Travel Inspirations & Experiences

Geishas haven’t said their last word

Moon On Earth
Geishas, are they really on their way to disappear in Japan?

Not so sure. Regarding the numbers of records, geishas are certainly more and more rare. Only 3,000 in Japan and just 500 in Kyoto (in the famous Gion area).

Remember that the job of “geisha” which means “person of the arts”, was, per se, officially recognized by a decreed shogun in 1700 and learning the art is done at an early age in a specialized school . Today, this job is declining: girls who want to become a geisha face opposition from their families who often see it in an unfavorable light as a career choice. Once a parental barrier is lifted, they’re then faced with the challenging stage of learning it. In fact, one can become a “maiko”, an apprentice at the age of 12 years old. A selection is made after judgment of their artistic abilities. A future geisha must excel in traditional arts such as dance, singing and playing a musical instrument. The girls live together in school, far from their families. This disciplinary teaching is difficult and harder and harder to bind, the selection is demanding, school is expensive and debts students for years. All these constraints lead some of these girls confronted at the harshness of reality, to give up their childhood dream at the end of the training. But geishas haven’t completely disappeared and the tendency may even be reversed by the internet.
The digital revolution has allowed some accessibility to train and revaluate the profession. Young Japanese now surf the web to gather information or contacts they need. Thanks to the distribution of knowledge on the internet, a whole new wave of girls are attracted by the art of geishas. When modern technology is at the service of tradition …

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