The Life, the Voices, the Art
de Jodi Cobb
Here, brought vividly to life, is an icon of Japanese culture and custom--the
geisha in her role as human work of art and perfect woman.
hundred years ago geisha numbered eighty thousand; today there are a
thousand at most. Happily, Jodi Cobb is able to show us--before they
vanish--both the ceremonial world of the geisha in Tokyo and Kyoto and
their private world as few outsiders have ever seen it.
of the older women we meet here were forced into this world by hardship;
the young women were drawn to it by their dream of a
romantic life or their love of traditional arts. We see geisha in their
daytime routines: fine-tuning their breathtakingly lavish wardrobes;
perfecting the art of makeup; training maikos (apprentices); and preparing
for annual dance performances.
as we watch the geisha at night, as they entertain (for huge sums) at
private parties, their art takes a different form. Their purpose is
to provide a dream--of luxury, romance and exclusivity. As the men sit
at dinner, geisha position themselves at their elbows to serve them
sake and delicacies and practice a brilliantly honed art of conversation.
As the alcohol flows and the guests relax, geisha play party tricks
and sing songs. Geisha have for centuries studied the male ego. They
tend it like a garden--and we watch men bloom.
long-hidden world is revealed here both in superlative photographs and
in a fascinating text that includes the voices of the geisha themselves.
These women have created a life of beauty, making themselves an embodiment
of Japanese culture, tradition and refinement--a life that is captured
exquisitely in this remarkable book.