Sayuki of Asakusa
For the first time in the 400 year history of the geisha, a Westerner has been accepted, and on December 19, will formally debut under the name Sayuki…[she] specialized in social anthropology, a subject which requires anthropologists to actually experience the subject they are studying by participating in the society themselves….more…
To explain “gai-geisha” ….
The first word you learn in Japan is “gaijin”–literally ‘gai’ meaning outside/alien/foriegn and “jin” meaning person. Addiltionally, the word “geisha” literally ‘gei’ means the arts and ‘sha’ means a person or “doer”.
Therefore gai-geisha means “alien art doer.”
Miss Sayuki was lucky to be a Tokyo geisha do not follow the strict, multi-year, ritualized Kyoto apprentice process. The Tokyo training period can be six months to a year —a hell of lot shorter than year it would take to speak Japanese at the geisha level of sophistication—and the five years that a real Kyoto apprentice needs to go through before she debuts as a full geisha.
However, gai-geisha strike me as just elaborate cosplay and reminds me of the true geisha of Japan, Chindonya (Wikimedia), advertising clowns.