Eine Geisha [ˈgeːʃa] (jap. 芸者, „Person der Künste“) ist eine japanische Unterhaltungskünstlerin, die traditionelle japanische Künste darbietet. Eine Okiya (jap. おきや oder 置屋) bezeichnet das Wohnhaus einer Gemeinschaft von Geishas bzw. Geikos. Das Wort okiya wird auch synonym zur darin. Oiran oder Geisha? Oiran waren Prostituierte in Japan, die oftmals mit Geishas, Unterhaltungsdamen, verwechselt werden. Dieser Artikel klärt. Weiß geschminkte Haut, rote Lippen und elegant hochgestecktes, schwarzes Haar: Das Bild japanischer Geishas in intrikat gearbeiteten. Geisha bedeutet im Japanischen also so viel wie „Person der Künste und der Unterhaltung“. Waren Geishas ursprünglich Männer? Tatsächlich.
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In the present day, some geisha are married and continue to work in their capacity as geisha, despite it being uncommon; these geisha are likely to be based in regions outside of Kyoto, as its ultra-traditionalist geisha districts would be unlikely to allow a married geisha to work.
Geisha have historically been conflated with sex work and commonly confused with sex workers, despite the profession being mostly forbidden from receiving payment for sex since its inception.
Despite this, some geisha have historically engaged in sex work, either through personal choice, or through coercion and at times force.
Nonetheless, the government maintained an official distinction between both professions, arguing that geisha should not be conflated with or confused for sex workers.
Though the law officially maintained a distance between geisha and sex workers, some geisha still engaged in sex work.
Writing in , former geisha Sayo Masuda wrote of her experiences in the onsen town of Suwa, Nagano Prefecture , where she was sold for her virginity a number of times by the mother of her okiya.
Such practices could be common in less reputable geisha districts, with onsen towns in particular being known for their so-called "double registered" geisha a term for an entertainer registered as both a geisha and a sex worker.
In the present day, mizuage does not exist, and apprentices mark their graduation to geisha status with a series of ceremonies and events. Despite this, the modern conflation between geisha and sex workers continues as a pervasive idea, particularly in Western culture.
Sheridan Prasso wrote that Americans had "an incorrect impression of the real geisha world Henshall stated that the job of a geisha included "[entertaining] their customer, be it by dancing, reciting verse, playing musical instruments, or engaging in light conversation.
Geisha engagements may include flirting with men and playful innuendos; however, clients know that nothing more can be expected.
In a social style that is common in Japan, men are amused by the illusion of that which is never to be. In the past, it had been unspoken tradition for an established geisha to take a danna , or patron, who would pay for her expenses, buy her gifts, and engage her on a more personal level - at times involving sex - than a banquet or party would allow.
This would be seen as a sign of the man's generosity, wealth and status, as the expenses associated with being a geisha were relatively high; as such, a danna was typically a wealthy man, sometimes married, who may have been financially supporting the geisha in question through company expenses.
In the present day, it is less common for a geisha to take a danna , purely due to the expenses involved and the unlikelihood that a modern man could support both his household and the cost of a geisha's living.
Nonetheless, it was still common for geisha to retire from the profession in their mid-twenties to live off the support of their patron following the Second World War.
The taking of a patron by a geisha is the closest thing to paid compensation for a personal partnership - whatever that partnership might entail - that a geisha officially engages in today.
During the Allied occupation of Japan , some sex workers, almost exclusively working for the occupying forces in Japan, began to advertise themselves as "geisha girls", due in part to the fact that many foreign soldiers could not tell the difference between a geisha and a woman dressed in a kimono.
These women came to be known commonly as "geesha girls",   a misnomer originating from the language barrier between the armed forces and the sex workers themselves; the term spread quickly, as evidenced by the fact that shortly after their arrival in , it was said that some occupying American GIs congregated in Ginza and shouted "We want geesha girls!
The English term "geisha girl" soon became a byword for any female Japanese sex worker, whether actually selling sex or not; the term was applied to bar hostesses who occupy the role of entertaining men through conversation, not necessarily sex and streetwalkers alike.
Unscrupulous okiya owners would not uncommonly sell an apprentice's virginity more than once to different customers, pocketing the entire fee for themselves with the apprentice herself remaining an apprentice.
During WW2, some sex workers would use this term to refer to their acts with customers, leading to some confusion - particularly when referring to themselves as "geisha" when in the company of foreign soldiers, and sometimes amongst Japanese customers.
Since the s, non-Japanese have also become geisha. While traditionally geisha led a cloistered existence, in recent years they have become more publicly visible, and entertainment is available without requiring the traditional introduction and connections.
All the Kyoto hanamachi hold these annually mostly in spring, with one exclusively in autumn , dating to the Kyoto exhibition of ,  and there are many performances, with tickets being inexpensive, ranging from around yen to yen — top-price tickets also include an optional tea ceremony tea and wagashi served by maiko before the performance.
