Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Geisha - Courtesan or...?

Expand Messages
  • art_fetish
    This is my first ever post on here. Hello, my name is Kerry. I am located in NW Ohio. At this time, I am studying the cultural, and social evolution of women
    Message 1 of 11 , May 30, 2010
    • 0 Attachment
      This is my first ever post on here. Hello, my name is Kerry. I am located in NW Ohio. At this time, I am studying the cultural, and social evolution of women in the Japanese arts.

      I recently looked back through the history of this group, and many others. Time and time again Geisha are commonly refered to in the sense that they are courtesans and offer sexual services. It seems like there is a worldwide common perception: Geisha are courtesans, whores, prostitutes, whatever label you so desire.

      So, what are geisha and who were the courtesans?


      Historically, the courtesans were a wholly separate world of entertainment and sex. That the highest ranking Japanese courtesan was called an 'Oiran'. In fact, Geisha as the world knows them came into power during the decline of the Oiran.

      The Geisha came onto scene around the 1600s. The first and original geisha were....men. These men are referred to as Taikomochi or Houkan. The short version of them is that these men were used to provide a sex free form of entertainment (storytelling, puppets, and more), free of the highly ritualized courtesans. In addition, there are whispers that these men were used to combat the powerful control that the courtesans gripped the Japanese court with.

      The first female Geisha came onto scene around 1751 ad. The Courtesans did not want competition, and so had laws and regulations pushed into place to ban the Geisha from engaging in sexual act. That's right, there were and still are laws barring the Geisha from prostitution.

      That is not to say that the occasional romance or shady deal doesn't happen: however as a whole the Geisha are professional entertainers and hostesses. Geisha are trained in a wide realm of classical arts, and have a unique social structure wholly separate from that of the courtesans of old.

      Here are two photos to demonstrate the differences between the likes of a Oiran (highest ranking courtesan) and a Geisha (their modern attire has largely remained unchanged from old).
      Photo of a Courtesan / Oiran (notice the obi tied in the front, and how complex her hair is?): http://www.flickr.com/photos/agustinrafaelreyes/4588797591/
      Photo of a Geisha (obi tied in the back, her attire is much more tame): http://www.flickr.com/photos/rekishinotabi/4627198832/


      If you want to know more about the Japanese Courtesan look into the 'Oiran' and the 'Tayu'. I could talk further on this matter, but I will save this for future articles.


      History and info on the original male geisha, and rise of the female Geisha: http://www.thekeep.org/~kunoichi/kunoichi/themestream/taikomochi.html
    • Bryant Richards
      ... part of the reason that you hear Geisha called Courtesan here is that Geisha are not period for us. So the closest thing you can get to Geisha in our
      Message 2 of 11 , May 30, 2010
      • 0 Attachment
        > So, what are geisha and who were the courtesans?

        part of the reason that you hear Geisha called Courtesan here is that Geisha are not period for us. So the closest thing you can get to Geisha in our period is the Courtesan.

        In Honor and Service,
        Uesugi no Ryujuichiro Uchiyasu
        House Chiburi





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Jeanel Walker
        or a sharibyoshi dancer...who happen to be the for runners of the geisha those dancers split into two different faction one set become the geisha we know and
        Message 3 of 11 , May 30, 2010
        • 0 Attachment
          or a sharibyoshi dancer...who happen to be the for runners of the geisha
          those dancers split into two different faction one set become the geisha we know and love to day and the others became the shrine priestess
          contact me if you want to learn more ...my A&S project was on it =)

          May the joy of your past be the worst of your tomorrows!!!
          Jeanel Walker aka Eilionora "Takaatsu" of Kisimull
          http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/brytephyre/Takinagadevisesm.jpg
          http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/brytephyre/Eilionoriadevicesm.jpg


          --- On Sun, 5/30/10, Bryant Richards <ninjalikereflex@...> wrote:

          From: Bryant Richards <ninjalikereflex@...>
          Subject: Re: [SCA-JML] Geisha - Courtesan or...?
          To: sca-jml@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Sunday, May 30, 2010, 10:57 PM







           









          > So, what are geisha and who were the courtesans?



          part of the reason that you hear Geisha called Courtesan here is that Geisha are not period for us. So the closest thing you can get to Geisha in our period is the Courtesan.



          In Honor and Service,

          Uesugi no Ryujuichiro Uchiyasu

          House Chiburi



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

























          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • wodeford
          ... No. No, they are not. If you are interested in geisha and post 1600 Japanese culture, may I suggest the Immortal Geisha forum at
          Message 4 of 11 , May 30, 2010
          • 0 Attachment
            --- In sca-jml@yahoogroups.com, "art_fetish" <art_fetish@...> wrote:
            >
            > This is my first ever post on here. Hello, my name is Kerry. I am located in NW Ohio. At this time, I am studying the cultural, and social evolution of women in the Japanese arts.
            >
            > I recently looked back through the history of this group, and many others. Time and time again Geisha are commonly refered to in the sense that they are courtesans and offer sexual services.

