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79号议案之际 看日本文化艺术
Geisha, one of Japan’s fascinating art forms



编者按:尽管中日历史上曾发生过战争并且冲突不断,但日本文化在中国乃至全世界仍深受青睐。在南京大屠杀在加国再次引发关注之际,加拿大本土出生的女孩Katie Jia撰文揭示了日本令人着迷的娱乐文化艺术瑰宝之一——艺妓的隐秘世界。
Editor’s Note:Despite historical war and conflicts between China and Japan, Japanese culture has enjoyed a more prominent position in China and around the world. At a time when Nanjing Massacre has gained renewed interest in Canada, Katie Jia, a Canadian born girl, writes to shed light on one of Japan’s fascinating and entertaining forms of art – Geisha. 
 
 
加拿大是当今最多元化的国家之一,拥有华裔和中东裔等不同族裔人口。在珍视加国多元文化的同时,对上述不同少数族裔的文化进行探索十分重要。而日本艺妓的修炼就是让我深深痴迷多年的民族传统文化之一。

Canada is one of the most diverse countries today, with ethnicities ranging from Chinese to middle-eastern. Valuing our diversity, it is important we explore the various cultures of said ethnicities. One that has kept me truly fascinated for years is the cultivation of the Japanese Geisha. 

 
艺妓这一经典女性形象在日本各地随处可见。这些传统的日本女艺人会在聚会上充当女招待以取悦男性间或女性客人。这些美艳的女艺人最常背负的污名就是妓女或“应召女郎”,但实际上,真正的艺妓与妓女有着千差万别。在经过多年的艺术、舞蹈和音乐培训后,艺妓已经成为日本艺术界的艺人,凸显出已有400年历史的日本传统文化。

Geisha, the iconic images of a woman throughout Japan. These traditional Japanese female entertainers who act as hostess serve as a purpose for the entertainment of men and sometimes women. The most common stigma associated with these beautiful entertainers is that they are prostitutes or “call girls”. However, this is far from what they truly are. Going through years of training in art, dance, and music, they are the entertainers in the Japanese art world, highlighting 400 years of Japanese culture. 

 
在与中国文化进行相比时,许多人都误以为日本的艺妓屋和中国的妓院如出一辙。在中国古代的封建社会时期,妓院一直是男人消遣娱乐的主要场所。和艺妓一样,中国的妓女或有名的“高级妓女”也是身着华服,妆容美艳,待客礼仪得体并且精通舞蹈和乐器演奏等技艺。

Compared to Chinese cultures, many had the misconception that a geisha house and Chinese brothel shared similar professions. Chinese brothel houses have been a source of entertainment since Ancient China and its feudal period. Like geishas, Chinese prostitutes, or “courtesans” as they were known as, were well dressed, groomed and had proper table manners in which they also learned skills in the art of dance and musical instruments. 

 
但是,除了与高级妓女有一些显而易见的可比之处,艺妓的隐秘生活更加鲜为人知。艺妓必须经过多年的全面培训,从事艺妓职业会得到高度尊重但却道路艰辛。艺妓拥有特殊的荣誉制度,必需经过层层级别攀升才能升级为合格的艺妓,而高级妓女则是多才多艺,既卖艺又卖身的艺人。

However, the secret life of a geisha is more than what meets the eye compared to that of a courtesan. Geishas go through years of extensive training, with the profession of being a geisha to be highly respected and difficult one. They hold a special honor system, climbing through the ranks to be a full-fledged geisha while courtesans are just talented entertainers who also provide sex services. 

 
艺妓所呈现的完美形象令人叹为观止。要想做到这一点,她们必须经过多年的培训,有些女孩甚至从5或6岁起就会开始学艺。想要成为一名艺妓,女孩首先要被获准进入由帮助资助和培训艺妓的女性开设的okiya艺妓屋。

Geisha’s hold a sense of unattainable perfection. To obtain this, they go through years of training, the youngest starting at just the age of 5 or 6. In order to become a geisha, the first step for any girl is to be accepted into an okiya, a geisha house owned by woman who help finance the training of geisha’s.

