If, as most books and articles point out, geisha were not prostitutes, where did that impression come from?
Japanese prostitutes that specialized in GIs during the occupation (pan pan girls), understanding the appeal of the exotic East, used to dress up as geisha for their clients.
Why do some Westerners pronounce it “geesha”?
The prostitutes adding a bit of exotic flavour to their work for the occupation forces mentioned above chose that exagerrated American pronunciation to distinguish themselves from actual geisha, and that also later got confused.
Why do geisha have such white make up?
It is an exaggeration of the white skin that is a sign of beauty in Japan and most of Asia (as in Europe until comparatively recently, white skin proves someone is rich enough not to need to work out in the sun).It also helps set them apart from the ordinary world, so making a night with geisha an escape.
Why do geisha leave some of the back of their neck free of white make-up?
Like the character in one of the James Bond books who suffocates because he is completely covered with gold paint, they have to let their skin breathe or they’d drop down dead.
Only joking! It’s supposed to emphasise what is traditionally considered the most erotic part of the body
Why the traditional Japanese erotic focus on necks?
It makes them look vunerable??
Why are there such disagreements over whether a geisha’s virginity was sold or not?
Did the whole thing start with “Memoirs of a Geisha”??
Why did prostitutes wear the obi (belt/ sash) at the front of their kimono?
According to some, it was for ease of dressing and undressing without anyone’s help.
Why do they leave a line between the white make up and the hair?
In Japanese culture, you are always supposed to be able to see the artifice- see bonsai, kabuki, Japanese puppets etc. for other examples. No idea why you’re supposed to be able to see the artifice though…