mardi 1 mars 2011

Who want to be a Geisha ?!

Geisha are talented Japanese women who patiently went through extensive training. Since there aren’t many people who want to endure the hard training necessary to become a geisha, the number of geisha is decreasing. The number of geisha is estimated as being between 1,000 and 2,000 in Japan. A geisha usually belongs to an okiya house where geisha trainees and young geisha live and prepare for work. The head woman (okami) of an okiya looks after geisha who belong to her okiya. Young girls who wish to become geisha are usually introduced to okiya through someone who has a connection to the okiya. You could directly make inquries to okiya whether or not they are recruiting geisha trainees.
Okami interview girls with their parents, explaining how the training goes. When an okami accepts a girl as an apprentice to her okiya, the girl begins her training, living in the okiya.

Once a girl becomes a geisha trainee, she can’t quit for 5 to 6 years. While helping with the chores and errands of the house, the girl learns customs and social skills and begins music and dance lessons. After about a half-year, she becomes a young geisha called maiko (15-20 year old girls). Maiko wear a colorful kimono with long sleeves and high wooden shoes.

A maiko girl accompanies a geisha on her appointments to get to know the customers at first. Usually, when a maiko becomes 20 years old, she decides whether she will quit or become a geisha. If a maiko decides to become a geisha, the ceremony called “erigae” (literally means changes of collars) is held. When geisha women get married, they need to quit the job.

If you want to be made up as geisha in Japan, there are many shops that offer the service and take photographs. It’s a popular attraction for travelers in Kyoto. The cost starts of about $60. Please make an appointment before you go. See Geisha Makeover in Kyoto/Tokyo.


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