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Subsidies aim to help graying geishas

Worried about the increasing hardship faced by the kimono-clad professional entertainers, a geisha support group is planning a system of financial aid as the traditional method of support — paying patrons — dwindles.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Aging geisha in Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto may soon have a new reason to sing and dance.

Worried about the increasing hardship faced by the kimono-clad professional entertainers, a geisha support group is planning a system of financial aid as the traditional method of support — paying patrons — dwindles.

“Many geisha are getting on a bit but they still have to study and buy kimonos,” said Osamu Ito, deputy head of the Kyoto Traditional Musical Art Promotion Foundation.

“The older they get, the less work they have. We want to offer them support so they can carry on.”

Practitioners of Japan’s centuries-old art, which is soon to be the subject of a Hollywood movie, Geisha traditionally make their living by securing a patron who pays for their lessons, clothing and other expenses.