Memoirs of a Geisha


Okay people, I will fully admit that I may be the last person on the face of the earth to finally get around to reading this iconic novel.  It’s been in my “to-read” pile (which actually encompasses two huge bookshelves) for several years, and I was ready for something different from my norm.  I do love my WWII books and other historical fiction – and in a way this certainly does qualify under the Historical Fiction category.  However, it’s definitely out of the norm (for me) in the setting – which clearly was/is Japan.  I found this novel very interesting, fascinating, and hope that the author really did do impeccable research, as this is all I know and what I believe to be true about life as a Geisha.  In the rare case that you haven’t read this one, I do recommend it! While it’s not exactly riveting reading, it certainly did keep my interest, all the way through to the end. It piqued my curiosity enough for me to look up YouTube videos on Geishas, their dances, and instruments.   Read this if you’d like to be transported back into the 1930’s Kyoto Japan and learn about a lifestyle that still exists, albeit in MUCH smaller numbers. As is often the case, I now would love to see the movie!


2 thoughts on “Memoirs of a Geisha

  1. If you are interested in geisha, I recommend you to read the book by Mineko Iwasaki called ‘Geisha, a life’ in the US and ‘Geisha of Gion’ in the UK. Mineko Iwasaki is the geisha that Arthur Golden based his story on. After the publication of ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’, Mineko Iwasaki got very angry with Golden because he twisted reality and compromised her anonimity. She even sued him. For example the practice of ‘mizuage’ doesn’t exist, according to her. She then wrote her own book about life as a geisha, which I found very interesting.

    As for the movie, it caused a big scandal in Japan because many of the actors are Chinese. It is also far from historically correct. For example the way they wear kimono in this movie is just ridiculous. So if you watch it, keep in mind it is pure fiction, and in no way informative about geisha or about life in Japan at that time.

    Another really interesting book about geisha I could recommend to you is ‘Geisha’ by Liza Dalby. She lived with the geisha of Pontocho for a while, to conduct her dissertation research.

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