Friday, February 17, 2012

Review: "Geisha, A Life" by Mineko Iwasaki

I just finished "Geisha of Gion" by Mineko Iwasaki (but also titled "Geisha, A Life" in the United States) and loved it. I've read some other works, both fictional and anthropological, about Geisha and have loved learning about the Geisha culture and its influence on the modernization of Japan, both politically and economically. And if I'm being honest, I'm fascinated by Kimonos. "Geisha of Gion" is the contributing true story behind Arthur Golden's "Memoirs of a Geisha." There was some controversy because Mineko as a source was supposed to be kept anonymous but Golden printed her name among his list of sources. Here, she tells her story which is as interesting and intricate as the more popular fictional story. The memoir is both honest and striking. Although, not as well written as Golden's fictional piece, it displays the subtleties and beauty of this complex world. 


  • Geisha, A Life by Mineko Iwasaki
  • Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  • Memoirs of a Geisha movie and soundtrack
  • Geisha by Liza Dalby  (ethnography)

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