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Photographer's Note

"Geisha," pronounced /ˈgeɪ ʃa/, is the most familiar term to English speakers. Like all Japanese nouns, there are no distinct singular or plural variants of the term. The word consists of two kanji, (gei) meaning "art" and (sha) meaning "person" or "doer." The most direct translation of geisha into English would be "artist" or "arts person."
Another term used in Japan is geiko, a word from the Kyoto dialect. Full-fledged geisha in Kyoto hanamachi are called geiko. This term is also commonly used in the Kansai region to distinguish geisha practiced in traditional arts from onsen geisha, who are prostitutes that have co-opted the term geisha. Prostitutes wear their bow, or obi, in the front of their kimono, but geisha wear their obi in the back. True geisha usually had the luxury of a professional aid to help them in the difficult process of dressing; their clothing is made up of several layers of kimono and undergarments, and an obi is more than a simple band of cloth. Dressing could take over an hour, even with professional help. Prostitutes, however, had to take off their obi several times a day, so theirs were far less complex, and tied in the front for ease of removal and replacement.
Apprentice geisha are called maiko. This word is made of the kanji(mai) meaning "dancing" and or(ko) meaning "child".It is the maiko, with her white make-up and elaborate kimono and wigs, that has become the stereotype of a "geisha" to Westerners, rather than the more demure true geisha.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Robi rdfoto (rdfoto) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 27 W: 0 N: 96] (518)
  • Genre: People
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2000-12-20
  • Categories: Ceremony
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2007-01-30 13:44
  • Favorites: 1 [view]
Viewed: 5978
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Additional Photos by Robi rdfoto (rdfoto) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 27 W: 0 N: 96] (518)
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