Random facts about geisha

The first geisha were men

The white face make up used to be made with lead. The fact that it was poisionous wasn’t discovered until the Meiji era.

Maiko apply sugar water on top of their lip colouring to give them a shine

One kimono can take as long as 3 years to make. A successful geisha makes a point of pride of not wearing any kimono more than once, although it is common to pass it onto to others to wear.

“Geisha were trained to sleep with their necks on small supports (takamakura), instead of pillows, so they could keep their hairstyle perfect. To reinforce this habit, their mentors would pour rice around the base of the support. If the geisha’s head rolled off the support while she slept, rice would stick to the pomade in her hair” (Wikipedia)

Having a traditional geisha hairstyle can cause balding on the top of the head. Luckily, the use of wigs is common.

Ex-geisha Mineko Iwasaki received death threats after it was revealed that she had told “secret” information to Arthur Golden when he was researching his book “Memoirs of a Geisha”.

Steven Spielberg, Brett Ratner, Spike Jonze and Kimberly Peirce all considered directing “Memoirs of a Geisha”

The rickshaws used in “Memoirs of a Geisha” movie are from the The Last Samurai (2003). Ornamentation was added to make them look right for the period.

The film “Memoirs of a Geisha” was heavily criticized by Asian critics for having Chinese actresses portraying the geishas. In reality, according to producer Lucy Fisher, the producers held an open day for audition for Japanese actresses to audition for those roles. None turned up and they had to turn to other Asian actresses for casting.

(Memoirs of a Geisha movie trivia all from Internet Movie Database)


  1. April said,

    January 22, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Can someone please direct me to a website of a pictue of the way a geisha girl slept, with some neck support instead of a pillow. I have major neck problems and need to see what one looks like so I can get one specifically made for me. Please help me, the nerves in my neck gave me a brain aneurysm late last year and I must have one, because a normal pillow is killing me and causing extreme pain

  2. crella said,

    January 24, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Have you consulted with an orthopedic surgeon? I don’t know that a support under just your neck would be the right thing for you…..women prone to them can have strokes after a visit to the hairdresser’s, the pressure of the sink at the back of the neck partially occluding the arteries, apparently causes it. I have 3 herniated discs in my neck that for now are under control. When in acute pain, I was told to use nothing higher than a folded bath towel for a pillow. It really depends on what is wrong with you. Before you go and do something that could possibly injure you, I think you need to consult a professional.

    • Luna said,

      March 18, 2017 at 1:25 pm

      I agree with crella

  3. aisha said,

    January 28, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    I hate geishes their make ups are made from piegion poo

    • chloe said,

      January 30, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      their makeup is not made of piegeion poo it’s made from shironuri

    • Abbey said,

      June 1, 2016 at 4:50 am

      first off it wasn’t pigeon poo and secondly it wasn’t used as makeup. It was nightingale droppings used a whitening cream. Very expensive so it was not widely used.

  4. Frank Chappell said,

    August 16, 2014 at 5:42 am

    Chloe, the make up is not “made from shironuri”, Shironuri, is the act of painting the face white, it literally means ‘painting in white, and is also used by stage actors.

  5. monika said,

    March 2, 2017 at 9:22 am

    is their any problem in the kimono that was faced by geishas?

  6. Kirke said,

    November 12, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    I searched “Why do Geishas wear pillows” and this site came up but the question is not discussed.

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