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Can african americans become Geisha? 2006/11/20 11:11
Can african americans become Geisha?
by Yasmeen Turner  

Please, not again... 2006/11/22 18:14
by Dave in Saitama rate this post as useful

I am serious 2006/11/23 05:48
i have been really wanting to become one and i have read a lot on the subject. So can anyone please tell me something? i know it is probably an absurd question but since the flower and willow world is decreasing cant they make exeptions? I mean, they did for Liza Dalby.
by yasmeen rate this post as useful

Umm why not 2007/1/5 04:04
Hey Yasmeen im pretty sure that they would accept African Americans to be a geisha.I think because of geisha tradition is being extinct nowadays and the people who wants to be geisha must be accepted cheerfully whatever her tradition is[or whatever her color is].It is silly to discourage people about being geisha.Being a geisha is not a bad thing.So, go ahaed girl if you want to be a geisha.But before going ahaed search that geisha thing well... ^o)
by Contessa Nightwish rate this post as useful

Thankyou 2007/1/7 05:08
thanks alot Contessa. I have been doing the research on geisha and the japanese language too for a while now. Your thought has boosted my confidence. Now i just wish other people posting would be as open minded as you.
by yasmeen rate this post as useful

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one. 2007/2/4 12:15
As an african american girl, it's been my dream to become a geisha, not just because they look nice, I love the art of the geisha's culture, the vigirous training they must indure. But my chances of actually becomming one is dwindling very quickly seeing as to how I'm almost twenty. It's nice to know that ther are other girls, like myself, a african american, who are intrested in the dream. I still haven't given up,and you shouldn't either.
by Kelli Wilson rate this post as useful

Geisha training 2007/2/12 07:42
If that's your dream then go for it! Just be prepared to go through a lot of hard training. Trainees have to work hard to become Geisha.
On another note, if you're planning on living and working in Japan you should do some studying into their culture as well as the language.
Japanese culture can be quite a shock to many Americans!
Be aware that it is a male-dominated society and women are treated differently and expected to act differently than here in the states.
by Audrey rate this post as useful

hate to say this 2007/2/12 10:13
Let me guess? You just watched Memoirs of a Geisha last night? This job requires being able to speak Japanese fluently. Even better than most natives. Its soooooo much work I highly advise you to pursue another dream.
by Shogun rate this post as useful

liza dalby 2007/2/12 12:31

as stated in the discussion page ''To say she was a ''novice'' is to indicate that she was a trainee. To say that she was a trainee is to imply she was taking the lessons young Japanese women do in becoming maiko and then geisha. But she did not do that, as she admits - so we cannot refer to her as a ''novice geisha''. Being a geisha is a lot more than wearing white makeup and having a cute name. If someone wishes to re-write this article more fully, then by all means talk about how she was engaged in the geisha world - and that she accompanied some geisha during their engagements for a year.''
by justin rate this post as useful

Geisha 2007/3/17 13:50
Yes; you can be a Geisha.
Although some probably won't take you seriously, if you show interest and hard work, someone will take you under there wing.
I always wanted to study Shamisen and Tea Ceremony; so i went to Cultural Center, there you should find someone to help you.
by Chloe rate this post as useful

. 2007/3/17 14:23
Being fluent in Japanese just bring you to the very least starting point.
If you are being trained in Kyoto, for example, you have to become Maiko. To become Maiko, you have to join one of the okiya, and have to live for month under very strict decipline by okaasan without contacting your family for 3-4 months (no letter, no phone, no e-mail). You don't have any freetime, always saying "yes" and have to do everything as you are told. You have to work like a maid to your "elder sister" Maiko, day in, day out. The word "freedom" is unheard of.
Taking lessons of dance and music (incl. shamisen) is only a small part of it.
Even Japanese girls who wanted to become Maiko cannot survive this hard situation. And Geisha (in case of Kyoto, it is Geiko) is even harder to reach, you have to keep being trained as Maiko for years.
Girls who fancy becoming a Geisha usually do not know these hard training days, just believing dancing and playing music is all they can expect.
I don't say "it's totally impossible" but fantasizing those special artist is one thing, to try to be real one is quite another.
And if you become Maiko, or egentually Geiko, still you have a very limited like - no time to meet friends, or dating with a boyfriend. Can you really imagine yourself to live such a life?
by . rate this post as useful

