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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 4:39 pm 
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I can't quote the book "Geisha" by Liza Dalby exactly but the reason why they had to do mizuage and could not be virgins was because they had to learn to "Take It". That meaning they had to learn to take the good with the bad. Geiko life isn't all sunshine, money and glamor, sometimes you have your hard times and you need to subject yourself to things that you may not like all the time. Loosing one's virginity to a man you may not want is a way to teach this lesson.


i didn´t understand this

and sorry about my spelling mistakes..it´s hard when you can´t type....


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 4:45 pm 
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Meaning, that Mizuage was put into place not only to sell off a girls virginity. It was also used to teach a girl a valuable lesson about life. Learning to take the good times, along the hard times.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 7:13 pm 
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First Year Maiko
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o.o.Well,i don´t consider sex experiences as a bad part of a person´s life,but i imagine it would be horrible to have your first time with a man you probabily has never seen in life and much older than you.....

An other information i got in IG some time ago is that was necessary for the girls have the same experience the recem married girls had.Gieshas are not supposed to get married so it was for the maiko know how it was.

Dalby wrote in the past was easy to tell apart maiko and geishas based on being virgin or not.Nowadays it is irrelevant.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:31 pm 
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First Year Maiko
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Well like I said, there's good sex and bad sex. Most of the time a young woman in old japan didn't really have a choice in the matter as far as sexual partners go.

Though I do remember an article on a maiko, and it was very recent where the Okasan was "Looking for a man that (insert Maiko's name here) can loose her virginity with".

This makes me think that It still goes on, just like a few other things, except it's not widely publicized, or brought attention to. Quite possibly hiding it, and disguising the funds earned from such a thing as donations to support the "national arts of geisha" and whatnot.

If you really think about it, it's not too outlandish of a thought.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 2:06 am 
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I think that mizuage was about virginity way back in the day in but hasn't been that way for decades.

I also think that the Shikiomi phase was meant to teach about hardships.

I don't think the sexual aspect of mizuage has been practiced for many years cause its awfully close to prostitution.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:08 am 
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I think that Mizuage (the sexual aspect of it) did at one point exist. It makes sense. I mean, here you have a girl who is extremely in debt, and unless she really wants to be independent, she certainly isn't going to make it little by little. However, even though there are prostitution laws now, who's to say that is still doesn't happen? Maybe that is just one of the things we will never know. No one can say it does or doesn't happen. And just because certain people say it doesn't, it doesn't mean that it doesn't. That a lot of doesn'ts!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:46 am 
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I was going back over this thread, and thought of something else. I think that a lot of people are unwilling to believe that Mizuage really exists or existed at one time because they don't want to be persuaded into thinking that Geisha were or are prostitutes. I think that is why there is this constant dwelling on the practice, as well, because for some people who have spent much time discovering and studying the world and ways and past of the Geisha, it causes un-ease. But, it's the facts of life. In a world where beauty and talent are all that matters, a practice like Mizuage could only make things better for the girl, even though it may be a displeasure. The same thing happens with debutantes (me being from the South, it's a good comparison). They are trained to be beautiful and talented and more refined than any other young ladies, and this is to help them get a husband who has money and power and can supply them with whatever they need...and what do you think the new debutante wife does in return? I'll tell you, she doesn't serve him tea! No pun intended. And another thing...some of the girls who choose to become Geisha don't even do it because they are enthralled by the traditional arts. As a Geisha, you get to experience going to the best restaurants, meeting powerful people, and this is what gets you to where you want to go in life. I have heard many an Okasan explain it so. In a way, Geisha are more than just artists, they are also business women. They know what sells and what doesn't. Just like strippers know what men want, and they exploit it, as do Geisha. When they are at a banquet, they are performing. Even though there is much respect involved in their dancing and speaking and body language...they are selling their craft...in one big package. There are no illusions for them.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:50 am 
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Katsumiyo wrote:
I was going back over this thread, and thought of something else. I think that a lot of people are unwilling to believe that Mizuage really exists or existed at one time because they don't want to be persuaded into thinking that Geisha were or are prostitutes. I think that is why there is this constant dwelling on the practice, as well, because for some people who have spent much time discovering and studying the world and ways and past of the Geisha, it causes un-ease. But, it's the facts of life. In a world where beauty and talent are all that matters, a practice like Mizuage could only make things better for the girl, even though it may be a displeasure. The same thing happens with debutantes (me being from the South, it's a good comparison). They are trained to be beautiful and talented and more refined than any other young ladies, and this is to help them get a husband who has money and power and can supply them with whatever they need...and what do you think the new debutante wife does in return? I'll tell you, she doesn't serve him tea! No pun intended. And another thing...some of the girls who choose to become Geisha don't even do it because they are enthralled by the traditional arts. As a Geisha, you get to experience going to the best restaurants, meeting powerful people, and this is what gets you to where you want to go in life. I have heard many an Okasan explain it so. In a way, Geisha are more than just artists, they are also business women. They know what sells and what doesn't. Just like strippers know what men want, and they exploit it, as do Geisha. When they are at a banquet, they are performing. Even though there is much respect involved in their dancing and speaking and body language...they are selling their craft...in one big package. There are no illusions for them.


