Didn’t This Used to Calling Pimping? Japanese City Recruits Young Women as Geisha

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Geisha at work in Kyoto, Japan.

Geisha at work in Kyoto, Japan.

Apparently the Japanese occupation/tradition of women working as geisha is nearly extinct. In the 1920s there were about 80,000 “geisha girls” performing for the pleasure of men in Japan.

There is no doubt that the geisha tradition is rooted in prostitution. But the modern reality is slightly more complicated than that.

There is no doubt that coerced sex and bidding on a new geisha’s virginity occurred in the period before WWII… After Japan lost the war, geisha dispersed and the profession was in shambles. When they regrouped during the Occupation and began to flourish in the 1960s during Japan’s postwar economic boom, the geisha world changed. In modern Japan, girls are not sold into indentured service, nor are they coerced into sexual relations. Nowadays, a geisha’s sex life is her private affair
Liza DalbyDo They or Don’t They
Liza Dalby is an American anthropoligist best known as the first Western woman to have ever trained as a geisha.

From the London Daily Telegraph:

By Danielle Demetriou in Tokyo

Shimoda, a small seaside city in Shizuoka prefecture, was home to as many as 200 geisha working its tea-houses as recently as 30 years ago.

However, the number currently based in Shimoda has now declined to just five, prompting the rare intervention of government officials to keep their presence alive.

As part of the plan, three prospective geisha will receive wages from central government employment subsidies for a six-month period, during which they will be trained fully in traditional singing, dancing and instrument playing.

The geisha training proposal, which will cost the local government an estimated £43,000, aims to reverse the city’s dramatic decline of its geisha population – a problem replicated across much of modern-day Japan.

and this piece, also form the the Daily Telegraph:

Endangered ‘Flower and Willow’ world of Japan’s geisha

In the 1920s, more than 80,000 geisha were singing and dancing behind paper screens in traditional tea-houses across Japan.

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