            No. No, they are not.

            If you are interested in geisha and post 1600 Japanese culture, may I suggest the Immortal Geisha forum at http://www.immortalgeisha.com/ig_bb/index.php

            If you are interested in the culture of Japan before 1600, stick around and be welcome.

            Saionji no Hanae
            West Kingdom
          • ErinK
            Part of the typical confusion is caused by language. We don t have a good word in English for the job geisha do. Courtesan is close, except for the implication
            Message 5 of 11 , May 31, 2010
            • 0 Attachment
              Part of the typical confusion is caused by language.
              We don't have a good word in English for the job geisha do. Courtesan is close, except for the implication of prostitution. Hostess would be good but brings to mind the teenager who seats you at a chain restaurant; entertainer is mainly associated with stage performers.
            • Jeanel Walker
              in my opion a geisha is an actress. she sings dance and preforms for an audience...just because she has sex with a person who hired her dose not make her a
              Message 6 of 11 , May 31, 2010
              • 0 Attachment
                in my opion a geisha is an actress. she sings dance and preforms for an audience...just because she has sex with a person who hired her dose not make her a prostitute. many actresses have sex with there managers, other actors and producers

                May the joy of your past be the worst of your tomorrows!!!
                Jeanel Walker aka Eilionora "Takaatsu" of Kisimull
                http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/brytephyre/Takinagadevisesm.jpg
                http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/brytephyre/Eilionoriadevicesm.jpg


                --- On Mon, 5/31/10, ErinK <tupan4@...> wrote:

                From: ErinK <tupan4@...>
                Subject: [SCA-JML] Re: Geisha - Courtesan or...?
                To: sca-jml@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Monday, May 31, 2010, 1:23 PM







                 













                Part of the typical confusion is caused by language.

                We don't have a good word in English for the job geisha do. Courtesan is close, except for the implication of prostitution. Hostess would be good but brings to mind the teenager who seats you at a chain restaurant; entertainer is mainly associated with stage performers.

























                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • wodeford
                ... I m interested in the cultural and social impact of women in the arts in our period. Women of the Imperial court during the Heian and Kamakura periods are
                Message 7 of 11 , May 31, 2010
                • 0 Attachment
                  --- In sca-jml@yahoogroups.com, "art_fetish" <art_fetish@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Hello, my name is Kerry. I am located in NW Ohio. At this time, I am studying the cultural, and social evolution of women in the Japanese arts.

                  I'm interested in the cultural and social impact of women in the arts in our period. Women of the Imperial court during the Heian and Kamakura periods are responsible for a trove of personal and official diaries, poetry and even one of the earliest novels ever written. Not only of value for their literary merit, these writings provide a lot of information about day to day life.

                  While many of my persona "sisters" like the Heian, I confess I became fascinated by the relationship between the Imperial Court and the Kamakura shogunate. The diaries of Lady Nijo and Ben no Naishi have been invaluable to me, as has a chronicle known as "The Clear Mirror."

                  In closing, I append an image of women playing music at an aristocratic banquet:
                  http://www.tnm.go.jp/gallery/search/images/max/C0016933.jpg

                  Saionji no Hanae, sho shichi i
                  West Kingdom
                • art_fetish
                  ... The reign of the Kamakura shogunate is such an interesting time! Regarding the chronicle of the Clear Mirror , do you have any online sources that you
                  Message 8 of 11 , May 31, 2010
                  • 0 Attachment
                    > While many of my persona "sisters" like the Heian, I confess I became fascinated by the relationship between the Imperial Court and the Kamakura shogunate. The diaries of Lady Nijo and Ben no Naishi have been invaluable to me, as has a chronicle known as "The Clear Mirror."
                    >
                    > In closing, I append an image of women playing music at an aristocratic banquet:
                    > http://www.tnm.go.jp/gallery/search/images/max/C0016933.jpg
                    >
                    > Saionji no Hanae, sho shichi i
                    > West Kingdom

                    The reign of the Kamakura shogunate is such an interesting time!

                    Regarding the chronicle of the "Clear Mirror", do you have any online sources that you would recommend for reading?

                    The image you linked is just one of many points in history that Japanese women seem to have played an itneresting role. On that note, do you have any suggested online reads regarding these figure? (Something other then the likes of the countlessly cited immortalgeisha).

                    I wonder if any of the other ladies has created a time line of various female entertainer types, and their functions. I am slowly building such, however it would be nice to see if anyone else has done such a project.

