Conclusion!

This is my final post of Geishaology. In this post, I am going to write about classes about Geisha. Through more than 10 classes, we students could study a lot about Geisha.

 

In 1stclass, that was the first time we met each other、and teacher told us about what we study in this class. In 2ndclass, we watched a movie about Geisha trainee, and learn about their training process. In 3rdclass, we lerned about life of Geisha in older years watching movie. In 4thclass, we learned about flower and willow world – city, country, port, hot springs geisha districts. In 5thclass, we learned KOUTA MUSIC, geisha music and performance. In 6thclass, we learned about history of Geisha. The class is very interesting for me, and I thought I would like to study about it more. In 7thclass, we learned about makeup and kimono. It was also interesting, because I found the big difference from now. In 8thclass, we watched an actual geisha dance. In this class, we actually went to “Shinbashienbujyou” and had a good time. In 9thclass, we learn about foreign views of geisha. In addition to these class, we experienced Hangyokuhenshin and geisha banquet. In hangyokuhenshin class, we went to monzennakatyou, Tokyo, and help female students’ Hangyokuhenshin. After that, we went out to a shrine and took many pictures. It was so fun. Besides this class, we went to geisha banquet in Gokurakuji, Kanagawa. It was first time for me to experience geisha banquet. We could eat Japanese traditional foods and could appreciate the real geisha arts. We were fascinated by them so much.

 

Overall, we could learn about a lot of things about Geisha systematically, comprehensively, and effectively. Especially, practical class was very interesting for me. I think it was really good experience for me.I would like to show my appreciation to Sayukisensei.

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How to call Geisha

Hello! I’m shumpei. Today, I’m going to explain the way to call Geisha, especially Sayukisensei and her trainees.

 

In the past, every customer need to be introduced to Geisha by regular customer. However, now you can call them without any introduction especially if you call sayukisensei. If you tell them budgets and the numbers of people, they will plan for you. There are two ways to call them.

 

1: When you are in Asakusa

 

The price is about 15000~20000yen including everything. However, it changes depending on the number of customers. If there are more than 10 people, you can enjoy with lower price. Basically, the more customers there are, the lower cost you pay for. If you come Asakusa, you can see beautiful Japanese building and Geisha, and can enjoy great Japanese food. It will be good experience for you. In addition to this, you can call them abroad.

 

2: When you are not in Asakusa

 

Geisha from Asakusa as well as Sayukisensei can go everywhere. It would be happy if the place is appropriate to call Geisha.The fee for each geisha is about 40000yen and transportation expense. Geisha will not eat dinner there, so you don’t need to pay for it.

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Summary and Conclusion

Hello! Rena’s back again. I regret to say that this is gonna be my last post on LinkedIn as geishaology activities. In this post, I’m going to conclude what I have learned from my activities through posting LinkedIn and other classes of geishaology.

<Why I decided to take geishaology>
The reason why i decided to take this geishaology class is that I’m interested in Japanese culture as a Japanese but I didn’t know much about it and I’ve never experienced geisha banquet nor meeting geisha. I wanted to gain a little more knowledge about geisha themselves and geisha culture. But acutually, I didn’t know that lecturer was a real geisha, moreover the first foreigner geisha!

<Our aims>
We intended to send out true information about Geisha culture and correct misunderstandings or wrong knowledge. Also we wanted to attract more attention from overseas.

<What I did on LinkedIn>
I posted some articles about geisha and some geisha related information on LinkedIn in order to gain more attention from people to geisha. Also by attaching some photos, I think I could show you some more detailed images. Information or impression about geisha that people usually have is sometimes wrong and false, therefore telling the truth about geisha was also one of my work.

<Conclusion>
Through this activities, I was astonished by the number of views and reactions. I’m really grateful to all of viewers for reading my posts. As I wrote, there’re many misunderstandings about geisha and problems geisha facing such as fake geisha, but I think hopefully that karyuukai will flourish more and more in the future.
Thanks again for following our activities! Bye!

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Self Q&A about geisha

Hi everyone! This’s Rena. Today, I tried doing a self Q&A about geisha because I thought that there’re so many questions that people have about geisha and I want to resolve those questions. Let’s get started!

Q. Is geisha only woman?
A. No! There’re so many male geisha, and who are professional to play some instruments. But geishas who dresses up and does makeup as you know are all female.

Q. Do geisha prostitute?
A. I think this is the biggest misunderstanding, but I want to say it’s definitely NOT. Of course it’s banned by laws in Japan and they’re literally just entertainers.

