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Geisha Paperback – 28 Sep 2000

4.0 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (28 Sept. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099286386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099286387
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.4 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 139,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

In the mid-1970s, an American graduate student in anthropology joined the ranks of white-powdered geisha in Kyoto, Japan. Liza Dalby took the name Ichigiku and apprenticed in the famed Pontocho district, trailing behind "older sisters" bemused by this long-legged Westerner intent on learning their arts and customs. In Geisha, this observant ethnographer paints an intoxicating picture of the "flower and willow world" to which she gained entry. "Why are you studying geisha?" asks one slightly belligerent older sister. "Geisha are no different from anybody else." Not quite, says Dalby dryly, pointing out that geisha and wives play utterly divergent, though complementary, roles in traditional Japanese society. "Geisha are supposed to be sexy where wives are sober, artistic where wives are humdrum, and witty where wives are serious." While hardly feminists, they reap freedoms unknown to other women. Dalby illustrates broader cultural differences, too, with a million tiny details about boisterous customers, how many hundred-weight of tabi (split-toed socks) geishas go through, what defines iki (chic), why maiko (young apprentices) are drawn to the life, and what geisha wear, from the skin out. Acknowledging that her growing personal stake in the masquerade prevented objectivity, Dalby frees the reader to enjoy a fluid and fascinating look at one aspect of Japanese culture. --Francesca Coltrera

Review

"Liza Dalby, as the only foreigner to ever have become an actual geisha, knows more about the subject than I'll ever know, and she writes about it with grace and eloquence" (Arthur Golden, author of 'Memoirs of a Geisha')

"A loving, beautifully designed tribute to one of Japan's most tantalising traditions... Geisha offers intriguing glimpses into Japanese politics, culture and history" (Newsweek)

"The authoritative work on the geisha. It is filled with facts and history, shot through with insights and understanding. Her working as a geisha, her experiencing their world, is responsible for the breadth of her understanding" (New York Times Book Review)

"Elegantly balanced...beautifully constructed...invigorating and refreshing" (Washington Post Book World)

"A meticulously researched work of scholarship, but is also a delightfully personal account of Dalby's year among the geisha. Geisha remains [Dalby's] best-known work and is the bible of geisha studies to this day" (Times Literary Supplement)

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on 12 February 2002
Format: Paperback
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on 27 May 2007
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on 28 May 2006
Format: Paperback
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on 24 April 2006
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HALL OF FAMEon 19 July 2008
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on 26 November 2002
Format: Paperback
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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