Posted by: rbbadger | February 26, 2010

Geisha TV commercial

One thing which people often associate with Japan are the geisha.  The geisha are professional etertainers who are skilled in the traditional music and dance of Japan.  While sometimes they are seen, especially by non-Japanese, as prostitutes, the reality is quite a bit different.  Their job is to show up at parties and entertain the clients.  In a sense, they are to be live flowers at social occasions.  They are not prostitutes.  I saw on the Discovery Channel a while back the story of Shoji Yukina, a fifteen year-old girl from northern Japan who gave up high school to train as a professional geisha.  It was a fascinating look at an occupation that is very much shrouded in mystery. 

Korea also had similar female entertainers.  They were known as gisaeng.  Like the geisha, they were skilled in the traditional dances and music.  They were trained at government institutes in the traditional arts.  In the 17th century, all gisaeng became slaves of the state.  (Slavery was practiced in Korea until the Gabo reforms of 1895.  It was a hereditary state, too.)  Despite often being highly accomplished as musicians, dancers, poets, and artists, the gisaeng never did quite rise above their inferior social status.  Joseon Korea was a very caste-oriented society.

A couple of geisha are appearing in a TV commercial for KFC.  You might find it entertaining.

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Responses

  1. That was entertaining. I’m still trying to catch up.


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