small graceful steps,
tracing the shadows of light
a face as white as snow
lips as crimson as blood
bright as daylight
solemn as the night
~ A.K ~
Writing history along its path, the life of a Geisha is one unlike any fairy tale. It is beautiful and elegant. Eerie and sad. Retold more than a million times, yet misunderstood twice as many. Although history shows how much beauty these women artists present from their skills of entertaining, it is still a hard known fact that Geisha are haunted by the dark misconception the world has upon them.
Evolving from the world of prostitution during the Edo period, Geisha began a new leaf in life as professionally trained artists, skillful in music, dancing, poetry and the art of entertaining. They were taught to act as the best of hostesses, engaging in friendly conversations with male clients and sometimes flirting in playful innuendos, although none was to be expected beyond that. These were the things that true Geisha did. It was their life, their identity.
The false assumption of Geisha being connected to prostitution started during the Allied Occupation of Japan, when prostitutes dressed as Geisha and offered sexual services to Americans stationed in the country. Sadly, the misconception grew and continued to the modern days, leaving a dark stain on the faces of these women.
However, as no flawless face ever walked on earth, the Geisha world was also known by its tradition of "Mizuage", a ceremony that was performed at the coming of age of a "Maiko" (apprentice geisha), when she was considered ready to turn as a full pledged Geisha. Sadly, this ceremony involved the practice of exchanging the Maiko's virginity for a large sum of money from a sponsor who gave the highest bid. It was a practice that was not considered as prostitution by Geisha, but a large flaw in the eyes of the world, and outlawed in 1959.
So as history told itself, a Maiko, literally known as "dancing child", lived willingly inside her golden cage, just as Geisha grace the world of art in their cage of misconception until this very day.
If you're still interested to read more, by all means, visit this site or find out about the life of today's modern Maiko on this blog. Have fun! :)