Books on Geisha Arts

The Gei of Geisha: Music, Identity and Meaning (Soas Musicology)

The book elaborates how musical art is an essential part of the identity of the Japanese geisha rather than a secondary feature, and locates current practice within a tradition of two and half centuries. The book opens by deconstructing the idea of ‘geisha’ as it functions in Western societies in order to understand why gei has been, and continues to be, neglected in geisha studies. Subsequent chapters detail the myriad musical genres and traditions with which geisha have been involved during their artistic history, as well as their position within the traditional arts society.




Traditional Japanese Music and Musical Instruments (Yamaguchi Kan Series)

The book opens with a brisk and eloquent history of Japan’s musical life, then moves on to its religious music, Shinto, Buddhist, and Christian; its court music; the music of the noh drama; and the music of specific instruments: biwa, shakuhachi, koto, and shamisen. After examining the components of kabuki music, it closes with a chapter on folk music, popular musical arts, and the music of other ethnic groups in Japan. For the more technically inclined, there is a detailed appendix on notation systems. Lastly, to put all this in a practical context, a CD is provided, giving nineteen examples of these different genres




Dances of the Seasons in Kyoto

A book on Kyoto geisha district performances. Japanese language.




Sensational Knowledge: Embodying Culture through Japanese Dance (Music Culture)

How do music and dance reveal the ways in which a community interacts with the world? How are the senses used in communicating cultural knowledge? In Sensational Knowledge, ethnomusicologist and dancer Tomie Hahn uncovers the process and nuances of learning nihon buyo, a traditional Japanese dance form. She uses case studies of dancers at all levels, as well as her own firsthand experiences, to investigate the complex language of bodies, especially across cultural divides.



The Tea Ceremony

In Japan, serving tea is an art and a spiritual discipline. As an art, the tea ceremony is an occasion to appreciate the clean lines of the tea room’s design, the feel of the bowl in the hand, the company of friends, and a simple moment of purity. As a discipline, it has roots in the twelfth century and intimate connections to architecture, landscape gardening, ceramics, painting, flower arrangement, and, of course, Zen Buddhism.




Chado the Way of Tea: A Japanese Tea Master’s Almanac

Chado: The Way of Tea is the first English translation of the classic Japanese work on the tea ceremony, Sado Saijiki. It offers the reflections of Sasaki Sanmi, one of the most highly regarded tea masters of the 20th century, on the scholarly and aesthetic aspects of Japan’s beloved tea ceremony.



The Courtesan’s Arts: Cross-Cultural Perspectives Includes CD

A cross cultural book on courtesans in many societies and what arts have been developed by each.




Odori: Japanede Dance

A very dry text book style presentation on Japanese dance forms. Interesting to the dance major but probably not a pleasurable read.