A Look at the Geisha Entertainment Industry in Japan
By: Oxana Tsirelman, Online Editor
Tokyo is home to a melting pot of ancient traditions. One of the most exotic and intriguing traditions is that of the geisha.
Geisha are women who train all their lives to become professional entertainers. They begin training at a young age by building fine arts skills including traditional Japanese dance, singing, playing instruments. Elegant performances are a global attraction, which is extremely profitable to the Japanese entertainment industry. There is currently an estimate of around 2,000 working Geishas, but in the 1920’s there were a staggering 80,000 Geishas available for entertainment.
Geisha’s are also available to tourists or first-timers, not strictly meant for higher class Japanese citizens.
In Japan, geishas and trainees commonly live in geisha houses, otherwise known as okiya houses, where they also train and prepare for work. Geishas are divided according to their fine arts practices. Tachikata is one form of geisha that traditionally practices dance while jikata primarily sing or play instruments.
Geisha districts are commonly known as hanamachi or kagai. In fact, in Kyoto alone, there are five hanamachi. Popular geisha districts are also situated in Kanazawa, Atami-city, Niigata-city, as well as in some parts of Tokyo like Asakusa and Kagurazaka.
“There are usually ochaya in geisha districts. They are a sort of banquet houses which rent rooms for parties where geisha entertain customers. Ochaya are small Japanese-style houses with wooden doors, tatami floors, and so on” says columnist Shizuko Mishima.
“Having a party in ochaya or inviting geisha to entertain at Japanese ryotei (high-class traditional Japanese restaurants) have been considered as pleasures for rich and high class people. The cost for a party with geisha varies depending on the number of geisha, food, drink, hours, and so on,” adds columnist Shizuko Mishima.
Geisha’s are also available to tourists or first-timers, not strictly meant for higher class Japanese citizens. In fact, recognized Japanese inns, hotels and restaurants in cities have geisha districts where geisha parties are prevalent. Word of advice: be sure to make an inquiry to the hotels you choose to stay in! Tours that consist of dinner or lunch with geisha provide big bucks. After all, “To see gorgeous performances of geisha, visiting one of geisha shows, such as Miyako Odori in Kyoto is a good idea.”
Never underestimate the power of a geisha, for they offer enchanting performances that you will never forget and will leave you begging for more.
Business News with BITE.
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