Awesome but Wrong 📕🎎🎌 [Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden]

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This book is awesome, you just have to take it with a grain of salt. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden tells a compelling story of Chiyo: a young girl who eventually transform into a famed geisha named Sayuri. It is a compelling narrative, but it should not be treated as anything but a story. I would recommend you read this book for pleasure, then read Mineko Iwasaki’s Geisha of Gion, which tells a more accurate tale of Geisha (as she was the inspiration for Memoirs).

Have you read the book? Leave a comment down below and let me know what you thought.

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Comments

mindy canales says:

You do know this book is based off a Nitta telling her story to Aurther. You know little of what you speak.

Elslein says:

Mineko Iwasaki's book is not accurate either, because her story is not typical at all. She was incredibly privileged for a geisha. "Mizuage" was practiced both by geisha and sex workers; it's the details that were different, but the fact remains that it does refer to having sex with a man for the first time.

Geisha is not "artist" in the Western meaning of the word. The character for "gei" 芸 refers to performance arts. Geisha were originally (well into the 20th century) supposed to entertain the guests of a courtesan, singing and dancing and pouring alcohol etc. They lived and worked in pleasure quarters, sometimes directly in brothels, and so they had to stay in the background and were not supposed to have sex with the clients, because it was not their place. Those geisha who lived outside of pleasure quarters, so-called "town geisha" (machi geisha, 町芸者), did provide sexual services in addition to singing, dancing, and conversation. Japanese sources fully acknowledge this. It's only Westerners/Western authors who don't know the difference and insist that geisha are never sex workers, as if it were a bad thing.

Even Gion was not exclusively a geisha district. Gion Kobu had more geisha houses than brothels, but Gion Otsubu had much more brothels than geisha houses, because geisha was originally an Edo/Tokyo phenomenon. Courtesans and geisha belong to the same world.

Elizabeth Thornton says:

Memoirs of a geisha is possibly my favourite novel however I completely understand the inaccuracies that are present in the story.
Additionally I never realised it was a novel (I.e fictional) until after I’d finished the book

pea pod says:

Mizuage was practiced by geisha. It is well documented

vekuis says:

The Book, the ending is for vommiting..it is wrong,it is twisted,and Pervertit in the End..

Aparna Rajesh says:

You will try read Geisha a life

zigaudrey says:

Then Mineko Iwasaki write her own biography in response of Golden's infamy work.
That's should say something.
Morale of story: never interview a foreigner over their culture

Li Dee 战士 says:

To me the story is very much a western man’s exotic fantasy of an eastern woman. It was much too sexualized than it should be. Just saying…

Anna Lieff-Saxby says:

The film is terribly unjust to men. Yes, sure, they have all the power, but I still feel that Mr Nobu deserved much better from Sayuri. Also, whilst the US Colonel was merely a randy old sod, he certainly got the fuzzy end of the lollipop. If these characters had been women, many feminists (amongst whom I count myself) would be bitching at top volume.

Cynthia Payne says:

This was a solid 5-star read for me 🙂 Accurate or not, the worldbuilding within the context of the story was exceptionally well done.

ElyseReadsandSpeaks says:

I think our mutual dislike of What If It's Us and Girls of Paper and Fire is really bonding us together 😂

Alex Black Reads says:

I honestly didn't really see the comparison between this and Girls of Paper and Fire, apart from east Asian sex workers. I loved this in high school, but I don't know if now I could handle the whole white man writing about about another culture and completely fucking it aspect lol. Geisha of Gion sounds super worthwhile, though! Thanks for the rec!

Nicole's Bookish Nook says:

I read this book a few years ago after I watched the movie, and I love both!

Gaia Athena says:

I do love your book reviews!

DarkBetweenPages says:

Yes! Entertainers!!!! I never even thought that lots of people may think they are Prostitutes. Great review!!!

Claudia Robles says:

Loved Memoirs of a Geisha, the film. Never got around to the book which I assume is even better. Thanks for the cultural tips.

Also will be skipping out on the Girls of Paper and Fire hype. Have heard enough people I trust complain about it.

Hungry Bookworm says:

I read this book many many years ago and I have loved it ever since, the film is good too, but I would say read the book first 🙂
Iconic cover <3

Matrenox says:

I was actually thinking about reading this book (oddly enough). Will definitely have to pick it up now 🙂

The Other Christine That Reads says:

In a world of Girls of Paper and Fire hype, I can always count on you to fit in jabs at it and I appreciate that

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