Q. Is there any age limitation to become a geisha?
A. There is no age limitation but basically 15-20 years old girls become trainees. If you are over 20, you don’t need to start from a trainee but straight to geisha.

Q. Isn’t 白塗り(white) makeup harmful to their faces??
A. Yes it actually hurts their skins so they put solid oil all over their faces and necks before whiten those areas. It protects their skin from damages.

My Q&A finished now and It was fun to do! I hope that this would be useful for you, and if so, I’m really grad!  Thanks for reading, the next post is gonna be my last post so stay tuned!

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Brief Introduction to Geisha Banquets

Hello, Everyone! This is Joohyoung. This time, I would like to briefly introduce about the geisha banquets.

Geisha banquets are usually held in the teahouses, and the clients and geishas interact through conversations, traditional performances including dancing and music, small games, and so on. During the banquets, geishas will not serve the foods, as it is role for others. Also, they will not eat or drink, although they will drink if their clients asked them to do so. Their main role is to entertain their clients and to lighten up the atmosphere.

As many people would know, geisha world is very closed to outsiders, and geisha banquets are no different. If you have never attended geisha banquets or have no relation to the geishas or teahouses, you will have hard time even making a reservation. “ichigensan okotowari” is the symbol of the closed nature of the geisha world. It means first-time customers are not accepted, and as its meaning suggests, new customers would have hard time trying to make a reservation for a banquet. Also, there are many unspoken rules that clients are expected to follow, such as wearing formal clothes, and not taking off their socks. In addition, clients are encouraged to call geishas as ‘onee-san,’ which means sister.

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The Day at the Geisha Banquet

Hello Everyone! This is Joohyoung. This time, I would like to introduce the geisha banquet experience that I had recently.

On June 17th, me and my classmates were given an opportunity to participate in actual geisha banquet in beautiful and traditional area of Kamakura. It was a bit far away from where I live in Tokyo, took me about 1.5 hours by car. However, I would say that the experience definitely paid for it. We went to old Okiya with some history; it was built in Taisho era, and the building has stayed that way for long time, with only minor modifications such as electrical outlets, which people can’t live without nowadays.

As soon as we got there, the place was already ready with two tables set for each person, one for the food and the other for drink. The food was traditional Japanese style food, and although I don’t have extensive knowledge or experience with Japanese food, it sure looked and tasted very nice and authentic. After we had our meals, we watched as geishas and hangyokus did their performance. It included playing instruments and dancing, and they were really taking it seriously, despite the only people who watched the performance being college students. I was impressed by their skill and precision, and how passionate they were about what they were doing. We were also taught how to do some dance moves, and it was really fun experience. Customers are also able to drink Japanese rice wine, Sake, and play small games with geisha to get to know each other.

I would like to introduce to you some of the geishas and hangyokus who work with Sayuki-sensei.

Aya-oneesan is a senior geisha who helps dance classes for the trainees, and she is very skilled.

Tazusa-san is one of the hangyokus, and her specialty is shamisen, a traditional Japanese string instrument. She is also good at drums. She performed music during the banquet.

Sachika-san is another hangyoku who is working with Sayuki-oneesan, and her specialty is dancing. She performed dance during the banquet. Another notable thing is that she is working as hangyoku while attending university at the same time.

This was my first geisha banquet experience, and I am glad that I went to the banquet as it is one of the most memorable event while I stayed in Japan. I hope more people would have the opportunity to experience real geisha banquets.

 

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The Problem Geisha Industry Faces

Geisha is a very Japanese culture and unique in its nature. It is also a tradition that has continued over hundreds of years, and it is still standing. However, it is sad to find out that the geisha industry is on decline from past few decades. The number of geishas has been declining sharply, and even some of the oldest teahouses had been tear down. Nowadays, there are only few geisha districts left in Japan. There are many problems that geisha industry faces, such as spread of wrong information, more competitions in market, and change of their customers.

One of the biggest problem that the industry faces is the spread of false information, since there are some who would like to take advantage over it. If you open up google and search ‘geisha experience’ or ‘geisha banquet’, you would find hundreds of results including many tour agencies advertising to people to book their ‘geisha banquets’. However, it is clear to spot that they are not authentic. The price is way too low for a genuine geisha banquets, and above all, it is very unlikely that the teahouses will take reservation for first-time, foreign customers. However, it may be difficult for foreigners to realize those are not real geisha experiences, and tour agencies, or Airbnb’s ‘experiences’ often take advantage of it. However, this will end up providing fake experience to people and spread false information, which is not helping the geisha industry.

