Few are allowed behind the created curtains of the ancient teahouses of Japan, and as a result, misconceptions have arisen about the roles of the female entertainers - popularly known as geisha - who work within them. It is with Japan's ancient capital, Kyoto, that these women are historically associated and where the traditional strictures of their training are still upheld today. Here they are called maiko during their apprentice years, and geiko when they reach the required level of artistic skill. Geisha describes every aspect of the often harsh lives of these remarkable women: their elaborate dress, hair and make-up; the ceremonies and rituals in which they are involved; their accomplishment in traditional artistic skills and their relationships with men and the outside world.
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