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What Is a Geisha?

The word geisha refers to Japanese women who are very skilled in traditional culture particularly traditional Japanese dance and songs. The word geisha means person of the arts referring to the carefully trained girls in the ancient Kyoto and in many parts of Japan. However, the large concentration of geishas is in Kyoto, the old capital of Japan.

Geishas are trained while they are young. They usually lived in an okiya, a house owned by a senior geisha or a former geisha. Once accepted in an okiya, they are bound to follow very strict code of conduct and their actions are being monitored to perfection. Their acceptance in the okiya is actually a loaned act. They have to pay the okiya owner when they themselves are already earning their money as geishas. While geishas are on training, they are taught to perfect how to play the traditional musical instrument of Japan called shamisen. They are also taught how to play other instruments such as flute and drum. Mastering the tea ceremony is also a must. When the geisha is big enough, she will become an apprentice of another senior Geisha. She will be trained on how to entertain people with wit and how to pour sake properly. The geisha can also have a patron or a danna who can support her financially and be able to free from her debts in the okiya. It should be noted however, that geishas are not prostitutes, they are professional entertainers who are equipped with the skills in entertaining people as well as the traditional skills of Japanese arts.

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