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The History & Art of the Geisha (FULL DOCUMENTARY)


Real Geisha Real Women (2009)–Documentary–Complete Film, English Subtitles

Real Geisha Real Women is a documentary by Peter MacIntosh about the lives of several women in Kyoto, Japan of various generations who are, or have been, maiko and geiko (the Kyoto terms for geisha).

Their stories are told in their own words as a series of vignettes without the use of a narrator. Rare footage of their journeys outside of Kyoto includes a hometown visit, a trip to Tokyo, as well as travels abroad.

Peter Macintosh has lived in Kyoto, Japan among the geisha community for nearly a quarter century. He has worked as a liaison and coordinator on geisha-related documentaries, including productions for BBC, BNN, Swiss Television, National Geographic, A&E, and many more. He also worked with the location scouting team for Hollywood's Memoirs of a Geisha.

Learn more about Peter and his projects at and

Real Geisha Real Women (2009)
Directed by Peter MacIntosh.
Director of Photography and Edited by John Wells

The Life of a Modern Japanese Geisha

The geisha are alive and well in Japan – though foreigners rarely catch even a glimpse of them. Meet Kobai-san, a 63-year-old geisha, and discover the truth about the mysterious Willow World...

• Why do young girls become geisha nowadays?
• How do you hire a geisha?
• How can you tell a geisha from a maiko (apprentice geisha)?

A few things you probably didn’t know about the geisha
• They are NOT prostitutes. They are hired for their artistic skills and considerable social graces.
• Geisha live in communities of women and are entirely independent of men (though they may have boyfriends).
• Geisha can be in their 70s – they often earn more as they get older.
• Apprentice geisha are far more elaborately dressed than fully-fledged geisha.


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Beautiful Kyoto: Being a Maiko (featuring Fukunae-san)

Though a lot of what goes on in Kyoto's geisha districts takes place in private teahouses and behind gilded screens, it's no secret that maiko (geisha apprentices) lead strict and challenging lifestyles in the pursuit of their art.

Last year the Kyoto Fan (Discover Kyoto) team had the privilege of interviewing one of Miyagawa-chō's hard working maiko, Fukunae-san, to see what kind of training and preparation she goes through in order to one day become a top class geisha (or geiko, as they are called in Kyoto). Follow along as Fukunae-san takes us through an average day in her life, including music study, hair and make-up, dressing, and entertaining in the evenings. We hope you too will one day have a chance to experience this amazing Kyoto tradition.

To see more of what Kyoto has to offer, check out our website:

Japan and the mystery of the Geisha

Japan: land of technology, light, pulsating energy.
The nation's race towards the future never stops. This country's technology is one of the most advanced in the world, its architecture one of the most envied, and its communication the most enterprising.
One might imagine that microchips, nanotechnolgy, robots, and ultra dynamic, anti-seismic architecture have cancelled out its centuries-old history, its beliefs and traditions. But it has not.
This is a world caught up in the frenetic quest for the new, but also deliberately connected to its past. Made up of people who love their history and want to hand it down and protect it from the encroaching future
This ever-changing, mutating world still finds space for the geisha, those enigmatic custodians of beauty with their alabaster skin and red lips, who still follow the ancient codes of Japanese tradition.
In the West, the geisha is generally seen as little more than a high-class prostitute. This is a misunderstanding. She is the incarnation of one of the many souls of Japan. She is a sophisticated woman, who loves her clients -- without making love to them. For an entire night, she will help them escape their high-tech reality and everyday life, their very existence.
For the very first time, the cameras are allowed into this realm of flowers and weeping willows, where the ancient, enigmatic and fascinating game of the geisha still goes on.

TOKYO EYE 2020 History of Geisha in Asakusa

Evening with Geisha - Real Geisha, Real Stories 2019 West Coast Tour

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47 Ronin Festival - Ako Gishisai in Ako, Hyogo 四十七士

47 Ronin or Chushingura is one of the most famous samurai stories in Japan. On December 14th, 1702 47 masterless samurai (ronin) attacked and killed their late lord's enemy. This caused quite a controversy because on the one hand they were seen as upholding their samurai code of loyalty but on the other they had broken the law and had killed a government official. Eventually it was decided they would have to die but instead of being killed as common criminals they would be allowed the honor of seppuku - ritual suicide.

