Thursday, September 14, 2006

#13 - Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

I enjoyed this book. It was a lot different than I expected. I enjoyed a look into the history and background of Geisha. I had some pre-conceived notions that Geisha were merely high-paid Japanese prostitutes, but this book shows that they are much different than that.

Arthur Golden holds a Harvard degree in Japanese Art, and an MA in Japanese history. He also worked in Tokyo for a number of years, and speaks both fluent Japanese and Mandarin Chinese. He did extensive research for this novel, including interviewing several Geisha. After publication of the Japanese version of the book, one of these Geisha, Mineko Iwasaki, sued Golden for breach of contract and defamation of character. Geisha have a code of silence about their clients, and Iwasaki felt that Golden did not do enough to protect her identity. The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

The book is a work of fiction and not based on anyone's actual life. Golden says that he created a fictional world as close to the true life of a Geisha as he could.

In 2005, the book was made into a movie. I haven't seen the movie. But I do know the book was an enjoyable read. :)


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