Saturday, February 6, 2010

Western Geisha on Oprah This Tuesday

Fiona Graham, an Australian anthropologist, got off to a rocky start with some Japan-watchers when she first appeared on the geisha scene back in 2007, presenting herself through press releases and a personal website as history's first Western geisha (a title that could arguably go to Liza Dalby, a fellow anthropologist who quietly and informally worked as a geisha back in 1975-76 as part of her studies of the culture).

In the few years since, more details about her training and her changing attitude (she now plans to work as a geisha indefinitely rather than just for a little while) have won over some who initially doubted her. I, for one, don't know enough to judge her efforts but recent articles like the one linked above leave me impressed with her hard work and perseverance in such a demanding world.

Those curious to see Sayuki, the geisha name Graham goes by, can check out her upcoming appearance on Oprah this Tuesday as Lisa Ling travels to Tokyo to interview her.

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