The Korean equivalent of Geisha, called Gisaeng are merging as a pop culture fad this year according to the Chosun Ilbo.

The main difference I can see between how Geisha and Gisaeng are portrayed is that the Koreans seem to be more open about the sexual aspects of their role:

At front and center of the hysteria is Hwang Jin-I, who is recognized as the queen of female entertainers during the Chosun era.

She was not just out there pouring drinks and selling her body, but was the epitome of the gisaeng ideal: competent in verse, calligraphy and painting. What’s more, she was an illegitimate child which kept her from reaching the top echelons of the strict social hierarchy of the era, and her fight against the classification has made her into a symbol of resistance.

So we can look forward to a Hwang Jin-l TV drama, a Gisaeng cinema release early next year and a musical.


I think that the Geisha fad didn’t do as well as it could have for the Japanese commercially (probably because of the poor movie adaptation) so maybe there is room for the Koreans to elbow in. I think they are leaving it a bit late internationally however. Domestically I am sure it is a safe bet for success.