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Oddly Enough

Chinese woman trains to become a geisha

Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - 01:29

Aug. 7 - A Chinese woman strives to master ancient esoteric Japanese arts as she trains to become a geisha. Elly Park reports.

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It takes Rinka nearly two hours to get properly dressed. That is typical of most geiko, a geisha in training. But what sets Rinka apart from others is that she is Chinese - born as Zhang Xue in Shenyang, China. She moved to Japan at the age of 14 and was deeply impressed by her first neighbor. SOUNDBITE: 29-Year-Old Geisha Trainee Rinka, saying (Mandarin) "When I first came to Japan I had a neighbour who was a geisha. She played the shamisen daily and wore traditional Japanese kimono and it was really pretty so I too, wanted to wear a kimono." Now 29-years-old, Rinka is one of seven geishas left in the town of Shimoda. She still has years of training left but is already a favorite of her geisha matron Kanoya. Once famed for their beauty and artistic talents the number of geishas has been rapidly dropping in Japan with now only about 1000 women left in the profession. But that doesn't deter Rinka, who is determined to master the art to take it back to her native China.

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Chinese woman trains to become a geisha

Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - 01:29