All About Japan

10 Things You Didn't Know About Geisha


After the release of Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden and the 2005 movie, geisha have become better known globally. But just how much do you know about the graceful entertainers? We've gathered a few facts that might surprise even the most knowledgeable geisha experts.

1. Trendsetters

In their heyday, geisha were fashion trendsetters and were even used to promote beauty products. Geisha, the subjects of woodblock prints and kabuki plays, became role models for Japanese women. Many people even collected geisha photo cards.

2. Globe-Trotters

Geisha have traveled abroad to perform for audiences around the world.

3. Geisha Also Perform for Women

Contrary to popular belief, geisha are not just for men! They also entertain female clients who revere them as models of feminine grace. In addition, they perform publicly at designated times during the year.

4. Celebrity Status

It’s unusual even for Japanese people to get a chance to see geisha or be entertained by one in private, unless they're a politician or business executive.

5. Early Training

Young girls who decide to become geisha at a young age will opt out of high school so they can begin their training. They then become apprentices in boarding houses called okiya where they continue their education.

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