Geisha, a Life – Mineko Iwasaki

Geisha A LifeTitle : Geisha, a Life

Author : Mineko Iwasaki

ISBN-10 :  0743444299

ISBN-13 : 978-0743444293

Paperback : 320 pages

The Plot :

Celebrated as the most successful Geisha of her generation, Mineko Iwasaki, was only five years old when she left her parents’ home for the world of the Geisha. For the next twenty-five years, she would live a life filled with extraordinary professional demands and rich rewards. She would learn the formal customs and language of the Geisha, and study the ancient arts of Japanese dance and music. She would enchant kings and princes, captains of industry, and titans of the entertainment world, some of whom would become her dearest friends. Through great pride and determination, she would be hailed as one of the most prized Geishas in Japan’s history, and one of the last great practitioners of this now fading art form.

In Geisha, a Life, Mineko Iwasaki tells her story., from her warm early childhood, to her intense yet privileged upbringing in the Iwasaki Okiya (household), to her years as a renowned Geisha, and finally, to her decision at the age of twenty-nine to retire and marry, a move that would mirror the demise of the Geisha culture. Mineko brings to life the beauty and wonder of Gion Kobu, a place that “existed in a world apart, a special realm whose mission and identity depended on preserving the time-honoured traditions of the past.” She illustrates how it co-existed within post-World War II Japan at a time when the country was undergoing its radical transformation from a post-feudal society to a modern one.

“There is much mystery and misunderstanding about what it means to be a Geisha. I hope this story will help explain what it is really like and also serve as a record of this unique component of Japan’s cultural history,” writes Mineko Iwasaki. Geisha, a Life is the first of its kind, as it delicately unfolds the fabric of a Geisha’s development. Told with great wisdom and sensitivity, it is a true story of beauty and heroism, and of a time and culture rarely revealed to the Western world.

Review :

Ever since I read Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden and found out that the Geisha who it is loosely based on wrote her version of the story, I have been looking for this book. Finally I found it at a local library and started reading as soon as I got a hold of it. Quite literally. And the book did not disappoint. It is a memoir so it is from Mineko’s perspective.

This book is such a fascinating account of the life of a Geisha. She talks about so many aspects of their professional life and this for me was a really refreshing read. It gave me such a detailed look into their customs and practices, beliefs and rules, lifestyle and fashion. The writing is beautiful and the story is mesmerizing. Overall I highly recommend this book for a deeper understanding of this ancient art form.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Geisha-A-Life-Mineko-Iwasaki/dp/0743444299

Find Out More About the Author : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mineko_Iwasaki

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