Mizuage (水揚げ?, pronounced “mi-dzu-a-gue”, literally “raising water”)
Conveying alone a large number of clichés and fantasies.
The moment when the maiko changes status to become a Geiko (dixit; Geisha of Kyoto)
The most widespread being the sale of the virginity of the maiko, sold to a danna (protector) who one imagines necessarily salacious and lustful.
The danna is a rich man who, in addition to paying the geisha’s services at his usual rate, gives her gifts and offers her money to help her repay her debt.
Historically false and only conveyed by Westerners, especially by post-World War II Americans, who anyway did not differentiate between Onsen-Geisha and Geisha.
The spa towns (Onsen) being then very frequented by prostitutes, they did not hesitate to pass themselves off as geisha to attract the favors of more fortunate customers than usual.
The geisha practicing her art in a so-called “pleasure” district. In Japanese, the word is much more poetic: Hanamachi, “the street of flowers”.
The West hearing “pleasure district” implies “carnal pleasures”, which is not necessarily the case in Japan.
It is in fact a founding passage that marks the end of his training and his transition to adulthood.
On this occasion, a party is given in her honor during which the erikae takes place: she is authorized to change her collar.
Abandoning the red collar of the maiko to wear the immaculate white collar of the geisha.
They also change their hairstyle, forgetting the momoware of the apprentices for the ofuku of the confirmed ones.
The mizuage being a sale in order to repay the debts of the Maiko to her Okiya, it could reach astronomical sums but no correlation with the sale of virginity, only to gain the favor of these extraordinary creatures. Kind of proof of power for wealthy investors.
We can however consider that certain abuses took place in view of the time, the price paid, and the lechery of certain men at a particularly patriarchal time.