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SMAD. An Organ of Student Opinion. 1936. Volume 7. Number 8.

The Japanese Geisha — Bizarre Occupation

The Japanese Geisha

Bizarre Occupation

Some misunderstanding seems to exist in the minds of New Zenlanders as to the status of geisha in Japan.' The geisha are professional entertainers. Their job is to amuse and. nothing more. Certainly the lives of a few are not above reproach—rich men sometimes have geisha mistresses—but as a whole, they are respectable enough. There is, in Tokyo, a a geisha employment bureau. Anyone wishing to hire some geisha has only to ring up the bureau. The chnrges range upwards from 7 yen (1 yen = 1/6) an hour according to the popularity of the particular geisha. During an evening at a geisha house, the girls come in hourly relays.

When a geisha is too old to be attractive, she often sets up as a mistress of a geisha house, herself. Among our follows, the geisha were always placed in two categories—those with "fancy hair" or the typical Japanese style of hairdressing, and those, whom we preferred, with a more Western style which, I believe, is favoured by the girls themselves as it entails less trouble. A striking feature of their dress is the obi or Bash, often very beautifully and delicately embroidered.

Entertainment is very interesting and varies from jazz to old Japanese folk songs and dances. A lofty forward in stockinged feet fox-trotting with a diminutive geisha was well worth going a long way to see.

A few spoke a little English, and one whose name was "Happy Spring" spoke it charmingly and fluently with devastating effect on a prominent Tournament delegate.

A Japanese gentleman leaves most of the entertaining to the geisha, but we returned item for item. The fragile walls were endangered by the resounding of hakas and songs. A Maori canoe song with appropriate actions was a special hit, despite the fact that only one or us knew all the words, the others being content to repeat the first has over and over again.