Ditto.

That is all. :wink:


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 6:54 am 
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Cortana wrote:
Katsumiyo wrote:
I was going back over this thread, and thought of something else. I think that a lot of people are unwilling to believe that Mizuage really exists or existed at one time because they don't want to be persuaded into thinking that Geisha were or are prostitutes. I think that is why there is this constant dwelling on the practice, as well, because for some people who have spent much time discovering and studying the world and ways and past of the Geisha, it causes un-ease. But, it's the facts of life. In a world where beauty and talent are all that matters, a practice like Mizuage could only make things better for the girl, even though it may be a displeasure. The same thing happens with debutantes (me being from the South, it's a good comparison). They are trained to be beautiful and talented and more refined than any other young ladies, and this is to help them get a husband who has money and power and can supply them with whatever they need...and what do you think the new debutante wife does in return? I'll tell you, she doesn't serve him tea! No pun intended. And another thing...some of the girls who choose to become Geisha don't even do it because they are enthralled by the traditional arts. As a Geisha, you get to experience going to the best restaurants, meeting powerful people, and this is what gets you to where you want to go in life. I have heard many an Okasan explain it so. In a way, Geisha are more than just artists, they are also business women. They know what sells and what doesn't. Just like strippers know what men want, and they exploit it, as do Geisha. When they are at a banquet, they are performing. Even though there is much respect involved in their dancing and speaking and body language...they are selling their craft...in one big package. There are no illusions for them.


Ditto.

That is all. :wink:
so so very true.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:54 am 
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I think it's also a misunderstanding of the culture. Historically, sex has always been more of a casual affair in Japan than it has been in Western countries. Japan's sexuality wasn't dictated by strict religous notions and edicts like Europe's and America's were.

So, mizuage was hardly outrageous at the time. There were other practices going on that helped put mizuage into a proper context. Shudo was common at the time, too, where older men (sterotypically samurai) would take younger boys as their lovers, and in the Heian Period, homosexuality was rampant due to the separation of the sex's living quarters. Having a large string of lovers in the Heian Period was also the norm, for both men and women. Love Suicides were the height of romanticism in the Edo Period. So, with this context in mind, mizuage doesn't really seem that weird.

The way I see it, a girl wouldn't have been very sexy if she stayed a virgin for long, and geisha were the height of sex appeal. So, she was going to have lose her virginity eventually. In some cases, I hear it wasn't sold but sort of given to a close patron of the okiya, and other times it was sold. Both make sense to me. Then, when you consider the process of mizuage itself, with the man wiping eggs on the girl's legs for a week, it's all about getting her used to sex and being sexy, as opposed to him just savagely deflowering her. It doesn't have anything to do with prostitution, as far as I'm concerned.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:30 pm 
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Shikomi
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When i read Mineko Iwasaki's book, she stated that the confusion with Mizuage came about due to the fact that both courtesans and geisha performed Mizuage, except that courtesans Mizuage involved the selling of virginity while Maiko's Mizuage did not, and that these two versions of Mizuage have simply being confused over time.

However, i read a very good and interesting book called "Yoshiwara" By Cecilia Segawa Seigle a while back and she basically stated that actually there is good reason for confusion concerning Mizuage, prostitution and Geisha.
Apparently, in the Edo period there were many Geisha districts, and although on the outside the main image/description of Geisha was one of talented women who sold non-sexual services like entertaining at parties etc, in reality there were actually a great deal of women who were officially geisha but practiced some degree of prostitution (from the selling of virginity, to sleeping with patrons for money etc). To add to the confusion, there were also a lot of geisha that practiced no such stuff.

Back in olden days in Japan, you needed a license to practice prostitution- because there were a fair amount of geisha who practiced some degree of prostitution as well as many who didn't, in the early Meiji period the government basically sorted the situation out by ordering those geisha who wished to practice prostitution to obtain a permit/license to do so or receive a punishment for practicing any form of prostitution without a permit/license.

So, what we can surmise from this is that while the image of Geisha has always been first and foremost one that is very concentrated on the arts and skills of geisha, there were certainly some geisha in the past which sold their virginity and slept with their patrons.
When Mineko stated that her okiya had never sold maiko's virginities she was probably telling the truth, but just because her household didn't do stuff like that, certainly does not mean that other okiya's did not do stuff like that in the past. We actually have an account of a real Taisho/early Showa period geisha called Teruha (her lovely name translates as "shining leaf") who (apparently) said that her virginity was sold when she went through Mizuage as a young teenage Maiko (more about Teruha: http://www.geikogallery.bizland.com/Teruha1.htm ).


Mineko is a real Geisha so we do have to take seriously what she says on this matter- but IMHO she was a geisha in very modern times and didn't become a geisha until long after the anti-prostitution act in the late 1950's, and so to be honest she can't really speak for geisha who lived and practiced before the act, particularly geisha who lived at the turn of the 20th century and earlier. Also you can easily argue that she has biased motives, and that she certainly lived a charmed life growing up in a very upper class Okiya which had very high standards.