                    Thank you!
                  • autumnriver
                    ... Entertainers really aren t my area of interest, but I do have a book that might be of use to you. _Selling Songs and Smiles_ by Janet R. Goodwin (Univ. of
                    Message 9 of 11 , May 31, 2010
                    • 0 Attachment
                      --- In sca-jml@yahoogroups.com, "art_fetish" <art_fetish@...> wrote:


                      >
                      > I wonder if any of the other ladies has created a time line of >various female entertainer types, and their functions. I am slowly >building such, however it would be nice to see if anyone else has >done such a project.

                      Entertainers really aren't my area of interest, but I do have a book that might be of use to you. _Selling Songs and Smiles_ by Janet R. Goodwin (Univ. of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 2007) ISBN 978-0-82478-3097-7 The book is still in print.

                      From the back cover: "Marriage was not firmly defined in Heian times, and female chastity not especially valued. Women who provided professional sexual services for the aristocracy did so in conjunction with entertainment such as singing or dancing and formed an occupational rather than moral catagory."

                      The book is more about tracking the history of prostitution (or how it was defined) rather than entertainers, but the two worked in conjunction in a complex and sometimes contradictory fashion.

                      Ki no Kotori
                    • wodeford
                      ... I prefer to read the sources thenselves. ILL is your friend if you cannot find a copy in print locally. Google Books and the Gutenberg Project are good
                      Message 10 of 11 , May 31, 2010
                      • 0 Attachment
                        --- In sca-jml@yahoogroups.com, "art_fetish" <art_fetish@...> wrote:
                        > Regarding the chronicle of the "Clear Mirror", do you have any online sources that you would recommend for reading?

                        I prefer to read the sources thenselves. ILL is your friend if you cannot find a copy in print locally. Google Books and the Gutenberg Project are good places to look for excerpts and occasionally complete texts. (I found something on Tanegashima and the introduction of firearms in the 16th c. on Google Books recently and I am going to have to break down and get a copy of the thing once I pay a couple of bills because the first thirty pages were fascinating!)

                        This preview of "The Clear Mirror" on Google Books will give you a taste.
                        http://books.google.com/books?id=c8rKCOSmKEMC&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+clear+mirror&cd=1#v=onepage&q&f=false

                        The preview for "Sacred Rites In Moonlight" is pretty limited, but it's well worth hunting down if you're interested in the period:
                        http://books.google.com/books?id=YJ-BAAAAIAAJ&q=sacred+rites+in+moonlight&dq=sacred+rites+in+moonlight&cd=1

                        Here's the one for "Confessions of Lady Nijo"
                        http://books.google.com/books?id=0CWh9gCkvugC&printsec=frontcover&dq=lady+nijo&cd=1#v=onepage&q=lady%20nijo&f=false

                        Heian diaries worth a look include the diary of Murasaki Shikibu, "As I crossed a river of dreams," the "Gossamer Years,", Sei Shonagon's "Pillow Book."

                        Ivan Morris' "The World of the Shining Prince" is an excellent study of life in the Heian court.

                        Most of these are in print. The diaries are available in paperback editions that are fairly affordable, particularly if you look for used copies on Amazon.com or Alibris.

                        Saionji no Hanae
                        West Kingdom
                      • James Eckman
                        ... Even nowadays, some geisha still perform sex for hire, so that word is OK. The Japanese are not the protestant refugees that fled England because they were
                        Message 11 of 11 , Jun 1, 2010
                        • 0 Attachment
                          > Posted by: "ErinK"
                          >
                          > Part of the typical confusion is caused by language.
                          > We don't have a good word in English for the job geisha do. Courtesan is close, except for the implication of prostitution.
                          Even nowadays, some geisha still perform sex for hire, so that word is
                          OK. The Japanese are not the protestant refugees that fled England
                          because they were too blue-nosed. Some sex in the water trade is not
                          considered anything immoral by most in Japan.
                          > Hostess would be good but brings to mind the teenager who seats you at a chain restaurant;
                          Host or hostess in Japan would mean geisha nowadays ;)
                          > Posted by: "Jeanel Walker"
                          >
                          > in my opion a geisha is an actress. she sings dance and preforms for an audience...just because she has sex with a person who hired her dose not make her a prostitute. many actresses have sex with there managers, other actors and producers
                          >
                          Hmm... traditional western atitudes towards actors lump them in with the
                          lowlife including prostitutes. Of course their behavior in modern times,
                          well you can judge for yourself!

                          > Posted by: "wodeford"
                          > Ivan Morris' "The World of the Shining Prince" is an excellent study of life in the Heian court.
                          >
                          >
                          I recommend this one as a starter, Genji and the others are hard going
                          without some context. I'm not sure what other texts to recommend on this
                          period, but it is a refreshing change from all those brutish warrior
                          thugs ;)

                          Jim
                        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.