Useful Terms

Useful Terms

Geisha “Arts person”

An entertainer and performer of traditional Japanese arts such as shamisen and other instruments, Japanese dance, tea ceremony, etc. Also called geigi, and in Kyoto called geiko.

Hangyouku “Half-Jewel”

An apprentice geisha, traditionally a trainee as young as 14, but now referring to a trainee up to the approximate age of 20. In Kyoto, hangyouku are called maiko.

Okiya

A house where geisha live together with their house mother, or in modern times can be imagined as the “company” a certain group of geisha belong to.

Hanamachi “Flower Town”

A licensed geisha district that contains many okiya, housing geisha, and teahouses and restaurants where they work.

Karyukai

Another term used to describe licensed red light districts, which often overlapped with hanamachi

Ryotei

A luxurious traditional Japanese restaurant.

Shamisen

A three stringed Japanese instrument similar to a banjo.

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