In the 1920s there were over 80,000 geisha in Japan- how can anyone say for certain that no Maiko had their virginity sold as a part of their Mizuage?

Personally, based on what i've learnt so far...I would say that the selling of virginity did go on in the geisha world, probably mostly before WW2 in particular. Not necessarily every okiya practiced it, but i would say that there is just as much evidence to say that it did go on than it didn't, but based on the way society was back then and what people's attitudes towards women, sex, prostitution and the "flower and willow world" back then were, i would say the selling of Maiko's virginity probably did go on (i think Geisha probably also sometimes slept with their patron even if they weren't attracted to him, so that they could help secure their patrons interest).

These are just my personal opinions on the subject at current ^_^ .


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:24 am 
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I still try and take whatever Mineko Iwasaki Said with a grain of salt because she wasn't a geisha before the anti prostitution ban of 1950. She also tries too hard to try and cover up the fact that geisha did get into sexual relationships with their customers, albeit for monetary support.

As much as I admire Mineko she still gets on my nerves because she comes off as spoiled in her book.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:51 pm 
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Cortana wrote:
I still try and take whatever Mineko Iwasaki Said with a grain of salt because she wasn't a geisha before the anti prostitution ban of 1950. She also tries too hard to try and cover up the fact that geisha did get into sexual relationships with their customers, albeit for monetary support.

As much as I admire Mineko she still gets on my nerves because she comes off as spoiled in her book.


Mineko was a pretty spoilt kid, but then again she did work exceptionally & unimaginably hard as a maiko and geisha, and she didn't always have things her way. I do respect her a lot for what she achieved in life.

But i do agree though that her opinions on the subject on Mizuage do come off as rather biased- IMHO she gives the impression that she knows it all when it comes to mizuage (even though she probably doesn't) and that people who dispute the history of mizuage are ignorant.
I think the reason why she tries to de-sexualise geisha is that a part of her is probably trying to repair the damage that MoaG did when it comes to the general publics image of geisha, while another part of her is trying to restore her own reputation and image within the geisha community.
I do believe her own life story, but as you said she's a post-1958 geisha and so it would be very odd if she did sell her virginity in mizuage or knew any other maiko her age who did.


Anyways, before WW2 people had the right to do whatever they wanted to their children- whether they wanted to sell them, work them, beat them or even prostitute them, it was all well within parents rights to do pretty much whatever they wanted with their children.
In such a world where all of this was the norm and generally accepted, i really wouldn't find or surprising if okiya's sometimes sold their maiko's virginities. In a lot of maiko's cases it would make financial sense to do so, and i am sure there were a lot of maiko willing to do it in an effort to pay back their debts quicker and so attain independence sooner.
In modern western society a lot of us find the notion of a young girl selling her virginity to some old rich perverted man appalling, but then again this is mostly down to our age-old culture. In a different culture and a different part of the world, i wouldn't be surprised if a lot of maiko in the past looked forward to their mizuage with anticipation, rather than viewing it with dread, horror and misery.


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 Post subject: Re: Mizuage - myth, or reality?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:53 pm 
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Heyya everyone. (^0^)/ I'm not really new, but I've never really registered. (I'm a lurker, guilty as charged.) But then I was writing a story and ended up back here, looking for supplemental information on the mizuage, beyond what I already know so well. This site has always been a treasure trove of people who generally know what they're talking about and love the topics at hand, so I couldn't pass it up.

But, I really wanted to say - I have to disagree with the majority of this statement.

Quote:
I can't quote the book "Geisha" by Liza Dalby exactly but the reason why they had to do mizuage and could not be virgins was because they had to learn to "Take It". That meaning they had to learn to take the good with the bad. Geiko life isn't all sunshine, money and glamor, sometimes you have your hard times and you need to subject yourself to things that you may not like all the time. Loosing one's virginity to a man you may not want is a way to teach this lesson.


While it's true that geiko life isn't always as picture perfect as people romantically dream it to be, I respectfully disagree with that particular interpretation of Dalby's descriptions and experiences with the mizuage ritual. Saying that the whole thing was meant to teach geisha to "take it", or metaphorically buck up and deal with things... that's not at all what Dalby (or any of the other authors or biographers) are trying to say.

The mizuage was no more and no less than a coming of age ceremony; whether they actually sold their virginity in the ceremony varied from district to district and from decade to decade - not to mention the opinion of the okiya and the maiko's sponsor. Traditionally though, as any number of writers have pointed out, in the case that the virginity was sold off, the money generally went to the okiya or to sponsor the maiko's official debut as a true geisha. It's not meant to be prostitution or a lesson in "shut up and deal with it", though undoubtedly some people could have taken it as such. The deal was for the money and the experience; whatever life lessons that might (or might not) have come out of it are pure speculation on our parts and would have been independent of factual history and related solely to the geisha in question. But in the end, the selling of one's virginity would have been (if it did occur) like any other interaction between a geisha and a patron - a business arrangement, period.


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 Post subject: Re: Mizuage - myth, or reality?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:30 am 
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Nowdays the promotion of a Junior Maiko to a Senior Maiko is just a party. Is the party called Mizuage? Or is it just Wage-kae? (changing of Wareshinobu to Ofuku)

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