During this ceremony, geisha and maiko from the Kamishichiken district in northwest Kyoto serve tea to 3, guests. Geisha entertain their guests with a combination of both their hostessing and conversational skills, and their skills in traditional Japanese art forms of dance, music and singing.
Before deciding to begin a career as a geisha, new recruits are generally expected to have an interest in the arts, as well as some experience; however, as geisha numbers have fallen throughout the decades, this is no longer a strict prerequisite.
Some okiya will take on recruits with no previous experience, with some young geisha, despite having existing experience, expected to begin their lessons from the beginning.
Over time, the more exaggerated theatrical styles evolved into the subtle and more stylised form of dancing used today; despite the difference, elements of traditional Japanese dance, such as the use of gestures to tell a story and the symbolism used to represent this, run throughout both as a common feature.
These dances are accompanied by traditional Japanese music. The primary instrument used by geisha to accompany dance is the shamisen , a banjo-like three-stringed instrument played with a plectrum.
Originating in China as the sanxian , it was introduced to Japan through firstly Korea, and then the Ryukyu Islands in the s, obtaining its current form within a century.
The shamisen soon became the mainstay instrument of geisha entertainment in the s. All geisha must learn to play the shamisen , alongside additional instruments that often accompany the shamisen , such as the ko-tsuzumi small shoulder drum and fue flute , during their apprenticeship, as well as learning traditional Japanese dance; however, after graduation to geisha status, geisha are free to choose which art form they wish to pursue primarily.
Some geisha not only dance and play music, but also write poems, paint pictures, or compose music. A geisha's appearance changes symbolically throughout her career, representing her training and seniority.
These constitute changes in hairstyle, hair accessories, and kimono style. Both maiko and geisha wear traditional white foundation known as oshiroi ; this is worn with red and black eye and eyebrow makeup, red lips and light pink blusher.
Both maiko and geisha underpaint their lips with a red lipstick known as beni , but first-year apprentice geisha paint only the lower lip, and wear less black around the eyes and eyebrows than senior maiko.
Younger apprentices may also paint their eyebrows slightly shorter or rounder to emphasise a youthful appearance. Geisha wear more black around the eyes and eyebrows than maiko , and older geisha tend only to wear a full face of traditional white makeup during stage performances or on special occasions; older geisha generally stop wearing oshiroi around the same time they stop wearing hikizuri to parties.
Teeth blackening was once a common practice amongst married women in Japan and the imperial court in earlier times, but is now an extremely uncommon practice.
Geisha and maiko always wear kimono while working, and typically wear kimono outside of work. However, the type of kimono varies based on age, occasion, region and season of the year.
Both maiko and geisha wear the collar on their kimono relatively far back, accentuating for maiko the red collar of the underkimono juban , and displaying for both the two or three stripes of bare skin eri-ashi and sanbon-ashi respectively left just underneath the hairline when wearing oshiroi.
Apprentice geisha wear kimono known as hikizuri. Geisha also wear hikizuri ; however, maiko wear a variety with furisode -style sleeves, with a tuck sewn into either sleeve, and a tuck sewn into each shoulder.
Maiko hikizuri tend to be colourful and highly decorated, often featuring a design that continues inside the kimono's hem.
The style of this kimono varies throughout different regions; apprentices in Kyoto tend to wear large but sparsely-placed motifs, whereas apprentices elsewhere appear in kimono similar to a regular furisode , with small, busy patterns that cover a greater area.
Apprentices wear long, formal obi. For apprentices in Kyoto this is almost always a darari lit. Darari are always worn in a knot showing off the length, whereas apprentices elsewhere wear fukura-suzume and han-dara lit.
When wearing casual kimono in off-duty settings, an apprentice may still wear a nagoya obi , even with a yukata. Geisha wear kimono more subdued in pattern and colour than both regular kimono, and the kimono worn by apprentice geisha.
A geisha always wear a short-sleeved kimono, regardless of occasion, formality, or even her age; however, not all geisha wear the hikizuri type of kimono, as older geisha wear regular formal kimono - with no trailing skirt, dipping collar or offset sleeves - to engagements.
Regional geisha tend to have greater similarities with fellow geisha across the country in terms of appearance. Geisha wear their obi in the nijuudaiko musubi style - a taiko musubi drum knot tied with a fukuro obi ; geisha from Tokyo and Kanazawa also wear their obi in the yanagi musubi willow knot style and the tsunodashi musubi style.
Though geisha may wear hakata ori obi in the summer months, geisha from Fukuoka - where the fabric originates from - may wear it the entire year.
The hairstyles of geisha have varied throughout history. During the 17th century, the shimada hairstyle developed, which became the basis for the hairstyles worn by both geisha and maiko.
When the profession of geisha first came into existence, dress edicts prevented geisha from wearing the dramatic hairstyles worn by courtesans, leading to the subdued nature of most geisha hairstyles.
Geisha, unable to reliably book in with a hairstylist once a week to maintain their hair, began to wear human hair wigs in the shimada style that required restyling far less.
