Geisha is a common name given to Japanese female whose profession is entertaining through various performances, which includes classical dance and music.
The term Geisha, like most Japanese nouns, have no plural form. ‘Geisha’ can be loosely translated in English as ‘an artist’ or a ‘performer’. Some of the other Geisha, who are trainees or have not yet become full-fledged Geisha are hangyoku, who gets half the wage of a Geisha; maiko, who is a child Geisha; and o-shaku, who pours alcohol for visitors.
Most Geisha receive training early during their lives in the Geisha houses. Many of the girls are prohibited from moving out of the houses, and are only restricted to serve the customers. This was, however, not a common practice in the developed regions of Japan. During early 1950s, child labor was prohibited. Hence, many maiko were released from such work. However, the daughters of Geisha still worked in geisha houses, continuing the tradition. These girls often are involved in a contracted with the geisha houses, and are provided food and other amenities from these houses.
Geisha houses provide only entertainment in form of dance and music. However, many westerners have come to believe that this profession is much similar to prostitution, and most geisha sell their bodies to the customers. This might be partially true because many middle-class geisha do sell their bodies. However, a high-class, and a professional geisha works for performance and passion for their profession.
Until the year 1958, prostitution was legal in this country. Hence, most people believe it still happens in geisha houses. Besides, it is easy to get confused by the two profession, because post World War II, the prostitutes of Japan mainly catered to soldiers of the war. When it was prohibited, most of these prostitutes referred themselves as Geisha.
Modern geisha can still be found in the areas near hanamachi in geisha houses, commonly known as okiya. Their world is known as karyukai, or the world of willow and flower, and is generally elegant and high-class. The geisha here chooses to live life independently, and entertain people with their skills. Young women who seek to learn these skills join geisha houses after their education. Geisha costumes are available in international markets and Geisha make-up can be found in most nations. Due to its distinct looks, Geisha tattoos are also famous among youths.