Secrets of Kyoto Geishas with Dr. Gavin Campbell

Secrets of Kyoto Geishas with Dr. Gavin Campbell


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Kyoto is a city of matchless beauty and cultural depth, and few embody those qualities better than the geisha. Meaning a "person of art," the geisha dedicate years to perfecting traditional skills, from music and dance to tea ceremony and flower arranging. The greatest geisha are quite literally living works of art. "She's a geisha all the way to her fingertips," people will say. But make no mistake: geisha are not wallflowers or demure playthings. To become a geisha requires drive, dedication, and determination.

For centuries the geisha world has been closed to all but a handful. This ensured discretion while also drawing an alluring veil over this "floating world." Our journey together takes us behind the fantasy into the dance studios, the dressing rooms, and the boarding houses where the geisha and their apprentices learn to weave a spell of beauty and enchantment. We learn about why women still choose this path, trace the profession's raucous and sometimes painful history, and follow contemporary women who, at the age of 15, begin a quest to join their name alongside those who proudly preserve one of Japan's greatest living arts: the Kyoto geisha.

Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, this interactive seminar is led by Dr. Gavin James Campbell, a Ph.D. professor of history at Doshisha University. Gavin has lived in Kyoto for 19 years and avidly participates in Kyoto geisha culture. He has also led Context tours in Kyoto for the last seven years, with a specialization in the "Gion Night Tour: Exploring the Geisha District."

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 24 reviews
83%
(20)
13%
(3)
4%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
A
Alette (Amsterdam, NL)
Splendid talk

Dr. Campbell is a very articulate instructor, who explains in a clear and entertaining way about geisha history. It was both informative and personal. Greatly appreciate his knowledge!

S
Susan Tiffin (Sydney, AU)
Enjoyable insights into geisha culture

This discussion was immensely enjoyable, in part because of Gavin Campbell's considerable knowledge and obvious passion for this area. The materials were excellent and gave a real flavour of contemporary geisha life.

C
Christine Arroyo (Carmel, US)
Amazingly interesting and engaging chat

Dr. Gavin Campbell is an amazing and engaging lecturer and he really makes it feel as if you've been transported to Japan and into the fascinating history and culture of the region.

K
Kathy (Potomac, US)
Great Presentation

Dr. Gavin presented a fascinating overview of the history, training and roles of the geisha. Very enlightening! We are going to Kyoto next year and will be able to visit the geisha district with our tour.

R
RICHARD EDWARDS (New York, US)

Very well-done, interesting presentation

Customer Reviews

Based on 24 reviews
83%
(20)
13%
(3)
4%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
A
Alette (Amsterdam, NL)
Splendid talk

Dr. Campbell is a very articulate instructor, who explains in a clear and entertaining way about geisha history. It was both informative and personal. Greatly appreciate his knowledge!

S
Susan Tiffin (Sydney, AU)
Enjoyable insights into geisha culture

This discussion was immensely enjoyable, in part because of Gavin Campbell's considerable knowledge and obvious passion for this area. The materials were excellent and gave a real flavour of contemporary geisha life.

C
Christine Arroyo (Carmel, US)
Amazingly interesting and engaging chat

Dr. Gavin Campbell is an amazing and engaging lecturer and he really makes it feel as if you've been transported to Japan and into the fascinating history and culture of the region.

K
Kathy (Potomac, US)
Great Presentation

Dr. Gavin presented a fascinating overview of the history, training and roles of the geisha. Very enlightening! We are going to Kyoto next year and will be able to visit the geisha district with our tour.

R
RICHARD EDWARDS (New York, US)

Very well-done, interesting presentation