Who are the geishas in Japanese culture?
Who are the geisha, today, perhaps, many knowand outside of Japan. Although in most cases they have only approximate ideas. Someone thinks of them as glorified courtesans, capable of capturing men with elegant entertainment and sensual pleasures. They put on white make-up and dress in a bright kimono.
In fact, this is far from the case, but I must say,that misconceptions were often actively supported by people who managed to come into contact with this phenomenon in Japanese culture. Suffice it to recall the images described by Arthur Golden in his novel "Memoirs of a Geisha".
But to be honest, not every modern Japanese is able to give a detailed answer to the question of who are the geisha. Not everyone has ever seen them at all.
First of all, it's a profession. Like all nouns in the Japanese language, this word does not have singular and plural variants, it consists of two kanji: "gay" is a person (performer), "xia" is art.
The Institute of Traditional Performers began to develop in the mid-eighteenth century in the so-called "pleasure quarters" in the major cities of Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto). At that time, the questionAbout,who such a geisha, was easier to answer. They were men, a kind of entertainers who were invited to entertain clients who came to the courtesans, music and jokes. Gradually, they were replaced by dancers, called "geyko" (Kyoto dialect). They were more successful and popular.
This term is still used forto a girl in a senior profession, but also to distinguish an artist practicing traditional art from a prostitute who mimics some of the secrets of a geisha (attire, make-up, name). The student is called "maiko" ("dancing child"). It is characterized by white make-up, a complex hairstyle, a bright kimono - those elements from which the stereotype of the image in the West developed.
The training of the profession begins in a very earlyage. In past times, some poor people sold girls to the okia ("institutional home"), who were in the areas of khanamati ("city of flowers") in order to provide them with a relatively prosperous future. Later, this practice disappeared, and the Japanese geishas began to educate their close people (daughters, nieces) as successors.
In modern times, most of them alsolive in traditional houses, especially during the training period. Except for some experienced and very popular artists who prefer complete independence in life and career. Girls who have decided to devote themselves to the profession, begin training after graduating from high school or college. They study literature, play instruments such as shamisen, shyukuchi, drums, perform traditional songs and dances, and conduct tea ceremonies. According to many, Kyoto is the place where the cultural traditions of these artists are strong. People who understand who geisha are, invite them to participate in various celebrations in special restaurants ("rtay"). The entire procedure is purely formal, starting with the order of the performers through the office of their union.