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Memoirs of a Geisha , by Arthur Golden, was published in and acknowledged Mineko Iwasaki as the real-life geisha that the author interviewed. I believe a lot of what she says about life as a geisha, but one passage made skeptical of either her message in it or the translation. On page , Iwasaki wrote,. This was a good deal of money in s Japan, more than that earned by the presidents of most companies.

It is also the reason the notion that geiko perform sexual favors for their clients is so ridiculous. With this much income, why would we? There are a lot of things that people would do for a large sum of money. While this passage is questionable, I have learned from Iwasaki that geiko are not in any way prostitutes but are artists. The tone of Geisha, A Life a. Geisha of Gion is pretty calm and clinical. Some of the writing feels stilted, but this might be due to the translation.

The memoir covers her life from young childhood to her marriage after she retired from being a geiko , her preferred name for a geisha. At 5 years old, she permanently moved into the Iwasaki okiya in Gion Kobu where she grew up learning the customs of the maiko and geiko. She explains how she came to be adopted by the Iwasaki family, what she learned, and what happened to her as an adult. Iwasaki character grows and changes in the book, but most of the other characters do not. She always loved to dance, and the parts about her dancing are beautiful and passionate.

She gave him several interviews for his research, as long as she was to remain unnamed in the book. Not only did he directly blow off this stipulation, it also seems that he did not feel the need to base his book on the research he got from her at all.

Mineko Iwasaki. She also sued him for defamation of character and breach of contract. Golden, on the other hand, claims that there was no such confidentiality agreement and that he accurately portrayed everything that she told him. Memoirs tells the story of a young girl who was sold into sexual slavery, even having her virginity auctioned off to the highest bidder. She became a geiko and entered the world of Gion because of her love of dancing and admiration for the beauty of the older geiko.

The mention of mizuage — the selling of virginity is what has brought up the largest outrage. Both Iwasaki and the rest of the geisha community strongly deny this practice. The modern geisha community continues to live in the shadow of Memoirs, and Iwasaki is still struggling to clear her name from it. Regardless, it has certainly become obvious that geisha are proud of both their profession and its cultural history — even if they want their secrets to remain hidden.

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