- 1 hour
- Product Type
- Gion District
- Presented by the same world-class experts as our walking tours, Context Lectures highlight must-see attractions, reveal hidden landmarks, and explore the best things to do during your trip so you don’t miss a thing.
Gavin received a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and came to Kyoto in 2001 to take his current position as a tenured university professor of history, religious studies, and American Studies. Since 2016, he is also a Fellow at Harvard's Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies. His teaching and research revolve around Japan's cultural encounters with the West, particularly during the Edo, Meiji, Taisho and early Showa periods (1600-1940), and he has published on the history of foreign tourism, Protestant missionaries in Japan, and the history of Japanese fashion. He is also an expert on Kyoto geisha culture and a frequent participant in geisha entertainment. He enjoys reading, spending time with his family, and exploring with clients Kyoto's endlessly fascinating culture and history.
For centuries, the geisha world has been closed to all but a handful. This ensured discretion while also drawing an alluring veil over this "floating world." Our journey together takes us behind the fantasy into the dance studios, the dressing rooms, and the boarding houses where the geisha and their apprentices learn to weave a spell of beauty and enchantment. We will learn about why women still choose this path, trace the profession's raucous and sometimes painful history, and follow contemporary women who, at the age of 15, begin a quest to join their name alongside those who proudly preserve one of Japan's most incredible living arts: the Kyoto geisha.
Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, this lecture is led by Dr. Gavin James Campbell, a Ph.D. professor of history at Doshisha University. Gavin has lived in Kyoto for 19 years and avidly participates in Kyoto geisha culture.
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