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10 Common Misconceptions People Have About Geisha

22 Mar 2017 54.7k views10 items

There are many misconceptions about geisha, namely the belief that they were fancy prostitutes. The pervasiveness of this belief has overshadowed the rich history of the geisha and devalued their skills as professional entertainers. After all, a geisha’s primary task was to entertain her clients through the arts and witty conversation.

The lives of historical geisha were very different from the West’s notion of geisha as well-dressed prostitutes who hung out at bordellos. Geisha endured grueling training to obtain their coveted title. Not only that, during the Edo period (1603- 1868) and for some time after, becoming a geisha was one of the few ways a Japanese woman could make a decent living and have a somewhat autonomous life. While the stereotypes of these artisans will undoubtedly persist, these facts about geisha shed some light on the overlooked and ignored history of one of Japan’s enduring historical classes.

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