Geisha

Geisha (芸者) (; Japanese: [ɡeːɕa]), also known as geiko (芸子) (in Kyoto and Kanazawa) or geigi (芸妓) are a class of female Japanese performance artists and entertainers trained in traditional Japanese performing arts styles, such as dance, music and singing, as well as being proficient conversationalists and hosts. Their distinct appearance is characterised by long, trailing kimono, traditional hairstyles and oshiroi make-up. Geisha entertain at parties known as ozashiki, often for the entertainment of wealthy clientele.

Contrary to popular belief, modern geisha are not prostitutes; this misconception originated in the West due to the conflation of Japanese courtesans, modern day courtesan reenactors, the extant tayū, and sex workers, who historically also wore kimono. It was also the case that historically most geisha were male, only later becoming a profession mainly characterised by female workers. A number of geisha have been classified as "living national treasures" by the Government of Japan, the highest artistic award attainable in the country.