The history of Geisha is six centuries in the making and is far more complex than most realize. In fact the word Geisha roughly translated means 'art' and 'person' or artist/artisan.
The first Geisha was a male, and many men in the 17th and 18th centuries worked as Geishas.
Prostitution was licensed and legalized in Japan in the middle ages until outlawed in 1958. But Geishas were not offering sex as part of their 'skill' set.
The premise of Geisha is to wear character makeup, play instruments, serve food and sake in concise ways.
Today about 1000 Geishas remain. And not since the middle 19th century has there been a male Geisha until 'Eitaro' put on the gear. Eitaro is the son of a Geisha who revived the teahouse traditions in Tokyo’s Omori port prefecture.
Eitaro is now a star as a stage performer and television personality. Following his mother's death three years ago Eitaro took over as Geisha house master. He and his sister, Maika, oversees a group of six geisha performers.
Japan is in decline but before the last paper lantern dims Geisha will likely be there to serve the last cup of sake.