Geisha Essay

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What is a “Geisha”? The most popular response would most likely be a Japanese woman who applies white make up, wears kimonos, and makes a living by satisfying men. In other words, geishas are constantly viewed as courtesans, prostitutes who affiliate and interact with upper class, high in status, and wealthy clients. We can easily recognize geishas in our Western society from watching movies, reading books, and seeing photos on the Internet. All these resources are available to the Westerners, however it can also misguide us to believe that we have an unambiguous understanding of the Japanese culture and geishas. Someone from the West can easily make inaccurate judgments toward geishas, due to their “Orientalized” mentality. Without further research, how can one legitimately acknowledge geishas for who they are to the point where we can confidently define them? Our perception and knowledge of a “geisha” varies drastically due to various influences dating back to the post World War II era, and even persisting up until today. Anyone who has ever pondered upon the topic regarding “geishas” has surely thought twice about their true identity and the controversy of their occupation. "One myth is that geishas are prostitutes. That myth is wrong. The other myth is that geishas are not prostitutes. That myth is wrong, too (Golden, 2000)." The contradiction in the quote leaves us with one unanswered question: Are geisha’s promiscuous, desperate courtesans, or are they honorable, skilled, preservers of art? The intricacy of geishas in Japan captivated my interest to analyze deeper into the complexity of these mysterious women, and by doing so, I wish to argue my point that, geishas are respectful, admirable artisans whom are misconstrued by the idea and concept of orientalism. After thorough research, I gathered reliable sources from books, such as, The Memoir of a

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