Also, over time, customers are given more choices than geisha banquets if they want to find a place to drink and socialize, and those options are, in most cases, cheaper than the geisha banquets and much easier to access. After the economic crisis in Japan, more and more clients opt for alternative options, which led to decline in industry, which eventually led to decline in number of people who want to become geisha.

Such problems are no easy problem to solve, but the industry must seek ways to adapt to the new environment, or it will keep declining and eventually disappear. It will be tragedy to lose such unique and important culture of Japan. To save the industry, some changes are being made. For instance, Sayuki-oneesan allows her trainees to continue their academic career, which is one of the reasons of declining geisha trainees. The trainees at Sayuki-sensei’s okiya are able to attend to school and do their training at the same time, which helps both the industry and the trainees. Also, there are attempts to lower the barrier between new customers and the geisha world, which is critical as the industry is unsustainable without new customers who will support the industry.

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Hangyoku Henshin

Hello everyone! This is Joohyoung.

This time, I would like to talk about “Hangyoku Henshin” experience that the members of the class did with Sayuki-sensei as extracurricular event. We went to Sayuki-sensei’s house in Monzen-nagacho station. The house, which is Sayuki-sensei’s Okiya, is home for Sayuki-sensei and her geisha trainees. The girls got there first, and got their hair set up by professional hairdresser who specialize in setting geisha hairstyle. After that, the girls came back to Sayuki-sensei’s house to put their makeup on. For being a male students, I had nothing much to do, but I realized just by watching that even putting the makeup on takes a long time and it is hard to properly put on the hangyoku makeups.

After the girls had put on their makeups, I helped Sayuki-sensei with other boys to set up kimonos. It was first time for me to take a look at proper kimono, and I realized the clothes that looked simple actually consisted of several layers, and it took longer time to wear than any form of clothing that I was aware of. It would have been nice if there were male kimonos for the boys to try them out, but I understand that it’s Sayuki-sensei’s okiya for her trainees, so there was no male kimonos available.

After the girls got changed up, we walked around Fukagawa areas, seeing beautiful temple and enjoying surrounding environments. We met up with Sayuki-sensei around the temple after spending some time walking around, and we were dismissed. It was interesting experience of taking a glance at traditional Japanese culture, and I am glad that I was given such nice opportunity.

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Steps of Becoming Geisha – The Geisha Trainees

Young girls who volunteer to become geisha will go through steps of training to become a geisha. In the past, girls started their training as early as possible, and still, the younger they start the training, the better. However, nowadays, due to compulsory education up to middle school and lack of people volunteering to become a geisha, it is not uncommon to find older girls start their training. If one is under 21-years-old, they would become ‘hangyokus’ or geisha apprentice. If one is older than 21 years old, however, she would become geisha right after her training. As part of their training, trainees would have to attend lectures that teaches them dance, tea ceremonies, drums, and flutes. Not every class is mandatory, but they must attend some of the classes in order to become a geisha. As trainees have to take care of not only themselves but also their seniors, it was common for them to stop attending to schools. However, nowadays, trainees can still begin their training while attending high school. There are special high schools so that one can manage a balance between education and work, which can help trainees to continue their academic career while preparing to become a geisha.
After their training, trainees can become hangyokus, or maikos as they are called in Kyoto. During this step, they are allowed to perform during banquets. However, they are still not able to earn money as their teahouses have paid all the expenses for their training, which are very costly. After working as hangyoku or maiko for few years, they can become a full-fledged geisha. After working as a geisha for few years, they are given several choices for their future path: they can choose to leave the teahouses to work as independent geisha, or they can continue to work in the teahouses and later become Okasan, who is in charge of the teahouses and also take care of training geishas.

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Fukagawa Geisga will be foreign countries

Hello! I’m Shumpei. I’ll introduce some activities of Sayukisensei and her trainee. Sometimes geisha get booked for unusual reasons like watching Sumo with their customers. Especially, in some months, they will go a lot of places in the world because of their work. And they said “free to accept invitations anywhere between Europe and Japan for the last two weeks of September”.Fukagawa Geisha will be travelling to Italy from Sep 6 to 16 and are available to be called to banquets in Italy. From the 16th they will be in London for a few days and available to be called to events there. 

Around August 23 they will be in Moscow and available to be called to events there.  Will be in Russia from Aug 24.

 

Anyone who would like to have a talk by Sayuki, Japan’s first white geisha, or a performance or banquet by the Fukagawa geisha, please let them know! 

 

 

If they came the place which is near your home country,why don’t you contact with them?? I think It’s a very good opportunity!

 

I’m sure that they will entertain you with their art and you all will be able to have a wonderful experience!!!

 

Thank you!

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