning mother). It is important for a geisha to keep up her relationship and status at the Okiya.

Geisha’s are like minor idols in their area in a sense since there are many geisha otaku (geisha nerds) and it is not uncommon for a geisha nerd in let’s say Kyoto that can recall the name of every geisha in the city! Another interesting fact is that most geisha otaku are women.

It is sad to think that many Westerners think that they are prostitutes. Sex has nothing to do with the geisha subculture. They do not sell sex, only artful entertainment. A geisha’s sole purpose is to entertain with music, dance, singing, story telling and flirting. Geisha is a totally intellectual subculture that is greatly respected.

In popular culture there is a movie called Memoirs of a Geisha that opened many Westerners’ eyes to the sub culture. In the anime Samurai Seven one of the samurai lives in a geisha house and anime such as Tactics there are some episodes that touch lightly on geisha.

If you want to read more on this fascinating subculture, please follow this link:

Here is a beautiful art video on geisha and sakura blossoms, please follow the link:

Here is the snow dance scene from the movie Memoirs of a Geisha. Please follow the link to have a look: