Tokyo Girls (2000)

Tokyo Girls

Tokyo Girls is a candid journey into the world of four young Canadian women who work as well-paid hostesses in exclusive Japanese nightclubs. Lured by adventure and easy money, these modern-day geisha find themselves caught up in the mizu shobai – the complex “floating water world” of Tokyo clubs and bars. Drawn by fast money, some women become consumed by the lavish lifestyle and forget why they came. One hostess calls it “losing the plot.” With a pulsating visual style, Tokyo Girls captures the raw energy of urban Japan and its fascination with the new. Shot in Canada, Osaka and Tokyo, this is a riveting inside look at the impact of the “economy geisha.” Desired mainly for her looks, the hostess is rapidly replacing the cultural institution of geisha – women trained in the ancient art of traditional entertainment.

The historical connection to geisha is examined by Kyoto resident Peter Macintosh, who doesn’t have a lot of nice things to say about the hostess. Although Tokyo Girls is a documentary, the quick edits and gorgeous cinematography make it seem more like a feature length movie. Kansai residents will appreciate the fact that Osaka (the exclusive Kita-Shinchi area is featured) and Kyoto (where the geisha scenes were filmed) are also included in this amazing work.

Cast and crew:

Directed by Penelope Buitenhuis
Starring Jay-Lyn Green, Akinori Nagai, Maritama Carlson and Wasana Eksapang.

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