Memoirs of a Geisha  

Posted by Robyn in , , , , , , ,

Penned by: Arthur Golden
ISBN: 9780679781585
List Price: $14.95

This is the story of little Chiyo, the daughter of a fisherman from Yoroido, Japan. When her mother falls ill, her father sells Chiyo and her sister, Satsu to men from urban Japan. The girls arrive in Kyoto, they are separated; Satsu is sold into prostitution and Chiyo is adopted by a Geisha house as a servant. Hatsumomo, the house's lead geisha, is jealous of Chiyo and constantly torments and belittles her. When young Chiyo becomes depressed with her life, a man called the Chairman, has pity on her and buys her something sweet to eat. Chiyo has never experienced such kindness and is immediately taken by the Chairman's charity. She vows that everything she does will be to bring herself closer to him.

The novel follows Chiyo as she grows into a young woman and becomes a geisha under the instruction of legendary geisha, Mameha. Chiyo takes the name Sayuri for her geisha pseudonym and quickly rises to becoming the most sought after geisha in all of Kyoto. Although she performs for many men, Sayuri only truly desires the affections of the Chairman, whom she has taken great lengths to be near.

Follow the struggles of young Chiyo, a simple fisherman's daughter, as she loses her identity and becomes the illustrious Sayuri, the most desired geisha of all time.

My Thoughts

The most interesting contrast in this book is the role of a prostitute versus that of a geisha. This distinction is one that eludes many foreign minds, especially those who choose not to see the beauty in what a geisha is; an artist.

One does not choose to become a geisha, but has that way of life thrust upon them out of necessity. A geisha is unable to allow herself to love one man or even any men at all. A geisha must devote herself solely to the illusion that she is a seductress and an artist rolled into one. A geisha is an object of desire amongst men, so much so that the presence of a geisha is desired by the wealthiest and most powerful of men.


This entry was posted on 19 January 2009 at 2:04 PM and is filed under , , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


I loved this book too and I enjoyed reading your thoughts. I watched the movie after having read the book. I very much appreciated the visual beauty of the movie, but preferred the book.

March 4, 2009 at 1:59 PM

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