Geisha 芸者 + Maiko 舞妓

A “geisha apprentice” is called maiko “dancing girl” in Kyôto and hangyoku “half-jewel” in Tôkyô. During her basic training as an entertainer, the maiko learns the traditional arts such as calligraphy and tea ceremony, playing on instruments as well as classical dance. A maiko lives with the Geishas in the house (okiya) of her guardian, who has a mother’s role and is therefore called okâsan (“mother”). Okiya are usually located in a hanamachi (“Blumenviertel” = Vergnügungsviertel). Geisha (gei = art, sha = person) is an entertainer who, in addition to conversation, games and escort service, offers her customers in restaurants or clubs traditional Japanese arts such as dance and song. Geishas are also called geigi (芸妓, “artist”) or in the area of Kyôto geiko (芸子, “child of art”).

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