Tourists in Kyoto warned against harassing geisha

December 30th, 2008 - 4:34 pm ICT by ANI  

London, December 30 (ANI): Japanese authorities have warned tourists against harassing the countrys famous kimono-clad geisha meaning “person of the arts” in the streets of the ancient city of Kyoto.
The move follows complaints from a large number of geisha that tourists keen to click their pictures often pursue them down the street, and tug them on the sleeves of heir kimonos
Local residents and businesses are said to have joined forces to prevent the geisha from harassment, launching patrols of the streets of the Gion entertainment district of the city so that tourists cannot pester them.
The local Government has also published warnings on its websites in English language, urging visitors not to pursue the geisha down the street with their cameras.
“Some tourists seem to have the impression that Gion is a theme park, and geisha and maiko (apprentice geisha) are walking the streets as part of a performance,” the Telegraph quoted an official at Higashiyama Ward Office, which conducted research into the harassment of geisha by tourists last year, as saying.
Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, attracted more than 49 million visiting tourists last year. The city is brimming with ancient temples, shrines and zen gardens.
It is also famously home to the nation’’s largest surviving community of geisha.
With their elaborate kimono, white painted faces, red lips and exquisite manners, geisha are traditionally trained from a young age in a range of Japanese arts like classical dance and music, in order to entertain upmarket guests at exclusive teahouses.
Complaining about the persistent attention of foreign tourists, one 18-year-old maiko told local media: “(People) approach me without saying a word and suddenly stand beside me to have photographs taken, so I get taken by surprise.”
There existed over 80,000 geisha across Japan in the 1920s, but it has become an increasingly dying art form in modern day Japan. Presently, there exist as few as 1,000 geisha. (ANI)

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