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Geisha: A Life Paperback – 30 Sep 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Frequently bought together

  • Geisha: A Life
  • +
  • Geisha Of Gion: The True Story Of Japan's Foremost Geisha: The Memoir of Mineko Iwasaki
  • +
  • Autobiography Of A Geisha (Vintage Original)
Total price: £32.98
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (30 Sept. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743444299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743444293
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.3 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"Kirkus Reviews"

[A] valuable look at a little-known world, and an intimate glimpse into Japanese culture.



"Kirkus Reviews"

ÝA¨ valuable look at a little-known world, and an intimate glimpse into Japanese culture.



Kirkus Reviews [A] valuable look at a little-known world, and an intimate glimpse into Japanese culture.

"Kirkus Reviews"[A] valuable look at a little-known world, and an intimate glimpse into Japanese culture.

"Kirkus Reviews" [A] valuable look at a little-known world, and an intimate glimpse into Japanese culture.

Kirkus Reviews [A] valuable look at a little-known world, and an intimate glimpse into Japanese culture.

About the Author

Born in 1949, Mineko Iwasaki was Japan's star geisha until she retired at the age of twenty-nine. She now lives in a Kyoto suburb, with her family.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a very well written book by a highly successful geisha of the 1960's and 70's Japan. Hated and envied by her older geisha sister, adored by her adoptive geisha family, she went on to be Japan's most succesful geisha and retired early at the tender age of 29 to run a tea shop. Now suing Arthur Golden for breaking his vow of not naming her as his source for his acclaimed novel "Memoirs of a Geisha" as it was unheard of for a geisha to break the vow of silence on their lives. The book may not have the excitement and the attention of Golden's novel but at least it's a true story itself and well written enough to get the reader's interest. Worth buying in my opinion and a warning to everyone: it has a different title by a British publisher, "Geisha of Gion" as I made the mistake of buying it, only to realise it was the same book but under a different heading.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brilliant book, would recommend to anyone.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very good read, describes Geisha life very well
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Format: Paperback
Geisha, A Life, by Mineko Iwasaki

I bought this book some time ago but only just got round to reading it. Western ideas of the Geisha are based largely on Arthur Golden's novel, Memoirs of a Geisha and, although his depiction has to a great extent been exposed as fanciful (he was successfully sued for defamation when it was released in Japan), there is little available to give a clearer picture of this secret world.

As I started reading Iwasaki, I had some scepticism - ok, as the number one Geisha maybe the elements involving prostitution didn't happen to her personally and so on - but as I read on I realised that Golden's fiction was based on Western fantasies and simply given a feeling of 'authenticity' by adding less important details he had gleaned from interviews. Iwasaki clarifies the background to show how various historical events and mistranslations easily support what westerners wanted to believe, but it is the sincerity, uniqueness and sheer marvel

of her life as a Geisha that evokes conviction and a sense of the marvellous.

On one of my trips to Japan years ago, I once encountered a Geisha in a hotel lobby. I didn't speak to her directly - simply viewed her from some feet away. But the atmosphere was as if royalty, an A-list Hollywood star, or someone like the Dalai Lama had just walked in. The charisma, for want of a better word, was so powerful it felt like a physical force that pushed me back against the wall. Everyone in the vicinity was in respectful awe of her personage as she passed through. The Geisha is a 'study of perfection' to use Iwasaki's words, and that is the impression I got.
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