Geisha Romanticism

2965 Words12 Pages
Asia and Asian peoples have typically been portrayed by western culture to fit certain perceptions. Stereotypes and pre-ordained ideas about Geisha have been created due to many reasons. These reasons are misrepresentation in Hollywood and film, a culturally western gender-based male language as the dominator of language, a lack of esthetic-cultural appreciation and understanding from foreign males who encountered geisha, and finally the confusion between the geisha and prostitute districts and what curtails as a true geisha. Orientalism, which is a western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient, by placing limitations on it and defining it as the “Other” (Said, 3, 1979), has influenced the creation and strengthening of the submissive, exotic, and decadent geisha. Unfortunately these romanticized images continue to persist and are used to give false understandings of the geisha.
Geisha are defined as arts people who study classical Japanese music and dance, perform music and dance for parties, and are registered officially with a central office. (Foreman, 34, 2005, Prasso, 200, 2006) The combined proficiency at music and dance with a sense of elegance, tact, and grace that wins the respect and admiration of patrons. (Groemer, 159, 2009). They were high-end performers, and could not be afforded as entertainers by the common people. They are expected to be witty, flattering, excellent conversationalists, and have to endure long years of strict training in traditional dance or in playing the shamisen, a three-stringed instrument (Struck, 2000) Only those who were very rich could pay for the accompaniment of a Geisha. Overall, the Geisha should be interpreted as performers, just like in the west, ho...

... middle of paper ...

...tude of “geisha” that cannot be pinpointed down to a certain set of characteristics and attributes. For these reasons, the geisha have been romanticized and misrepresented. Therefore, when it comes to describing geisha, one should not make wide-sweeping statements on the group as a whole. And that the geisha are actresses selling an image, and therefore the way they display themselves while working does not transcend into their individual or necessarily defines who they are as a person. As a result, it is safe to say that anytime there is a statement made about a people group, we should question the sources and influences that have shaped the statement. And At the same we should remember that people are individuals and though they may fall under a group category, they themselves have characteristics that will not fit into the mold or stereotypes made upon the group.
Open Document