All about the art of a geisha

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All about the art of a geisha

All about the art of a geisha

Geisha have been portrayed in American pop culture frequently, from the fashion world to Hollywood. However, a lot of people are unaware of the history behind this Japanese art.

Being a geisha, which translates to "a person of the arts," is not an easy job. One hundred years ago, in order to become a geisha, girls trained for years, taking classes on music, dancing, tea ceremony, and conversation. Back then, 80,000 geisha were in Japan. Today, only 2,000 women devote their lives to the art.

"Everybody knows that to become a ballet dancer takes an incredible amount of training, and obviously a geisha is the same," Fiona Graham, the only white woman ever to become a geisha in Japan, tells Oprah.com. Graham first immersed herself in the culture while producing a documentary, however, she ended up falling in love with the occupation and decided to stay.

Today, geisha are responsible for hospitality and entertainment within the Japanese culture. Duties range from pouring tea to dancing. A common misconception is that geisha are Japanese prostitutes, however this is far from true. A big part of the geisha allure is the costumes which the women wear. Although Graham typically is paid a starting fee of around $350 for each engagement, most of the money goes to purchasing hand-woven kimonos, which sell for thousands of dollars.

"I think the geisha is the Japanese ideal of the perfect woman in many ways, and it's a kind of makeup and kimono," Graham says. "It's been perfected over 400 years, and it is breathtakingly beautiful to see a geisha in full regalia for the first time."

If you want to experience Japanese culture first-hand, be sure to check out all of our Japan tour packages.

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