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Japanese culture is very unusual for us. One of them, "Geisha Diaries", revealed the nature of an unusual profession.
A geisha in Japan is a woman who is supposed to entertain a client or guest. But the methods used in this and the nature of the relationship can be argued. It is no coincidence that after the release of the American film, a book by a real geisha appeared, who tried to debunk myths and tell the truth about her profession. The plot of the tape was based on an interview with Mineko Iwasaki by Arthur Golden.
But in Japan, the publication of these notes caused a scandal, and Golden was even sued. So who are geisha really? It's time to debunk some of the popular myths about them.
Geisha are professional prostitutes. Golden portrayed Japanese geishas as professional kept women and prostitutes. In fact, their functions were more artistic than sexual. Geisha were dancers and singers who entertained guests with games, threw parties, and allowed them to have fun and fun. The Kyoto geisha's motto is: "We are proud that we show our art and do not stoop to obscenity." Not only did the geisha's duties not include the provision of sexual services, but it was generally prohibited by the law of the Tokugawa shogunate in the 18th century. It was at this time that the female profession itself arose. And the expression "turn the hem to the left", meaning to become a geisha, has become synonymous with morality and modesty. Women of this profession, unlike courtesans, held their kimono with their left hand. The fact that the ban on prostitution in Japan in 1956 did not affect the activities and way of life of geisha looks eloquent. The myth itself was formed after the Second World War. Then American troops were sent to the devastated Japan. Many girls had to start selling their bodies in order to survive. To increase their status and price, they began to call themselves geishas. So in America the word came to mean a prostitute.
Geishas could have many patrons or partners. Usually geisha had a permanent patron, a patron in our view. Throughout his life he could be one and rarely two people. Often, but not always, he was the woman's de facto husband and they had children in common. But there were times when a geisha never entered into an intimate relationship with her patron. The relationship was not supposed to.
Geisha mastered the art of sex. In fact, the geisha was not taught this, they did not need the ability to deliver intimate joy to the client at all. This was told by that same Mineko Iwasaki, the highest paid representative of the profession in the last century. The secret of success was quite different. No wonder the geisha's motto reads: "Shine with happiness!" Mastery of supernatural sex techniques is complete fiction. In modern "geisha schools" around the world, female students are taught to control their intimate muscles. But this technique did not originate in Japan, almost all women in Indochina owned it. You can remember at least the famous sex shows in Thailand. In this region, the anatomical features of the body of many women are such that they need to learn how to control their intimate muscles. This will help make labor easier. And girls are taught this skill almost from the cradle.
The virginity of geisha was sold at auction. Arthur Golden even described such a procedure in his book, calling it mizuage. The author said that a similar custom was among the students of tayu and oiran - komuro. When they acquired certain skills in their future profession and grew up, their virginity was sold to the client who paid more. The geisha actually had a similar ritual, but they did not trade in virginity. The girl was made a woman with the help of a special man. He was attractive, mature, but not old. And the whole ceremony lasted 7 days. Such a ceremony was held long ago, when the tayu and oiran customs were still in vogue. But this procedure has not been applied for 150-200 years. Now geisha students, having parted with innocence, simply change their hairstyle.
Geisha sometimes blacken their teeth on purpose. This tradition did exist in Japan, but it was widespread. Here the teeth were painted black, demonstrating their loyalty to something or someone. The emperor abolished the tradition by his decree, but the independent tayu and oiran continued to do so. After the prohibition of prostitution, they began to engage in the same craft as geisha, but retained some of their traditions. So the confusion began, and the habits of melting began to be attributed to geishas. But initially the professions were different.
Geisha wear wigs. This statement, if true, is only partially true. So, students, maiko, wear wigs, but from their own hair. And the geisha themselves wear wigs only at official events. And even then, it happens because of an unexpected invitation, when there is no time to make a beautiful hairstyle. 100-150 years ago, geisha did not like to wear wigs at all. And then they were very expensive, which was simply not affordable. Geisha hairstyles are very complex, they have to be done for a long time and it is difficult to then wear them safely on their heads. It is no coincidence that poor women slept for weeks with a special neck support to preserve their spectacular hair. But at present, girls are no longer ready to make such sacrifices and sometimes resort to using wigs.
Geisha have been in actual slavery all their lives. Those geisha who managed to achieve success bought themselves out of the okiya (home) and started their own business. Yes, and the institutions were headed by former geisha, showing at the same time efficiency and acumen. These places in primordially patriarchal Japan were unusual islands of matriarchy. Men were allowed here either as clients or as servants. But all were run by women. Interestingly enough, geisha are considered to be a symbol of female obedience and passivity, living toys for wealthy men. But the representatives of this profession themselves consider themselves the most emancipated and advanced women.
The geisha house was a brothel. Okiya has nothing to do with a brothel. Besides, geisha do not accept their guests here and do not entertain them. Even the father of a girl living here can only be in the living room. The only exception is for servants and priests. And meetings with clients take place in tea houses, ochay.
Geisha is a female profession. The word itself is translated from Japanese as a man of art. It is worth noting that it is not a woman, but a man. It turns out that there were also male geisha in the history of Japan. Moreover, the profession itself was originally male. During the period of the fighting kingdoms in the XV-XVI centuries, the profession of otogisu appeared. These men under the generals told military stories, tales, kept up the conversation. But with the establishment of peace and stability, the profession was not in demand. Then many otogishu took refuge next to courtesans, entertaining wealthy clients and guests. Sometimes they even gave advice to merchants. Such men began to be called geisha, hoka (intermediary) or taykomochi. The last two terms are still used today. And the first female taykomochi appeared at a party in one of Kyoto's brothels in 1751, which became a noisy event. And by 1780 there were more geisha women than men.
Male geisha were common transvestites. In Japan, transvestite boys were nicknamed kagema. In contrast, male taykomochi did not dress up in women's clothes, they wore their hair and the usual men's suit.
Geisha wear bright clothes. Geisha students, maiko, can wear bright outfits. He believes that the abundance of red, decorations and colorful details indicate the inexperience and youth of the girl. These novice geisha are still naive, not smart enough and educated. It is with the help of the outfit that they attract attention to themselves. But an adult geisha is an experienced and confident woman who doesn't need a colorful outfit. She captivates with her art.
Geisha remained in the Middle Ages. Back in the 1920s, there were more than 10 thousand representatives of this profession in Japan. Currently, there are much fewer of them - only about a thousand, but they do exist. True, tourists in Japan see actors in disguise more often than real geisha.