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A geisha is a Japanese woman who, as a profession, entertains men. She is trained from childhood, common in the 18th and 19th centuries, still in existence today, although fewer in number. They were skilled entertainers who endured years of hard training. Firstly as maids (child slaves), and once they are to become an apprentice geisha (maiko) would begin to learn how to dance, sing, play the samisen (a kind of banjo instrument) and in general practice the art of being a geisha. The word geisha literally means 'arts person' or artisan. Geisha were not prostitutes. They were not obliged to have sex with anyone apart from a single time with the man who pays for her 'mizuage' (her virginity).

See also cosmetics.

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