Friday, September 9, 2011

Video: A Day in the Life of a Geisha

I find the world of the geisha interesting, as it seems anyone who collects kimono eventually finds their way to a book... or two... or three... about geisha (they're some of the few women left in Japan who wear kimono on a daily basis).

However, it can be hard to find unbiased, even reporting about geisha in the West. There's not a lot of information in English, but there are plenty of stereotypes (exotic, unknowable Japan we can never exotically know!) and misconceptions (geisha = prostitutes) and they tend to color most of what gets put out in the media.

So it made me quite happy to see The Telegraph's "A Day in the Life of a Geisha".

Miehina is a real geisha working in Kyoto. Rather than adoringly focus on the glitzy side of her profession (beautiful clothing, public performances, exotic whiteface) as it seems many reporters do, Glen Milner chose to clearly show that it has ups and downs, like any other job.

The kimono, dancing, and make-up are there, but there is also honest talk about how tired she is with her schedule of training and entertaining, and she is shown speaking directly into the camera fresh-faced. The dance shown is not on a stage, but in a small room with cars driving past the window behind her.

To me, the whole feel of the video was of a real person working hard at something that she loves, and something that demands a lot of her. Check it out if you get a chance!

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