The geisha system has emerged in the 17th century. The houses
of the pleasure quarters offered banquets enhanced by courtesans adept
at singing and dancing. The most skilled female entertainers become
known as geiko (arts girl) and later as geisha (art person). In old days, a girl at age of seven was
given by her parents for a sum of money
to a geisha house, which taught, trained, fed, and clothed her for a period of years.
Then she began earning money to repay her parents' debt and her education.
Today, many of young girls still volunteer to become geisha,
but only a few can survive the harsh training as maiko when they are schooled
in dancing, singing, flower arranging, performing the tea ceremony and even in japanese calligraphy.