Geisha of Gion
6 journalers for this copy...
An autobiography by the woman whose life story inspired Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha
Most readers come to Iwasaki's memoir after reading Memoirs of a Geisha
, and the controversy that ensued following the publication of Golden's novel.
As I was reading Iwasaki's autobiography, however, I was constantly reminded of Amélie Nothomb's satirical novel of the Japanese ethos, Fear and Trembling
. There is certainly much that made Mineko tremble with fear and frustration in her life and, despite the dry tone of her memoir, my heart goes out to her for all that she endured in order to become the "number one" geisha of her generation. With the benefit of Nothomb's insight, I understoon exactly why Iwasaki's attempts at reforming the rigid system failed, and why she eventually turned her back on her cultural upbringing.
As a memoir, the narrative is not particularly revealing. Iwasaki's point of view is limited mostly to her own experiences, and there is little 'dialogue' exchanged with her counterparts. Obviously the professional competitiveness within the geisha milieu, as well as the lack of close communication with her colleauges & her immediate family, make this story one-sided. But still, Iwasaki does manage to discuss painful emotional aspects of her life, and in this she transcends the usual stoicism of Japanese culture, making this book an engaging read after all.
Edited 04.04.2010 to add:
I was somewhat troubled by the discrepancy between Mineko and her sister's view of geisha life. In Autobiography of a Geisha
by Sayo Masuda one can understand better why Mineko's sister was so aggressive and spiteful over the physical and emotional betrayal she felt all her life.
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Thank you for picking up this book. Do with it as you please... read it, give it to a friend, keep it, release it in the wild - it's up to you.
Journal Entry 3
By Post, By Post -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Released 10 yrs ago (2/17/2010 UTC) at By Post, By Post -- Controlled Releases
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Received this today, thanks a lot for adding it to the VBB, okyrhoe!
And thanks for the Japanese cards, too!
Journal Entry 5
Bremen, Bremen Germany on Tuesday, June 08, 2010
I picked up a copy of this book at a sale, so this one can go travelling while the other one is waiting to be read. I know the perfect destination and occasion...
Journal Entry 6
Summer Gift, A RABCK -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Released 9 yrs ago (6/9/2010 UTC) at Summer Gift, A RABCK -- Controlled Releases
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Summer Gift for you!
Travelling to UK along with a few little goodies.
Journal Entry 7
Birchington, Kent United Kingdom on Saturday, June 12, 2010
Received from ApoloniaX this morning, what a lovely suprise! Thank you!
Journal Entry 8
Birchington, Kent United Kingdom on Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Finished this quite a while ago, and somehow forgot to journal!
I love Japanese culture, and I enjoyed this book. Iwasaki went through a lot (though she had some good times too), and I sympathised with her the whole way. All in all, I'd recommend this book to someone interested in Geisha life.
The photo pages inside were an interesting bonus too!
I will send this book travelling again soon (either by BB or RABCK, not sure yet). =]
Journal Entry 9
Birchington, Kent United Kingdom on Saturday, February 04, 2012
One of those random moments when you're sending someone a book & have a little peek at their wishlist... and then discover that for once you actually have something someone else wants!
This will be travelling soon ;)
Journal Entry 10
Sheffield, South Yorkshire United Kingdom on Thursday, February 23, 2012
Thanks so much for this surprise from my wishlist! I look forward to reading it very soon
Journal Entry 11
Sheffield, South Yorkshire United Kingdom on Monday, March 26, 2012
A fascinating if a little dry read for anyone interested in Japanese culture and geisha life in particular. I will keep an eye out for Autobiography of a Geisha by Sayo Masuda (thanks for the tip, okyrhoe!).
Journal Entry 12
Sheffield, South Yorkshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Sending as a RABCK to someone who had this on their wishlist. Enjoy!
Journal Entry 13
Turku, Varsinais-Suomi / Egentliga Finland Finland on Friday, April 13, 2012
Thank you very much for this book and the beautiful postcard that came with it! :)
Journal Entry 14
Kaarina, Varsinais-Suomi / Egentliga Finland Finland on Tuesday, June 19, 2012
I think this was a fascinating biography. Japanese culture sort of demands perfection and that can make people very lonely. And that is kind of absurd that when a Master (like the dance teacher in the book) makes a mistake and every one knows it, it still can't be made known. Mineko didn't make the mistake, but she still needed to apologize the mistaken teacher. . The lovely thing about the japanese culture though is the loyalty that people value for those they have promised something (most times).
I think Mineko's life turned out good even though there were really hard times too.
Mineko was strong-willed and proud. It seems she got to decide a lot about her own life and she certainly was no courtisan, but a dancer. I have also read Arthur Golden's 'Memoirs of a Geisha' and Amélie Nothomb's satirical novel 'Fear and Trembling'. One has to remember that Golden's book is fictional, but still Mineko's life went a whole lot better than life in those books.
Journal Entry 15
Kaarina, Varsinais-Suomi / Egentliga Finland Finland on Thursday, July 04, 2013
I reserve this book for my birthday rabck on the Finnish forum.
Journal Entry 16
Kaarina, Varsinais-Suomi / Egentliga Finland Finland on Thursday, July 11, 2013
Released 6 yrs ago (7/13/2013 UTC) at Kaarina, Varsinais-Suomi / Egentliga Finland Finland
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Piiku won the book in my birthday RABCK, so the book package travels to her.
Journal Entry 17
Parainen, Varsinais-Suomi / Egentliga Finland Finland on Tuesday, July 16, 2013
The book is here, thank you MiuM!
Journal Entry 18
Parainen, Varsinais-Suomi / Egentliga Finland Finland on Sunday, September 08, 2013
A fascinating story about a very different culture.
Journal Entry 19
Punta Prima in Orihuela, Alacant/Alicante Spain on Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Released 6 yrs ago (9/16/2013 UTC) at Punta Prima in Orihuela, Alacant/Alicante Spain
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
I left the book on a table in the entrance of Dinastia restaurant.