Sakuran, a film by renowned photographer, Mika Ninagawa, made waves in Japan. Sakuran revolves around the lives of women called oiran.
The oiran were women that existed during the Edo era. The oiran lived in self-contained “Pleasure Quarters” and like geishas were required to be well-versed with the arts of dance, music, poetry and calligraphy, and conversation. However, unlike geishas, the oiran were prostitutes, although they were considered to be elite prostitutes. Also unlike the movie, Memoirs of a Geisha, the movie about the oiran had a good reception Japan.
This could have been due to the more unsentimental approach of the film wherein the main character, a tayu (one of the highest ranking courtesans), had no silly day dreams of a prince in a shining armor but only wished to escape her life. It showed a far stronger breed of women, which is something modern women can relate to more easily.