 
艺妓的严格训练时长和医生的培训时长相同。在六年的时间里她们会专注学习艺术、舞蹈、音乐和茶道,在此期间她们被称为okiya学徒。一旦学徒完成了长达数年的艺妓举止培训,姐姐(指导者)便会带着她去参加聚会,但期间她不会提供招待服务,而只会静静地观察艺妓是如何与男性进行互动。在这个阶段她只是一名舞妓,直到能够与客人建立互动关系后,她才能作为艺妓首次登台亮相。

The vigorous training has the same time span as it takes to become a doctor. Six years is dedicated to art, dance, music, and tea ceremonies, in which they are called okiya’s at the time. Once she has completed several years of studying the behavior of a geisha, she is then brought by her onee-san (a mentor) to parties where she will not entertain, but remain quiet and observe how geisha interact with men. At this point, she is a maiko and will make her debut as a geisha when she finally establishes relationships with the customers. 

 
成为艺妓的历程就像完成女人的蜕变。这些接受培养的女孩从很小年纪就开始沉浸在艺妓文化和训练中。尽管艺妓和高级妓女都是艺人,但从事这两种职业的女性是生活在截然不同的世界里。

The path to becoming a Geisha is like completing womanhood. These girls who are brought up from such a young age live and breathe their geisha culture and training. Compared to that of a courtesan, despite both being entertainers, the two professions live in completely different worlds. 

 
梳着具有特色的发型,再配上雪白的肌肤和猩红的嘴唇,艺妓是来自一个普通人无法企及的世界。即便是在400年后,艺妓的经典形象在日本各地尤其是京都地区仍然随处可见,并且仍为世界各地所熟知。

With distinctive hair styles, pale white skin and blood red lips, they are from an area we mere mortals don’t have access to. Even after 400 years, the iconic image of a geisha still surround Japan, mainly area’s in Kyoto, and is still recognized around the world. 

 
鉴于艺妓的服务目的是在聚会和活动中取悦男人,人们不禁要问“那为何还要将艺妓和北美的脱衣舞女/妓女区别对待?”其实艺妓真正吸引人的地方是她们历久不衰的美感以及其价值。

A geisha’s purpose is to entertain men at parties and events which raises the question “why is a Geisha different than say a stripper/prostitute in North America?” What’s truly fascinating about geisha’s is their preserved beauty and their value. 

 
一名艺妓就像一个瓷娃娃,是一件值得欣赏和保存的艺术珍品,而一个脱衣舞女就像一个芭比娃娃,她们纯粹是用来娱乐,一旦她们达到了服务目的,就不再被需要也不会被长期保留。由于拥有良好的背景并接受过全面培训,绝不会和客人发生肉体或情感关系的艺妓一直被视为艺术家。

A geisha is like a porcelain doll, a valued piece of art that is to be admired and preserved where as a stripper per say, is like a Barbie doll. They are used as pure entertainment, and once they have served their purpose they aren’t needed anymore and aren’t kept in the future. Because of their background and extensive training, a geisha, who will never have relationships physically or emotionally with clients, a looked upon as art. 

 
我们珍视这些像神一样存在的传统艺人,并会给予他们至高的尊重和荣誉。尽管妓女的服务目的主要也是为了吸引取悦男人,但她们却被视为社会的下层阶级,很少甚至根本得不到尊重。

We value these traditional entertainers almost god-like and have the utmost respect and honor for them. Even though a prostitute has the same purpose, that being a source of entertainment predominantly for men, we see them as the lower classes of society and have little to no respect for them.

 
但是,日本是一个持续放眼未来的国家。如今艺妓行业已日渐衰落,艺妓的数量正在不断下降。但艺妓的标志性妆容和独特美感仍然让全世界为之着迷。艺妓所代表的古老文化以及她们背后的隐秘世界还会继续存在。

However, Japan is a country that is constantly looking towards the future. Geisha’s have seen a drop in their population while their world is becoming outmoded. Their iconic looks and beauty has attracted attention throughout the world. The years of culture that they represent, the secretive world of geishas will continue to live on. 
 
 

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