Thanks 2008/3/22 02:41
I am Really serious about this, and i am willing to workd hard as I am currently now on my way. I am absolutely serious about becoming a geisha. NO, i did not just watch memoirs of a geisha last night, I have wanted this since before I even knew of the movie or book. Ever since I was little the Japanese lifestyle and what it consists of has fascinated me. And i also have noted the misrepresentations that the movie and book brings about geisha. And to be truthful, YES, i can imagine myself living such a lifestyle because if i am lucky enough to get there, I will take it and run, loving every minute, aspect, and the culture of being a geisha.
by Yasmeen rate this post as useful

geiko 2008/3/22 08:00
If you do succeed, you will be only the third non-Japanese to become a geisha, so please let us know when it does happen, as I'm sure a lot of people will be interested to know how you did it.
It seems to be very difficult without good connections in Japan.
by Sira rate this post as useful

Connections 2008/3/23 00:49
I have been currently learning japanese and ive actually also been studying up on the geishal and japanese history for a while now. I do realize that the hardest part to all this will be finding connections though. If anyone here can help me out on this, it would be greatly appreciated and you will have earned a lifelong friend.
by Yasmeen rate this post as useful

Sayuki 2008/3/23 09:33
The only one of the two Westerners I mentioned above to have become an actual practicing geisha is the Australian Sayuki- she is actually a much older woman than the usual debut geisha and was a university researcher with strong academic connections in Japan.

Since she is the only one to have ever debuted as a geisha, she is probably the only one who can answer your questions, although I imagine she gets bombarded with similar questions as there seem to be so many girls wanting to become geisha. Have you looked at her website, www.sayuki.net? That seems like a good place to start.

Be prepared for this dream to be unattainable as it is obviously a very closed society that the geisha move in.

Rather than just focus on becoming a geisha, another option could be to come to Japan at first just to study shamisen, tea ceremony, Japanese dance etc. That would obviously allow you to build up connections closer to the area you are interested in, and see what it is actually like to live in Japan as well. Just trying to launch yourself into geisha society without having spent time in Japan would most likely not work.

Look into coming to Japan on a cultural or student visa and start saving, as it will no doubt cost plenty to take classes in the Japanese arts and support yourself while doing so.

Sayuki didn't become a geisha until she was a lot older than you are, and she spent many years in Japan beforehand, so actually coming to Japan should be your initial goal.
by Sira rate this post as useful

Geisha 2008/3/24 12:35
As Sira advised, exploring traditional arts in Japan is a good start. Some prominent Japanese pottery makers, wood workers, katana makers, sumo wrestlers etc are foreign born. As some traditional arts are losing popularity, you will be warmly received if you have a sincere interest. Cha-ji (tea ceremony) by itself, can be a life-time discipline, and tea instructors can make a comfortable income. Any one of these pursuits can open up doors to different career paths if your dream isn't realized.

Don't be dissuaded by other comments. The culture might seem far more similar than dissimilar, you won't find Japan to be more male dominated than anywhere else, and becoming a Geisha is much less rigorous now than it used to be. You might find skin color to be even less of a barrier here.

There is nothing wrong with pursuing your dreams; you can always change your mind. The geisha lifestyle is probably almost as foreign and mysterious for young people here as it is for foreigners. Women take lessons here just to wear kimono.

Start with the language. Overall, Japanese is no more or less difficult than any other language, but being fluent in any language requires lots of practice.

by Inago rate this post as useful

Sorry to break it to you... 2008/7/24 13:36
Sorry to bust your bubble hon, but your chances of becoming a geisha is slim and none. You have a better chance of being elected for president than becoming a Geisha in Japan.

