Monday, July 16, 2007

Geisha, A Life by Mineko Iwasaki

This is a non-fiction book about what it is like to be Geisha. The book is told by Mineko Iwasaki. She was one of the most famous Geisha's in her part of Japan. The story follows her from a very young girl when she is still living with her biological parents to when she retires of the Geisha life when she is in her late 20's.

When she is still very young, I believe around 3, she is sought after to become the next heir for the Iwasaki house. The lady who runs it now wants Mineko to be the next atotori. The atotori is trained to be a Geisha and to take over the house when the current head passes away. In order to do this Mineka had to be adopted but that family. This is how she becomes an Iwasaki.

Mineko describes what it is like to become a geisha. She describes all the training the women go through and the jealousy from either geisha's - because they all want to be number one. She also does a great job of explaining exactly what a geisha does. She wants to make sure people realize that a geisha is not a prostitute but an entertainer. There is a lot of misunderstanding on exactly what a geisha is and does and she wanted to let people know the truth.

I thought this book was very good. There were some parts where I had to read some sentences a couple times to have them make sense but I'm sure that was due to the translation. I thought it was very interesting and loved hearing about a geisha's life and her life in particular. I think if you are interested in the Japanese culture or interested in geisha, than this would be a good book for you.

non-fiction 5 challenge/new author/297 pgs


Joy said...

I loved MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA. This probably would be very similar. I will look into this some more. Thanks!

tanabata said...

I really enjoyed this too when I read it last year, but then I am rather fascinated by geisha. Plus it was interesting to get the true story behind Memoirs of a Geisha and see what he changed for the novel.