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Memoirs Of A Geisha Essay

1736 words - 7 pages

A geisha is truly a unique and fascinating individual in the within the Japanese culture. Often times, many individuals do not take the time which is necessary to learn about another person’s culture to understand what incidents occur to shape them into who they are. Americans are primarily guilty of putting the geisha in the same box as prostitutes and placing an identical label on them, when in fact, a geisha isn’t a prostitute at all. However, there are facts about them both that certainly remain true. Geishas and prostitutes are both women who often entertain men; nonetheless, there are undoubtedly unique differences with regard to the style and delivery of their entertainment.
The woman who becomes a geisha “don’t become geisha because we want our lives to be happy; we become geisha because we have no choice” (Golden 409). The woman who lives her lifestyle in the pursuit of becoming a geisha is challenging and a difficult one. Some women are destined to become geisha because their mother was previously a geisha herself. Others become geisha as a direct result of being sold into slavery by her parents with hopes that the young child would eventually have a better life in the future than she currently have with her family. Chiyo stated, “He had taken me from my mother and father, sold me into slavery, sold my sister into something even worse” (Golden 82). The slave child is actually an investment to the household of geisha family. The home where “geisha live is known as an okiya” (Golden 40). The lady of the house purchases the child with a very skilled plan of allowing the little girl to practice the arts of becoming a geisha by allowing her to learn how to dance, sing and play a musical instrument, called the shamisen. “She was to have four classes that morning – shamisen, dance, tea ceremony, and form of singing we call nagauta” (Golden 55). Furthermore, she is not guaranteed to become a geisha because she is learning to become one. It takes years of training to live the life of a geisha. “Beginning my training meant going to a school in another section of Gion to take lessons in things like music, dance, and tea ceremony. All the girls studying to be geisha took classes at this same school” (Golden 45). “Dance is the most revered of the geisha’s arts. Only the most promising and beautiful geisha are encouraged to specialize in it, and nothing except perhaps tea ceremony can compare to the richness of its tradition” (Golden 150). It can certainly be understood why dance is considered to be the art that is considered highest. Regardless of an individual’s culture and background, it could definitely be agreed that dancing is quite personal and can evoke a multitude of emotions all at once. Geisha are also “taught how to behave toward people. They learn when it is appropriate to smile and say something kind” to another individual” (Golden 158).
The magnificent style of dress that a geisha wears is an important tool...

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