How to distinguish a geisha from a student and priestess of love

How to distinguish a geisha from a student and priestess of love

Kumi Yasukawa, Wikimedia The Japanese are known for their passion for details, which could reveal almost everything about a person, from marital status to social status. With their help, it was easy for a connoisseur to distinguish people of lower rank from the aristocracy, including real geishas from priestesses of love and students. The “subtleties” found out how, with one glance at a woman, one could understand whether she was a geisha – and once again marveled at what kind of entertainers the Japanese are. No. 3.

Who are all these people

In Japan, women whose job is to entertain men are divided into two categories. Most tourists are familiar only with geishas. This name translates as “man of art” and means a woman or a man who entertains the audience with dances, songs, playing musical instruments and conversations – in general, anything but carnal pleasures. Geishas have apprentices, maiko, who are also not allowed to have intimate relationships with clients.

For carnal pleasures in Japan there are yujo – “pleasure women”. Some of them are called oiran: they work in special establishments, some are called onsen-geisha, they offer love for money at hot springs.

How do the Japanese distinguish one from the other?


The first thing you should pay attention to is the kimono that the Japanese charmer is wearing. Is it monochromatic, of soothing shades, covered with paintings, does the collar look pure white, without embroidery, and is the belt tied in a complex knot at the back? So, in front of you is a geisha. A geisha apprentice, a maiko, will have a similar outfit, only the fabric will be cheaper and the collar will be either pure red or white, but with embroidery. The yujo are the most colorful kimonos in Japan. At the same time, they are not painted, but three-dimensional or woven embroidery. Over the kimono, courtesans usually wear a cape embroidered with gold threads. The key point is the belt: it is always tied in front either with a simple knot (lower yujo rank) or in the shape of a heart.


Shoes also betray a Japanese beauty with a head. Maiko apprentices wear wooden sandals on a high solid platform and have white short socks on their feet. Geishas have a platform not solid, but in the form of benches, and not very high. White socks are also a constant attribute.

Yujo wear black wooden sandals on a higher platform than geisha and maiko, usually not solid. And they never wear socks, but they whiten their feet. It is believed that in this way they slightly lower their rank in front of customers.


Only by the make-up of geisha, maiko, yujo, it is difficult to distinguish from each other. All these beauties can have equally densely whitened faces, eyeliner, brightly painted lips. True, geisha over time completely refuse such makeup and leave a natural complexion. According to the insignia on the back of the head – unpainted strips of skin – it is also difficult to distinguish a geisha from a yujo. For both, three or two stripes may be left unbleached. But it is the yujo courtesans who can completely paint over this part of the neck.


The principle of “the more fancy, the lower the status” in Japan applies to hairstyles as well. The easiest way to style hair is geisha. They comb their hair back and tie it into a high bun. By the way, geisha are allowed to wear wigs, but maiko must make hairstyles from their own hair. Experienced geisha have the fewest decorations in their hair: one plain comb in front and a pair of large hairpins in the back.

Maiko students in their early years wear the intricate wareshinob hairstyle, which has a red ribbon woven into the back, dividing the bun into two parts. Maiko has a lot of jewelry in her hair: paper ribbons, hairpins with flowers, pendants, large beads. With the increase in the rank of the student, the decorations become less and less.

The Yujo also decorate their hair profusely, sometimes looking like elaborate headdresses rather than real hair. A distinctive attribute of courtesans is long flat hairpins sticking out of the hairstyle in different directions in the manner of rays.


We indicated the correct answer at the very beginning of the text, at the end of the first paragraph :)

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