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Geisha, a life

by Iwasaki, Mineko, 1949-

Format: Print Book 2003
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 2 copies
Available (2)
Location Collection Call #
Brentwood Library Biography 92 Iwasaki Mineko
Location  Brentwood Library
Collection  Biography
Call Number  92 Iwasaki Mineko
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction GT3412.7.I93 A3 2003x
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  GT3412.7.I93 A3 2003x
No woman in the three-hundred-year history of the karyukai has ever come forward in public to tell her story--until now.

"Many say I was the best geisha of my generation," writes Mineko Iwasaki. "And yet, it was a life that I found too constricting to continue. And one that I ultimately had to leave." Trained to become a geisha from the age of five, Iwasaki would live among the other "women of art" in Kyoto's Gion Kobu district and practice the ancient customs of Japanese entertainment. She was loved by kings, princes, military heroes, and wealthy statesmen alike. But even though she became one of the most prized geishas in Japan's history, Iwasaki wanted more: her own life. And by the time she retired at age twenty-nine, Iwasaki was finally on her way toward a new beginning.

Geisha, a Life is her story -- at times heartbreaking, always awe-inspiring, and totally true.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "At the age of five, Masako Tanaka leaves her family to be trained as geisha, or geiko, at the Iwasaki okiya in the Gion Kobu district of Kyoto. Not only would she one day become a geiko, but eventually she would inherit the okiya. Accordingly, her name is changed to Mineko Iwasaki, and she is taken in by the current proprietress, Madame Oima. Though she's heartbroken at being separated from her family, Mineko develops a real passion for dance, and throws herself into her lessons. By the time she is ready to become a maiko--an apprentice geiko--she is already both beautiful and accomplished, and the envy of her peers. She finds herself pursued by a famous, married actor, and to her surprise, she begins to gradually return his affections. Her star continues to rise, and as she entertains celebrities and politicians, she finds herself to be the most successful geiko of her day. Anyone who enjoyed Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha (1997) will enjoy this memorable account by a real-life former geisha. --Kristine Huntley"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "From age five, Iwasaki trained to be a geisha (or, as it was called in her Kyoto district, a geiko), learning the intricacies of a world that is nearly gone. As the first geisha to truly lift the veil of secrecy about the women who do such work (at least according to the publisher), Iwasaki writes of leaving home so young, undergoing rigorous training in dance and other arts and rising to stardom in her profession. She also carefully describes the origins of Kyoto's Gion Kobu district and the geiko system's political and social nuances in the 1960s and '70s. Although it's an autobiography, Iwasaki's account will undoubtedly be compared to the stunning fictional description of the same life in Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha. Lovers of Golden's work-and there are many-will undoubtedly pick this book up, hoping to get the true story of nights spent in kimono. Unfortunately, Iwasaki's work suffers from the comparison. Her writing style, refreshingly straightforward at the beginning, is far too dispassionate to sustain the entire story. Her lack of reflection and tendency toward mechanical description make the work more of a manual than a memoir. In describing the need to be nice to people whom she found repulsive, she writes, "Sublimating one's personal likes and dislikes under a veneer of gentility is one of the fundamental challenges of the profession." Iwasaki shrouds her prose in this mask of objectivity, and the result makes the reader feel like a teahouse patron: looking at a beautiful, elegant woman who speaks fluidly and well, but with never a vulnerable moment. (Oct. 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Iwasaki, Mineko, -- 1949-
Geishas -- Biography.
Kyoto (Japan) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century.
Publisher New York :Washington Square Press,2003
Edition 1st Washington Square Press trade pbk. ed.
Contributors Ouchi, Rande Brown, author.
Language English
Notes Includes readers club guide.
Description 297 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 22 cm
ISBN 0743444299
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