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Context On Demand – Secrets of Kyoto Geishas with Dr. Gavin Campbell
Have you ever wondered about what it takes to become a geisha? Join this 60-minute webinar to discover the behind-the-scenes enchantment of Japanese dance studios and houses where traditional practices intersect with contemporary women who carry on a remarkable legacy.
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 will 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 most incredible living arts: the Kyoto geisha.
Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, this interactive webinar 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.
As you watch, we encourage you to think about these questions:
- What surprised you most about what you learned about Kyoto geisha?
- What images of geisha did you have before, and where did those images come from, if you can recall?
- Is this an exploitative tradition today, or does it keep alive vital elements of Kyoto tradition (or both)?
Gavin received a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and came to Kyoto in 2001. He is a Ph.D. professor of history at Doshisha University. His teaching and research revolve around Japan's cultural encounters with the West, particularly during the Edo, Meiji, Taisho and early Showa periods (1600-1940), and he has published on the history of foreign tourism and of Protestant missionaries in Japan. To further explore Japan's global cultural encounters, he is currently writing a book on the history of Japanese menswear from the 1600s through the early 20th century. He is also an expert on Kyoto geisha culture and a frequent participant in geisha entertainment.
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Each presentation is approximately 60 minutes long.
Your webinar is available to re-watch for up to 40 days from the date of purchase. Use the link in your order confirmation email to re-visit the classroom.
Input your questions into the form below your video screen on the "Watch Now" page.
This conversation is suitable for all ages.
60 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.