In the old days, a girl could be sold to a geisha by parents who were in dire need of money. Today, girls come to this profession only of their own free will. Both before and now, learning the craft of a geisha cost a large amount, but popular geishas managed to pay off the debt fairly quickly. Often, danna, a patron, helped them in this. Its presence during the formation of geisha culture was mandatory. Not now.
Do this, do that
The main task of a geisha, no matter what status she has reached, has always been to entertain guests with the arts: playing traditional musical instruments and dancing, as well as conversation. A geisha is a kind of hostess of the evening, an accordion player and a host rolled into one: she directs the course of the evening, makes sure that none of the guests is bored, can sit down with someone to keep the conversation going, conducts a tea ceremony, which becomes real in her performance. art. Geishas are constantly engaging guests in simple games like our Rock, Paper, Scissors. This helps to defuse the situation, make the rest carefree – and this is what important men who order geishas for their evenings usually lack. Different geisha may have different specializations: someone is strong in dancing, someone in playing musical instruments. Based on this, the customer can choose a geisha whose set of skills will be more interesting to his guests. Usually several geisha with different talents are invited to the evening.
A geisha is a kind of hostess of the evening, an accordionist and a toastmaster all rolled into one.
At all times, geishas were chosen as escorts to events. And if earlier it was mainly receptions and visits to theaters, today a geisha can even be called just to a restaurant – or at least to a meeting of classmates, if the client has enough money to pay for the time that the geisha will spend with him. In the 16th and 19th centuries, geisha always had to wear exceptionally special kimonos. Now, if the client so desires, a geisha can be asked to wear a modern evening dress. In addition, tight makeup, the main feature of which was a heavily whitened face, is also becoming a relic of the past. Many geisha, especially high-status and aged, use a minimum of cosmetics.
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Today, there are only about a thousand geisha in Japan, although once their number reached 80,000. There are also men in this profession, but there are only a couple of them. They do the same hair and make-up as female geisha, but they no longer joke obscenely, like the founders of the profession.
Most often, modern geisha can be seen at private parties, at big holidays, where they demonstrate their art (there are usually peculiar trainees, experienced students – maiko, and not the geisha themselves) , at international receptions, including at the level of heads of state. Geisha are the symbol of Japan and they do their best to keep this high status unsullied.