Australian Geisha Bucks Tradition


“For Ms. Graham, there’s a silver lining: somewhere, there’s surely a book or movie deal to emerge from this.” To those of us not native to, or long-term residents of, Japan, geishas and their role in Japanese society remain rather mysterious. They are not prostitutes, but what exactly do they do? For Australian Fiona Graham, the practical solution to answering questions about the geisha was to become one. In fact, she became the only officially recognized foreign geisha in Japan’s history. But that achievement may have just been stripped away from her. Due to her recent insistence on being allowed to operate independently of the geisha house which mentored her. Ms. Graham has been ejected from the Asakusa (Tokyo) Geisha Society. Seems one of the inviolate rules of Japanese geisha culture is that only Japanese citizens are allowed to operate independently once they have completed a certain level of training. For the Australian, there seems to be no way around this rule, and the rift between her and the Association is causing a growing amount of controversy in the geisha world and beyond. (Wall Street Journal Japan RealTime – Australian Geisha Controversy)


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