Contrary to popular western notions, the Japanese geisha is not generally a woman of ill repute. The word literally means “art person” and a geisha is a highly trained professional woman whose traditional occupation is to entertain men. Singing, dancing, playing music, knowledge of history and current events, the ability to make conversation and to create an atmosphere of relaxation and entertainment are the essential skills of the geisha. Skills specific to Japanese culture would include being able to perform the tea ceremony or perhaps even being skilled at flower arrangement or calligraphy.
Geishas are immaculately and sumptuously dressed in ornate and expensive kimonos. Not a strand of hair is out of place, their white facial make-up is perfect. Their manners are not only impeccable but delicate and calm, in keeping with the ideals of feminine beauty that they embody.
In modern Japan, geishas have been transformed into symbols of traditional values. In the west, the geisha has become a symbol of the exotic grace and beauty of the East.
In this tattoo design, the wind has ruffled her kimono and set some pieces of paper loose, perhaps from the sheaf tucked near her arm.
The wind has also loosed some petals of cherry blossoms which are beginning to swirl past her. They echo the cherry blossom design of the lower part of her kimono while the upper part makes use of the chrysanthemum. Both flowers are frequently used in Japanese art and in Japanese tattoos.