Memoirs of the Real Geisha
The geisha is a largely misunderstood position, but due to their quiet nature and secretive training, that really is no surprise at all.
Translated as “artist” or “artisan,” geisha are often mistakenly thought to be prostitutes since their job traditionally involves entertaining men. In reality, their job consists of being a super hostess, able to converse over a wide range of topics, dance, perform music, play games, and pour tea or alcoholic drinks.
Historically, the concept of a geisha does have its roots in a profession that at times involved sex. During a tumultuous period in Japan’s history in the 600s, many families were displaced, so young women would turn to serving and entertainment to make a living; called saburuku, some of these women also engaged in sexual services. From this, however, arose the profession of a geisha or high class entertainer, and by the 1800s, an established and respected geisha culture was in full swing.
But what does it take to become a geisha? Though we associate them with being tokens of a bygone age, geisha still exist today and many young women are brought into the profession. But what’s going on behind the closed doors?
Learn their secrets…
A Sexual History
The fact that many people mistakenly believe the role of a geisha to be sexual is understandable given the history of the profession.
Female performers were highly prized beginning in early medieval Japan, and this performance art gradually gave way to pleasure houses that often mixed pure entertainment with sexual favors. In fact, in many areas, prostitution was illegal except for in designated pleasure centers. But as glamour, beauty, and entertainment became more important, the new profession of women especially gifted at hosting and entertaining was born. The geisha as we know them today originated between 1650 and 1750.
However, the first woman to call herself a geisha was a prostitute from Fukagawa.
Where the Boys Are
When you think of a geisha, chances are you think of a beautifully dressed, made-up, and coiffed woman.
As it turns out, the first geisha were men, and there are still male geisha today.