Geisha

Geisha Theme

Google · Zerochan

Tagged under Kimono, Females, Japanese Terms.

In Japanese society, geisha are female entertainers who act as hostesses, using various skills such as dancing, music, games, and conversation to entertain their (usually male) customers. A lot of emphasis is put on the classical arts, though, and geisha should not be confused with women working in modern hostess bars. Geisha always wear kimono and the traditional shimada hairstyle -- a type of bun hairstyle worn by most established geisha -- which is usually adorned with elaborate hair-combs and hairpins (kanzashi).

Apprentices that have not yet completed their training are called maiko ("dance child") or hangyoku ("half-jewel"); historically, the training period spanned several years and included multiple stages, though it has been shortened significantly in modern times and girls now start their training later, in their teens. Nowadays, their apprenticeship consists of a one-month period of observation alongside their mentor, and several years of learning skills useful for the trade (serving tea, playing instruments like the shamisen, dancing, conversing etc.).

The outfits worn by maiko are significantly more elaborate and colorful than the ones worn by full-fledged geisha. The colorful kimono showing the nape of the neck, which is painted white, is a very popular element of Japanese tourism and often associated with geisha. Maiko also tend to wear kanzashi far more often than geisha do, and have to take special precautions to preserve the elaborate hairstyle (including frequent and lengthy visits to hairdressers, and sleeping on a specially-shaped pillow).

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