Graceful Oiran – 日本の伝統色 “赤”

Traditional arts

Compared to yūjo, whose primary attraction was the sexual services they offered, oiran were first and foremost entertainers. In order to become an oiran, a woman first had to be educated in a range of skills from a relatively young age, including sadō (Japanese tea ceremony), ikebana (flower arranging) and calligraphyOiran also learned to play the kotoshakuhachitsuzumi (hand drum), shamisen and kokyū. Clients expected oiran to be well read, able to converse and write with wit and elegance, and able to match them in intellect in conversation.

…. description based on Wikipedia


Within the pleasure quarters, an oiran‘s prestige was based on her beauty, character, education and artistic ability, which was reflected in the number of ranks falling in the category of “oiran”. An oiran, unlike geisha or common prostitutes, could be promoted or demoted by the owner of her brothel, and commonly inherited a generational name (“myōseki” (名跡)) upon gaining promotion to a higher rank; these names, exclusively the property of the brothel owner, typically carried the prestige of the person who held it previously, and brothel owners commonly chose only those of similar countenance and reputation to inherit them. Myōseki were written in kanji, and were typically more elaborate than the average woman’s name of the time, holding meanings taken from poetry, literary history and nature; myōseki were rarely passed from one oiran directly down to their apprentice.

Oiran not considered to be high ranking or skilled enough to hold an inherited name would instead use a professional name considered elegant enough to be the name of a courtesan; these were typically pseudonyms taken to either protect one’s identity or to promote the brothel’s image, and were likely to be slightly more elaborate than the average woman’s name. These names, alongside the names of both kamuro and shinzō (child attendants and apprentice courtesans respectively) were written in hiragana.

…. description based on Wikipedia