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Geisha Culture and Arts for Use at

Amatsu Okiya in Second Life

Glossary of Terms

Asobi: play, both for children and adults

Bon: a Midsummer Buddhist festival of souls

Bonchi: a basin or valley ringed by mountains

Buiki: not iki; boorish

Bunraku: traditional Japanese puppet theater

Butsudan: the household Buddhist shrine

Danna: a geisha's patron

Dansu Geisha: In the 1920's, geisha who danced in Western ballroom styles

Darari: a style of tying the obi sash that is used only by apprentice geisha

Desho: a geisha's most formal kimono

Edo: Tokyo (historical)

Eri: the inside collar of a kimono, at the back of the neck

Erikae o suru: "to turn one's collar" this expression marks the transition from maiko to geisha

Flower-and-Willow-World: Geisha society as a whole

Fudangi: kimono - every day wear vs Haregi, formal wear

Furisode: "swinging-sleeve" kimono worn by unmarried girls

Geigi: alternate term for geisha

Geiko: a fully qualified geisha (especially in Kyoto)

Geta: informal wooden sandals

Giri: Duty, honor, obligation

Hanamachi: a geisha district containing okiya (geisha houses) and ochaya (tea houses)

Haori: jacket worn over kimono

Hauta: a short song played on the shamisen

Hiki Iwai: Celebration of a woman's departure from the geisha life

Iki: an aesthetic of sophisticated partying associated with with the flower-and-willow world

Jikata: a geisha specializing in playing music and singing

Jimae geiko: an independent geisha who has finished her apprenticeship at an okiya

Kaburenjo: a geisha dance theater and rehearsal space

Kagami mochi: round, hard cakes of pounded glutinous rice

Kenban: the auditing and registration office of a geisha district

Kota: thirteen stringed rectangular harp

Machiai: Geisha entertainment rooms formerly popular in Tokyo

Maiko: an apprentice Kyoto geisha usually aged between about fifteen and twenty-one

Marumage: traditional hairstyle for adult women

Meiji: historical period (1868-1912) and reigning emperor

Minarai: an apprentice maiko, learning by observation

Misedashi: a maiko's formal debut

Mizuage: the arranged deflowering of a maiko (historical)

Momoware: traditional hairstyle worn by young girls, now seen only on the maiko of Kyoto

Mon: crest or insignia

Musume-bun: the "role of daughter" in the fictive kinship system of geisha communities

Nihon Buyo: traditional Japanese dance

Obi: a kimono sash

Ochaya: (tea house) an exclusive function room catering to regular customers only

Oiran: Edo courtesan (historical)

Okobo: platform clogs worn by maiko

Okamisan: proprietress of a shop or tea house

Okasan: "Mother", the term used by geisha for tea house managers or okiya owners

Okiya: a house in which Kyoto geiko and maiko live

Okobo: special high clogs worn by maiko

Oneesan: older sister

Oniisan: older brother

Onsen: hot springs, spa

Oshiroi: the powder used for skin whitening

Otoko Geisha: Male geisha

Otokosu: a professional geisha dresser

Ozashiki: a small, private party where guests book geisha to perform in an ochaya

Ryotei: a high-class Japanese restaurant

Sakura: cherry blossoms

Sansan-kudo: "Thrice three, nine times," the ritual exchange of cups of sake in a wedding ceremony or the sisterhood ceremony of geisha

Shakuhachi: a thick bamboo clarinet

Shamisen: (also samisen): a three-stringed, banjo-like instrument

Shikomi: a maid/apprentice

Tabi: split-toed socks worn with Japanses sandals

Tachikata: a geisha specializing in dance

Taiko: a drum. Also the name of a common way of tying an obi

Taikomochi: ("drum-carrier") a male geisha

Tatami: traditional Japanese flooring, made of thickly woven straw

Tayu: Kyoto courtesan (historical)

Tokonoma: alcove in a traditional room where flowers and a hanging scroll can be displayed

Tsu: a masculine form of iki

Wabi: an aesthetic of restraint and simplicity associated with tea ceremony

Wareshinobu: a maiko hairstyle

Yukata: a cotton kimono, worn for very informal occasions; bathrobe

Zashiki: a banquet room. Also the term used by geisha for their engagements

Zori: Japanese sandals 

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