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160902-0030 - The Geisha Teruha


Studio Taisho 1910s Unknown

The famed geisha Teruha (照葉). Born in Nara in 1896 (Meiji 29) as Tatsuko Takaoka (高岡たつ子), her father sold her to a geisha house when she was 12. She soon became known as Chiyoha (千代葉).

Around 16, she cut off her little finger because of a broken heart. She recovered and changed her name to Teruha. Known for her beauty she entertained some of Japan’s top statesmen. At 23, she married and moved to New York. But she divorced soon and once again became a geisha in Japan.

A later marriage also failed. Following this, she worked as an actress and a model. In 1935 (Showa 10), Teruha entered Gioji Temple (祇王寺) in Arashiyama as a Buddhist nun. She died in in 1995 (Heisei 7) at the age of 99.

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