There used to be 42 geisha districts in Tokyo. Now, there are only six. "I wanted to make sure that this fantastic world survives into the modern age," Sayuki says.

Sayuki takes Lisa to a geisha office in Asukusa, where a board lists the names of each geisha and her assigned tea house. "Sometimes the tea house owners call the geisha. Sometimes it's the geisha's own customers who contact the geisha. And sometimes people call the geisha office," she says. "But there's new ways of doing things. People can contact me through my website, and a lot of people do that."

Geisha of all ages remain in demand. "The oldest geisha in Japan is 98, and the oldest in my district is 87 and she is out at banquets all of the time," Sayuki says. "Some of them have had more than 60 years of experience entertaining customers, and they're absolutely hilarious. They've got so much wisdom and so many funny things that they can talk about, and they can talk about an entirely different world at the time that they debuted when they were just 11, in some cases, or 15 in others."


Next Story