Geisha Girl - Japanese True Beauty - why is this tradition still popular in the modern age?
Durasi : 58:27
Yukina is from a small town in the north of Japan. She has made the decision to leave school at 15 and move to the ancient city of Kyoto to follow one of Japan's most traditional professions. Stunningly filmed and with exclusive access, Yukina's journey gives a unique insight into the sacrifice and dedication needed to enter the closed but privileged world of the Geisha. After Japan's economic collapse in the 1990s the world of the geisha was badly affected. The rich clients diminished and with it a profession that dated back hundreds of years. Today there are fewer than 1,000 geisha in the whole of Japan. From the bustling streets of Kyoto we go inside the Okiya, or the geisha house, where Yukina will now live in for the next five years with the Okasan or geisha mother. Discipline is paramount. Under house rules Yukina is banned from returning home for 18 months and is not allowed to phone home. After only a few days she's finding it hard to cope with the loneliness and isolation. "I miss my friends. They are all at home together and I wonder what is going on. Here I have no one to talk to." In stark contrast to the formality of the geisha house in Kyoto we meet her family back home in rural Yamangata, Northern Japan (her warm, fun-loving mother, who is concerned and worried for Yukina says, "I couldn't believe her decision to train to be a geisha. It is so unusual we were staggered. I miss her so much") and her school friends who tell stories about the Yukina they knew, the teenage girl who'd said she wanted to become a cartoonist. Yukina explains that she thought she'd like to become a geisha because of her love of Japanese dance. But at just 15 years old she's afraid of talking to men and is unsure of how she'd handle any unwanted advances. "I hope it doesn't happen as I'm only a teenager but if it did I'd try my hardest to politely refuse." We join her at her first official party, where she has to entertain drunken clients nearly three times her age. Through the first six months of her training she sheds her jeans and teenage identity, taking a new geisha name and wearing traditional clothes and make-up. Six months after Yukina left home we join her mother as she arrives in Kyoto to attend Yukina's Misedashi, the official ceremony where she is accepted into the community as a trainee geisha. It's the first time she's seen her since she left and is shocked at how grown-up she's become. Formally dressed up, she is one of the newest members of the geisha community and is paraded through the streets of Kyoto.