audrey_e (audrey_e) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

13: Geisha, a Life

Originally posted by audrey_e at Book 13: Geisha, a Life
13 GEISHA, A LIFE Mineko Iwasaki/Rande Brown (Japan/US, 2002)


Mineko Iwasaki was the most successful geisha of her generation, and in this memoir, she recounts her story.

But what is a geisha?

It is following an interview with Mineko Iwasaki that Arthur Golden wrote his best-seller Memoirs of a Geisha. According to Iwasaki, Golden's depiction of a geisha's lifestyle is completely flawed. In other words, Golden depicts them as high-end prostitutes, while Iwasaki claims geishas are never expected to sleep with their customers, and that the image of the geisha-prostitute is a myth.
Who is telling the truth? I have no idea.
All I can say, is that Iwasaki's life was extremely privileged from the moment she was adopted by the okiya that made her fortune, which makes me wonder whether her experience is in any way representative of the majority of geishas.
On a different note, her story was not as engaging as I expected. Her rise to success was fairly easy going, which means the book was overall quite boring. But it made me want to read more about the topic, and find out the "truth".

Tags: japan, memoir

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