The icons of Japanese elegance pitter-patter past the ancient temples of Kyoto, turning heads with their porcelain-doll makeup, brilliant-hued silks and steep sandals. To the uninitiated--and that includes most Japanese--these visions of traditional splendor look like the increasingly rare Kyoto geisha. This infiltration of pretenders adds insult to injury to the authentic geisha business, which has fallen on such hard times that some teahouses have had to install karaoke machines to survive.
Enjoy Kabuki in Tokyo Here's another great option you can do when you visit Tokyo: Going to a kabuki show. This is highly recommended if you like Immerse yourself in a bit of history at Edo Wonderland!
When someone thinks of a Japanese Geisha, they think of a glorified prostitute or call girl, but this is far from the truth. Geisha are traditional Japanese female entertainers who act as hostesses and whose skills include performing various Japanese arts such as classical music, dance, games and conversation, mainly to entertain male customers. Trainee Geisha are called Maiko.
While geisha wear this makeup for their everyday engagements, oshiroi is normally considered as a conception used strictly on stage. Performing arts in Japan happen to be connected with creating an individual character, a brand new role of the artist. Accordingly, they create a brand new character—connected to the pseudonym—with oshiroi. The whole face and neck is covered in this white thick paste, but for on-stage performances even hands and calfs need to be painted, too.
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Contrary to popular belief, geisha are not the Eastern equivalent of a prostitute; a misconception originating in the West due to interactions with Japanese oiran courtesans, whose traditional attire is similar to that of geisha. The most literal translation of geisha into English would be "artist", "performing artist", or "artisan". This term is used to refer to geisha from Western Japan, which includes Kyoto and Kanazawa.
In their heyday, geisha were fashion trend-setters and were even used to promote beauty products. Geisha were subjects of woodblock prints, kabuki plays and they became role models for Japanese women. Many people even collected geisha photo cards.
We had the opportunity to chat with a geisha and find out some of these beauty secrets for ourselves! Removing makeup is often a harsh process, and most girls use alcohol wipes or toners or gritty exfoliating scrubs to do this. Geishas know that using anything harsh on your skin is a disaster waiting to happen, which is why they only use gentle cleansing oils typically featuring camellia oil to remove makeup and purify their skin. In fact, geishas refer to their complexion as mochi hada skin, meaning skin that is soft and pure like a baby.
A few weeks ago, I told a pharmacist in Tokyo that I had a headache, assuming hoping he'd direct me to an off-brand box of extra strength Advil. But no, he handed me a bag of green tea and told me to take a nap. A few days later, I told my friend, a Japan native, that my hair felt very dry and brittle. But not for long—I took a nap and felt better; the seaweed hair mask did wonders.