The ideal wife was a modest mother and manager of the home; by Confucian custom love had secondary importance.
For sexual enjoyment and romantic attachment, men did not go to their wives, but to courtesans.
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Profile of geiko Kimiha from Miyagawacho, wearing a formal black kimono (tomesode) and a Shimada-styled nihongami wig. All these are details which clearly distinguish her from a maiko (an apprentice).
are traditional Japanese female entertainers who act as hostesses.
Their wide skills include performing various arts such as Japanese classical music and traditional dance, witty games and conversation, traditionally to entertain male customers, but also female customers today. The white make-up and elaborate kimono and hair of a maiko is the popular image held of geisha.
A girl is often a shikomi for up to a year while the modern minarai period is simply one month.
It is still said that geisha inhabit a separate world which they call the Karyūkai or "The Flower and Willow World".
After the imperial court moved the capital to Heian-kyō (Kyoto) in 794 the conditions that would form geisha culture began to emerge, as it became the home of a beauty-obsessed elite.
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The geisha who worked within the pleasure quarters were essentially imprisoned and strictly forbidden to sell sex in order to protect the business of the oiran.
While licensed courtesans existed to meet men's sexual needs, machi geisha carved out a separate niche as artists and erudite female companions.