The hairstyles of maiko , still utilising the apprentice's own hair, became wider, placed higher upon the head, and shorter in length. There are five different hairstyles that a maiko wears, which mark the different stages of her apprenticeship.
The nihongami hairstyle with kanzashi hair ornaments are most closely associated with maiko ,  who spend hours each week at the hairdresser and sleep on special pillows takamakura to preserve the elaborate styling.
Maiko in certain districts of Kyoto may also wear additional, differing hairstyles in the run up to graduating as a geisha. In the present day, geisha wear a variety of the shimada known as the tsubushi shimada - a flattened, sleeker version of the taka shimada worn as a bridal wig in traditional weddings.
Though geisha also wear this hairstyle as a wig, it is usually shaped specifically to their face by a wig stylist. Both the hairstyles of maiko and geisha are decorated with hair combs and hairpins kanzashi , with geisha wearing far fewer kanzashi than maiko.
The style and colour of hair accessories worn with some maiko hairstyles can signify the stage of an apprentice's training.
Typical combs and hairpins may be made of tortoiseshell or mock-tortoiseshell, gold, silver and semi-precious stones such as jade and coral.
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Main article: Mizuage. Further information: Oshiroi. Main article: Kimono. Forvo Media. Retrieved 1 June Autobiography of a Geisha.
Translated by Rowley, G. New York: Columbia University Press. Geisha 3rd ed. London: Vintage Random House. Toki Tokyo. New York: Gotham Books.
Liza Dalby. Retrieved 30 May London: PRC. The Vintage News. Retrieved 6 November Japan Zone. Retrieved 18 June In Feldman, Martha; Gordon, Bonnie eds.
The Story of the Geisha Girl. March . Yoshiwara: the glittering world of the Japanese courtesan illustrated ed.
University of Hawaii Press. Test your knowledge of strange human behaviors. Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?
Listen to the words and spell through all three levels. Login or Register. Save Word. Log In. Definition of geisha. Did You Know?
Example Sentences Learn More about geisha. Keep scrolling for more. First Known Use of geisha , in the meaning defined above. Learn More about geisha.
Time Traveler for geisha The first known use of geisha was in See more words from the same year. Traditionally, geisha began their training at a very young age.
Although some girls were sold to become geisha as children, this was not normal practice in hanamachi with good reputation.
The first part of training is called "shikomi". In the past, when girls first arrived at the okiya tea house , they were put to work as maids , or do everything they were told.
The work was difficult, to "make" and "break" the new girls. The most junior shikomi of the house had to wait late into the night for the senior geisha to return from work, sometimes as late as two or three in the morning.
During this stage of training, the shikomi went to classes at the hanamachi's geisha school. In modern times, this stage still exists, but it is not as hard as it was in the past.
When the apprentice became skilled in the geisha arts, and passed a final and difficult dance test , she was promoted to the second stage of training: "minarai".
Minarai did not do the housework anymore. This stage also exists today, but is much shorter than in the past only a month. The minarai learn in the field.
They go to banquets and dance with the geishas, but they do not participate: they just sit, watch and learn from their onee-san older sisters.
Their kimono are more elaborate than even a maiko's, to do the talking for them. After a short time, the third and most famous stage of training begins, called "maiko".
Maiko are apprentice geisha, and this stage can last for years. Maiko learn from their senior geisha and follow them around to every presentation she does.
The onee-san teaches her maiko everything about working in the hanamachi. She will teach her the right ways of serving tea , playing the shamisen , and dancing, and everything about the art of Iki see below.
Maikos have to wear heavy white make-up , elaborate hairstyle , and have her lips painted almost all the time.
Their kimonos and obi have more vibrant colors and richer embroidery than those of full geisha. Like the minarai, maikos do not charge as much money to go to parties or gatherings as a full geisha.
After a period of only six months in Tokyo or five years in Kyoto , the maiko is promoted to a full geisha and charges full price for her time.
Geisha use kimono of fewer colors and only use make-up for work or dance, because she is more mature than a maiko, and the simpler style shows her own natural beauty.
Geisha remain as such until they retire. Geisha must be very skilled at traditional Japanese music, dance, and poetry, because they use all these arts when they work.
The art of make-up, hairstyles, and clothing are very important too. However, the most important principle of a geisha is called Iki.
Oirans wore very elaborate clothes, make-up, and jewelry. Geisha preferred to be discreet , and more intelligent. They created iki as a style that gave more importance to conversation and wit.
Instead of working with sex , like oirans did and simple prostitutes do today, geisha try to be sexy.
A geisha will flirt , tease , and joke with men, but always with art and elegance. Japanese clients know that nothing more can be expected.
Men enjoy the illusion of that which is never to be. Geisha do not have sex with clients for money. Those that do generally act with care usually get married.
Normally, when a geisha marries, she retires from the profession. The most important quality of a geisha is her trustworthiness , especially to Japanese clients.
Anything that her clients do, or tell her, must remain a secret.