Working as a Geisha

A geisha’s job is that of hostess

All of her training goes into making sure that any function is a success and that everyone has a good time. A major part of a geisha’s work traditionally involves entertaining at parties attended by businessmen who are trying to strike deals.

A businessman will throw a geisha party to show potential clients a good time – and basically to impress them with his wealth. Geisha parties are exclusive and expensive. A geisha party can cost £200 to £300 per guest for every two hours the geisha are present.

What happens at a geisha party is strictly confidential. Men in Japan are typically reserved in public, though when attending a geisha party such constraints are lifted.

Japan’s most popular geisha districts (hanamachi, or “flower towns”) are located in Kyoto and Tokyo. Though Kyoto geisha are full time whereas Tokyo geisha finish work and lead a normal after work life The teahouses (o-chaya), inns (Ryokan) and restaurants (ryotei) where geisha entertain are concentrated in these areas.

Geisha are exclusive. You cannot simply call a geisha and hire her. When someone wants geisha to host their party, they have to can go through one of two channels: He can call the okasan of a geisha house, or he can call a teahouse where geisha entertain. This sounds relatively simple, however the issue of trust is paramount.

Customers must be trusted not to embarrass themselves or the geisha. Money is not a sure-fire way to obtain the services of a geisha. The okasan or teahouse mistress then calls the central office for geisha affairs, who handle all geisha bookings and charges the client for geisha services.

Every geisha must register with the central office in order to work in her district.

A geisha never eats with her guests when she is working. She must be working at all times, making every guest feel welcome and happy, keep the conversations going and keeping an eye on every sake cup to make sure it’s never empty.

She can be called on to dance, sing or accompany another geisha on the shamisen. She will act as a mediator and make the party a relaxing experience.

In addition to the fees the central office charges for a geisha’s time, she receives generous gifts from customers these can be anything from money to houses. Most of the money a geisha earns goes toward maintaining the okiya and keeping herself up to date with make-up, kimono and hairpieces. Her appearance is her primary asset, a living work of art.