Date of Award


Document Type

Distinction Paper

Degree Name

Art with Art Education Concentration-BA




Amy Johnson

First Committee Member

Janice Glowski

Second Committee Member

Meredith Meyer


Geisha, Japanese Culture, Japanese Aesthetics, Iki, Geiko, Maiko, Traditional Arts

Subject Categories

Asian Art and Architecture | Higher Education | Japanese Studies


Since the Edo period, geisha have existed as living embodiments of the Japanese arts and aesthetic culture. The true world of the geisha is little known or understood, especially in the west, and misconceptions continue to be perpetuated through popular media. The primary representation of geisha often focuses on their role in relation to male patrons, rather than on artistic accomplishments and cultural value as individuals. This research analyzes the evolution of aesthetics, as being central to expressions of Japanese artistic practices that contributed to the role of the geisha within historical social spaces. Through establishing context for historical precedent, and modern custom and experience within the geisha world, it explores the self-representation of geisha as artists and contributors to the continuation of traditional practices. The aim of this paper is to inspire appreciation and understanding for the geisha as living embodiments of art, and by extension, Japanese traditional culture.

Licensing Permission

Copyright, all rights reserved. Fair Use

Acknowledgement 1


Acknowledgement 2