The Oldest Geisha – level 3

10-07-2014 15:00

Ninety-year-old geisha Yuko Asakusa has sat in front of her mirror putting on make-up and adjusting her kimono for 75 years.

The Asakusa Geisha Association said Yuko is the city’s oldest geisha who still maintains a busy schedule with up to 20 reservations a month.

Yuko has been working as a geisha in the Asakusa district of Tokyo since she was 16 and says she’s proud of her age and doesn’t hide it. When she was 13, Yuko asked to become a geisha after she was influenced by geisha film she watched with her mother. She debuted as a fully-fledged geisha three years later.

While she no longer dances due to her age, Yuko say she’ll be singing and playing the Japanese three-stringed instrument called the shamisen until her last breath.

Today there are a few geishas left in the profession in which female entertainers sing, dance and engage in witty conversation at dinner parties for exorbitant prices. The number of geishas, which means performer in Japanese, peaked at 80,000 in 1928, but now only about a thousand remain.

Difficult words: schedule (day’s plan), influence (to make somebody do something), fully-fledged (completely trained), due to (because of), witty (clever and entertaining), exorbitant (very high), peak (to be the highest).


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