Britain’s Got Talent? : ‘Geisha’

NB: Some of my earliest blogs no longer have their accompanying images but enjoy the copy!

I have a guilty confession to make. I’ve been watching Britain’s Got Talent. Usually, I avoid anything that has ‘reality TV’ written all over it and scowl when it clogs up my news feed on Twitter. However, due to a mixture of moving house and new habit of watching TV most evenings after work, I seem to have fallen into the trap.

For those of you who are sick of BGT (or ‘bigot’ – oh I’m so witty), I’ll keep this short. This is the only post of this kind I will ever do but I thought that a lot of you would appreciate the Japan twist. If you’re a bit of a die hard Japanophile, you’ll probably be one of those people who tears their hair out at people who completely misinterpret the culture with horrifying results.

Case in point: Geisha Davis

Oh god, that face will forever haunt me in my sleep! Let’s compare this to a geisha you might be more familiar with . . .

Would I be stating the obvious that the makeup, clothes and terrifying manner are all wrong? Oh well, I just did. So, what geisha-like things would Geisha (that is apparently her legal name) be doing?

Source: john stevens @ Youtube

‘I-I . . . what is this?’ (followed by 5 minutes of a very confused and distraught face)

Rapping about nursery rhyme characters whilst dressed as a geisha (or frilly handkerchief) probably doesn’t count as talent. But of course, this is BGT, so this girl will be performing in the semi-finals sometime this week. Spectacle, naturally. I can’t make up my mind about Geisha – is she actually a complete nutcase who genuinely believes she is a geisha and has a message for the people, or does she just enjoy acting like this and playing up to the part for the media attention? My vote lies somewhere in the middle, although I don’t want to imagine that anyone can actually be that crazy

At the end of the day, I have to say ‘good for you’ to Geisha for doing what she obviously likes (performing and rapping nursery rhymes) and not giving a damn about what anyone else might say. Still, this is the furthest thing possible from geisha culture but I don’t think that’s really the point this girl’s trying to make.

4 thoughts on “Britain’s Got Talent? : ‘Geisha’

  1. Well, Geisha was her name and no where did she say that she was trying to be a “Geisha”, or present as a Geisha as it is in Japanese culture. Maybe she got a little inspiration(just the white color for the face) for the make up. But that was just it. Her act had absolutely nothing to do with a Geisha, comparing them is irrelevant I think. It’s like a person wears a costume with a long nose, and then you say “Elephant is completely different and acts different than what you look like, you are misinterpreting elephant “, Well, no one was trying to be an elephant in the first place.

    Plus, she did not make fun of a culture(although even that would not be a problem if it’s not racist, anyway she did not do that), or did not falsely present a culture or concept.

    Even if she called herself a “Modern Geisha”, or her act as her own inception of Japanese Geisha, I don’t think that would a problem. That’s how art grows.

  2. Nah I do think it’s racist. Anytime you don’t bother to do the research before you let words about another race fall from your mouth, or without putting thought into them, that’s racist. I don’t know where she pulled that definition of geisha from, but it’s not “ARTIST OF ALL KINDS OF ART.” What. No. Geisha danced, sang, played instruments, sometimes learned other skills, and only in the context of entertaining someone else. They were sold by their parents at young ages to pay off a family debt and forced to live a terrible life. It’s not even funny to joke about let alone misrepresent. Sure the maiko that walk Kyoto now aren’t slaves, but they are something different and more of cultural preservations of tradition. Moreover, this girl is just making new stereotypes of actual Japanese people. If you want to reinvent the term geisha at least convince me you weren’t so lazy to even to a wikipedia search first. Put in minimal effort in cross cultural understanding. Then you can make a commentary on it, sure.

    Also since when is making fun of another culture not considered racist. It’s 1) assuming all of the people within said culture subscribed to the behavior someone thinks is so amusing and 2) assuming you’re doing it better, otherwise it wouldn’t be funny. Not saying it doesn’t happen all the time, but at least call it what it is. Again, if you want to make a commentary or criticism on a culture or persons, at least bother to understand it first.

  3. Yeah, I think you should at least understand a culture before you attempt to re-create. As well as that- rapping a nurserey rhyme? Seriously? It was rubbish too. I agree with Aleisha.
    A NO FROM ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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