What’s the difference between a Prostitute, Geisha, Oiran, Courtesan, Courtier, Escort, and Tayū?

I know Geisha, and Tayū are Japanese.

...Do they all sleep around?

10 Answers

  • Geisha are primarily entertainers, and are skilled in arts like music and dance. They receieve a great deal of training, which is a major difference between geisha and prostitutes.

    Some geisha did/do sleep with their customers, especially if they were in the 'lower' class of geisha. But the upper classes did not make it common practice--and even the 'lower' class geishas were trained in the arts.

    Geisha are also Japanese and are only women.

    Oiran were prostitues, but were also entertainers. They were not shunned as many prostitutes are. "Many became celebrities of their times outside the pleasure districts. Their art and fashions often set trends among the wealthy and, because of this, cultural aspects of oiran traditions continue to be preserved to this day...Negative misconceptions are often attached to the oiran of Edo Japan due to the stigma given to modern prostitutes, but the two professions differed. As oiran were also entertainers they were valued for much more than just their looks and sexual prowess. In order to be considered an oiran, a woman had to be educated in a number of skills, including in the traditional arts of chadō (Japanese tea ceremony), ikebana (flower arranging), and calligraphy. In addition, clients expected them to be knowledgeable in scholarly matters, and so it was essential that courtesans had the abilities to carry witty and intelligent conversation and write eloquently."

    Oiran were also Japanese and were only women.

    Tayus were the most high-ranking Oirans.

    Courtesans were basically the mistress of a ruler (ie. king), and were often referred to as a king's 'favorite.' They were similar to the Oiran, but less focused on the entertainment aspect. However, they were educated and often wealthy/upper-class. They did, after all, have to entertain the ruler with whom they were sleeping. Courtesans were also not really stigmatized.


    Escorts...the position is sort of more open to interpretation and is specific to the person/escort agency. Some escorts only entertain their (usually male) clients and provide companionship (ie. will accompany them to dinner if they are lonely. Sex may be expected, but the person may make it clear beforehand that they will not have sex with their client.) Other escorts do sleep with their clients and use the name 'escort' as a cover-up. Escorts can be male *or* female.

    Prositutes rarely entertain; their main 'use' is sex. They usually sell sex and not entertainment. They are often not educated; they also often have family or drug problems. They are known as a 'lower class' in society.

  • This Site Might Help You.


    What's the difference between a Prostitute, Geisha, Oiran, Courtesan, Courtier, Escort, and Tayū?

    I know Geisha, and Tayū are Japanese.

    ...Do they all sleep around?

  • Price?

    Prostitutes provide sex for money

    Tayu and oiran were female entertainers but also provided sexual services to clients.

    Geisha were a class of female entertainers, hostesses and might provide sexual services to clients

    Courtesans were usually reserved for one male, say a king and would seldom sleep with others while serving as a courtesan. They weren't married but their children would be recognized as descendants of the ruler.

    Escorts may or may not be providing sexual services. It's a term often used to hide the practice.

    Courtiers were just people, men or women, who hung around court in hopes of the king or queens influence rubbing off on them.

  • No, they don't all sleep around. Prostitutes do - that's their primary function. Geishas don't usually. Think of them more as hostesses. Courtesans may or may not. Courtiers? Male courtesans. Escorts? Not usually. Of course, within those groups, the ones that don't usually sleep around may, on occasion, but it usually involves personal attraction, not just money. Oiran and Tayu I can't discuss because I know nothing about them.

  • Tayu and Oiran may look alike, but they are totally different. Tayu refers to a Geisha of the highest rank, extremely cultured, and well versed in all the traditional arts. An Oiran on the other hand is a courtesan who does not provide any form of cultural entertainment. A Tayu is NOT a courtesan.

  • Courtesan Training

  • Oiran are prostitutes. They are basically sex-workers. Tayu is the highest rank of Oiran.

    Geisha is female entertainer. They usually don't sleep with clients. They job is to entertain with dance and music. They are more like artists who are skilled in various Japanese arts such as classical music and dance.

    Courtesan was originally a female courtier. During the Renaissance, it was refered to as "the ruler's mistress", and then to a well-educated and independent woman of loose morals, eventually a trained artisan of dance and singing, especially one associated with wealthy, powerful, or upper-class men who provided luxuries and status in exchange for companionship

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    Escorts can be a date for the night without sex. Some women like to have a young man's arm to go to parties or events. I was hired by a older widow to attend a party and a few meeting events for the evening. there was no sex just companianship. Prostitutes are just sex curtdude

  • What Is A Courtesan

  • Prostitute. For legal reasons, escort is used to desribe the actions and services s/he does for a negotiated price. Usually higher in price than a hooker/street-walker/lady of ill morals.

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