But I kept reading anyway. Dalby, an anthropologist by nature as well as trade, has a knack for being able to translate emotion into recognizable speech and get it all down on paper in an easy-to-understand form. The end result is compulsively readable, half-journal and half-explication, of the widely misunderstood world of geisha and the cultural context to which it belongs-- as important to an understanding of what geisha are as a study of the women themselves. All is explained in such a way as to be easily absorbed, Not in the tradition of "classic" anthropological works at all. Which is a good thing.
|Published (Last):||24 August 2010|
|PDF File Size:||4.98 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||8.79 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Putting on the Ritz 01 Sep Becoming a geisha is a notoriously long and difficult process. In the past, girls could be bonded to a geisha house or okiya as children, and training today can still last for over five years.
Apprentices, known as maiko, are trained in the traditonal Japanese arts, as well as in social skills such as tea-serving and conversation. Strangely enough, it was once again the shamisen which tipped the balance in her favour. It was only because I already knew how to play the shamisen that I was allowed to do it. Did she find debuting under such intense scrutiny difficult? That was a really great moment. But in Kyoto, the sense of shared community was very strong.
Customers may come and go, but your sister geisha are going to still be there. What did Dalby make of it? As it is, it is just another western fantasy. As the Japanese economy has boomed, less and less young women see becoming a geisha as an attractive career choice, and some okiya struggle to recruit apprentices. Many women dressed as geisha are, Dalby warns, in fact just targeting tourists, and have had little or no formal training. I think they realize that if they are going to continue as a profession, they must keep the artistic and cultural standards high.
Liza Dalby, the blue-eyed geisha
Background[ edit ] As a high school student, Dalby visited Japan in a student exchange program; there she learned to play the shamisen. In , she returned to Japan for a year to research the geisha community, as part of her anthropology fieldwork. D studies at Stanford University , was presented in her dissertation, and became the basis for her first book, Geisha, about the culture of the geisha community. Her study, which included interviews with more than geisha, was considered to be excellent and received praise from scholars at the time of publication, although some retrospective scholarship is more critical. She performed at ozashiki without charging money, and, from the experience, formed friendships and relationships with geisha in the district. She presents the history of the geisha community and explores the context in which geisha traditionally were in the forefront of fashion, which for the modern geisha is no longer true.