Firstly, Japan is NOT a society like America where anyone can become anything they want regardless of race. They are not kind to foreigners (black, white or any other) at all, and not only will they be cruel to someone white who tries to become a legitimate Geisha (and not as some sort of experiment), they are not going to approve of you at all. If anything, you will be totally scorned. A geisha is a cultural icon, and i something that is culturally important to the Japanese. That, and Samurai, are the things that many people think of when they think of Japan. Japan is nationalistic and very xenophobic. It's not even that they're racist, because they dislike EVERYONE, regardless of color.

Additionally, a lot of people ask this because the lifestyle of a Geisha and anything Japan related is a trend in the US. Most Americans would not be able to last 5 minutes under the training that Geisha receive, and under the rigid system and physically draining hours that maiko/Geisha go through. You have to be able to perform well, bring in a good amount of money, have lots of clients and be in DEMAND. It is highly stressful.

Another reason why it will not ever work for you is in regards to makeup and facial features. It's one thing to simply dress in a kimono or a hikizuri. I've dressed in a hikizuri before (from a friend), and I've been told that I look good in it, but as a Geisha, I wouldn't dare ask that of myself. Our skin does not, and will not, look good under pure white makeup, no matter how many layers are added. Also, our facial features are way different from those of the Japanese. Even white touristy geisha don't look at all convincing, and some can look just plain foul. I say this as a person who has gone to Kyoto quite a few times.

All in all, you can speak to geisha and become fond of the Japanese arts and become an art enthusiast, or even an anthropologist, but as far as you becoming a geisha, don't bet on it. Ever. You can also dress as a maiko at an anime convention. I'm actually good with maiko makeup myself (I've been studying geisha culture since I was 16. I'm 21), so if you have any questions, I can tell you about applying it. However, as a fellow black woman, I would totally advise against it, 100%.
by A. rate this post as useful

0_0 2008/8/6 12:08
Well, i guess i should thank you...ma'am. You say you'd like to help me or talk to me, but you left no way for me to contact you...
by Yasmeen rate this post as useful

other factors 2008/8/6 17:10
I have an acquaintance who is the proprietress of a Geisha house in Tokyo. I know for a fact that she is willing to train geisha, and in fact is looking for disciples anywhere from age 16 to 30. I would assume that if you speak perfect Japanese and are culturally integrated into Japanese society, it would be possible to become geisha.

However, one of the things that everyone on this board has overlooked so far is the sheer COST involved in geisha training. It is insanely expensive. Only filty rich people can afford to send their girls to be trained as geisha. If you have this kind of money, of course you are free to dispose of it as you like. But additionally, as a westerner (because in this situation the black/white distinction is not nearly as relevant as the Japanese/non-Japanese one) you are not as likely to be taken seriously by potential patrons. And it's the patrons who would help you earn back some of the money you shelled out on all those years of training. And after all that time, money, and effort, it would seem to be less than fulfilling to be not taken seriously, not just in regards to your provession, but as relates to your whole life. Because being geisha is a lifestyle.

An earlier poster mentioned not having time to date, etc.. One of my acquaintances' disciples who is herself a recently debuted geisha is NOT ALLOWED to date, or even go out without being chaperoned and having her "mother" micro-manage the entire evening. She explained that it would be disasterous to her carrer for her to become involved at such a time (mind you this is after years of training already). She went on to hint that in a few years, given the right kind of man, it MIGHT not be completely out of the question for her to have a romantic relationship. However (this is me speaking) geisha are not known for being the marrying kind, and very few have children of their own. Something to think about if you eventually want to have a family life.

In my opinion, the path to becoming geisha has very few rewards in relation to the number of sacrifices. And while that might seem romantic as a temporary thing, in the long run, not so much.
by sora da yo rate this post as useful

If anyone still reads this... 2011/2/3 01:43
This is directed towards "A" I don't see how you can not feel hope and want her to succeed. There is no doubt she can become Geiko.

I wish you only the best :) and if you have started...guess you'll post in a few years lol
by Sunshine (guest) rate this post as useful

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