• Alysa Salzberg

A Japanese tradition fights to survive the pandemic

Considered a figure of beauty who preserves and celebrates Japanese cultural traditions, a geisha has to spend hours perfecting everything from traditional dances, to graceful movements, to witty conversation.


It takes immense amounts of time to learn and keep up with these cultural practices, in order to be able to perform them perfectly. Today, many women can’t or don’t want to take the time. That’s why veteran Tokyo geisha Ikuko believes the profession is dying out. In the 1960’s, there were 400 geisha in her neighborhood. Today, there are only20.


And things don’t seem like they’ll get better. With COVID-19 prevention measures in place, large gatherings are prohibited, as is close proximity. Unfortunately, geisha make their living as entertainers at parties.


Ikuko has noticed that many geisha have had to accept government aid, and others have had to quit the profession entirely. What will happen by the end of the pandemic?


Read on to learn more about the world of modern-day geisha and how the coronavirus pandemic has changed so much of the life they knew.



Close-up of an image from the article.

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