Geisha a Life by Mineko Iwasaki

Review :

First, I would like to urge anyone who wants to learn more about geisha - READ THIS BOOK INSTEAD OF MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA. The author of that, Arthur Golden, interviewed Mineko Iwasaki and twisted her tales into falsities, making it seem that geisha were high class prostitutes. This is not the case - oiran, a high class courtesan, sold their bodies, not geisha. In fact, Iwasaki was extremely upset when she realized Golden had twisted her facts on the life of being a geisha, and decided to write her factual and realistic account. Her memoir reads as a beautiful balance between her personal recollections and facts on geisha (or the term used specifically in Kyoto, geiko) life in the 60s-70s. I expected a pretty basic factual account, but was pleasantly surprised by Mineko's escapades - hiding in the closet as a kid, working her hardest to embrace her passion for dancing, chasing down the pervy men who harassed her. Put straightforward, Mineko Iwasaki is a bad ass, and I would love to meet her one day if possible. I highly recommend this memoir for anyone interested in personal stories, the lives of geisha or how Japanese society functioned in the 1950s through 1970s. 4.5/5 stars.


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