Monday, November 8, 2010

The Changing World of Japan's Geisha

A very cool video report from Al Jazeera no less!

Japan is reeling from a 20-year economic slump, and has recently been surpassed by China as the world's second-largest economy. What the Japanese call the "lost years" have taken a serious toll on some of the country's most beloved cultural icons, including the Geisha. Instead of charging several hundred dollars for tea, dancing and artful conversation, many now have to look for other ways to make a living. Al Jazeera's Steve Chao reports. Shot and edited by Matthew Allard.

The changing world of Japan's Geisha from Matthew Allard on Vimeo.

The Geisha from Matthew Allard on Vimeo.

Gearfuse adds:

At the peak of their career, they numbered over 80,000 in Japan. Now, boiled down to a number lower than 1,000, the modern geisha has become more a novelty than the once revered and exclusive figures they once were. Largely the result of a 20-year economic slump in Japan, professional geisha, born and raised into the life of servitude, entertainment and feminine grace, have largely become a show for tourists, rather than the companions for the extremely wealthy and powerful in decades and even centuries past.

Thanks to I Heart Chaos.

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1 comment:

Ira Hata said...

It's very sad, Mike.

Until the 80's, a night out with Geisha in Gion (Kyoto) would cost in the millions of yen.

My grandfather's business was based in Kyoto and he used to go to Gion every night. He was the 9th generation owner of a 300 year old lacquerware company.

Nowadays, there ain't anymore high rollers like him anymore. Most likely because of the incompetent politicians letting this country go down the toilet.

Too bad...