Ako in Hyogo prefecture holds a festival every December 14th honoring their hometown heroes with a 3-hour long parade with marching bands, dancers, chanbara sword performance, and taiko drumming.

For a lengthy historical discussion on the 47 Ronin:

Meeting REAL Japanese GEISHA in Kyoto

---- VLOG STARTS AT 1:50 ---------
This is definitely something that I'm proud to tick off my bucket list! Geisha is a Japanese female entertainer studying ancient arts and traditions. There are only a few Geisha left in the world and we were lucky enough to have a chance to play games and sing songs with Kyoto's Maiko and Geiko.

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Old pictures of Japanese courtesans

I collected a bunch of old pictures while I was making can you distinguish series.

Is Geisha a Profession or Prostitution? in 1 minute - JapaNEWS #31 (#1 of 4 Geisha series)

Have you learned something about Geisha with fun and ease? That's my intention of creating this JapaNEWS series to teach Japanese culture & language in small bites!
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Geisha Don't Scurry in the Rain

I invited a friend over to see my mother-in-law's neighborhood, Miyagawa-cho, one of the 5 geisha districts in kyoto, but it was a rainy day. I didn't take more than a few pictures, but after he left the evening's geisha assignations got underway, so I captured a bit of the movement as a summer shower started.

Real Geisha ceremony in Tokyo Japan

Real geisha ceremony in Tokyo Japan.

Inside the Secret Life of a Geisha

This is a rather interesting story of a beautiful girl who is a geisha. You may learn a little something.

47 Ronin Festival - Ako Gishi-sai Yamashina Kyoto 山科義士まつり

47 Ronin Festival in Yamashina, Kyoto. The 47 Ronin story is one of the most famous stories in Japan inspiring kabuki plays, movies, novels, TV dramas, and documentaries. On December 14, 1702 47 masterless samurai killed their late master's enemy. Though lauded for adhering to the code of bushido they were required to die but were granted the honor of seppuku (ritual suicide).

The ronin had been watched by spies especially their leader Oishi Kuranosuke. To throw them off, Oishi moved to Yamashina near Kyoto and lived a carefree life of women, wine, and song. When the spies' guard dropped Oishi stole away to Edo (Tokyo) and enacted his revenge.

This connection with the 47 Ronin is the origin of the Ako Gishi-sai Festival in Yamashina which takes place on December 14 starting from Bishamondo Temple and ending at Oishi Shrine. At a nearby theater they re-enact scenes from the story

Differences between a Geiko (Geisha) and a Maiko (with subtitles) 【HD】

In this video Geiko Miehina and Maiko Fukunae, both from the Miyagawa ward of Kyoto, explain to us the differences between a Geiko (Geisha) and a Maiko (apprentice), at the Kyoto Fan Event Maiko Spring 2012, at KYOTO DESIGN HOUSE.

Hair, make up, Kimono and accessories are the topics covered on their explanation.

Knowing these details can also help you to tell the difference between tourists dressed in Geisha costume and the real Geiko/Maiko walking on the streets of Kyoto.

For more info and events going on in Kyoto, take a look at our website:


Also don't forget to take a look at KYOTO DESIGN HOUSE:


geisha girl performing

show in kyoto

Short Clip of REAL Geisha

Elaine shot this by accident.

Can Black Girls Become Maikos(Geishas)? | Flight Attendant Life | Maiko Experience Kyoto

Maiko Experience Kyoto:
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Alexis and I got to visit the Maiko Makeup Experience in Kyoto, Japan. We were able to put on traditional Japanese Maiko Makeup, wear kimonos, learn about Maiko (because I had no idea what that was before this) and take some lovely pictures. A bit nervous because we weren't sure how the makeup look would turn out on us, but we really actually enjoyed it and I encourage men and women who are going to Kyoto to try it!! #MaikoExperience
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Kimicho: An American Geisha in Tokyo, Japan

Did you know? There are about ONLY 6 foreigners permitted to train as geishas in Japan, and I was lucky enough to interview one of them: Kimicho! (

She's an American geisha at one of the geisha houses located in the Omori Kaigan district of Tokyo.

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I am Aileen Adalid. At 21, I quit my corporate job in the Philippines to travel the world. Today, I am a digital nomad and entrepreneur living a sustainable travel lifestyle.

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Winter Comes To The Geisha



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