Saturday, March 14, 2009

Memoirs of a Geisha

Since moving to New York I’ve learned what the word “geisha” really means to most Westerners. From time to time at elegant parties, I’ve been introduced to some young woman or other in a splendid dress and jewelry. When she learns I was once a geisha in Kyoto, she forms her mouth into a sort of smile, although the corners don’t turn up quite as they should. She has no idea what to say! And then the burden of conversation falls to the man or woman who has introduced us – because I’ve never really learned much English, even after all these years. Of course, by this time there’s little point even in trying, because this woman is thinking, “My goodness… I’m walking with a prostitute...” A moment later she’s rescued by her escort, a wealthy man a good thirty or forty years older than she is. Well, I often find myself wondering why she can’t sense how much we really have in common. She is a kept woman, you see, and in my day, so was I.

Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden


An interesting insight into the floating world, but I must admit I was completely disgusted after reading about the buying and selling of mizuage - so much so that I won’t mention the details here. I always knew most Japanese men had a thing for innocence, but to see how far it would take them if they had the means… A doctor collects the blood!

4 comments:

Jamaipanese said...

i really need to read more books related to Japan

Turner said...

The whole point of puts these quotes up. Plus, I've had a lot of free time lately.

ミス・イギリス said...

What one must keep in mind when reading Memoirs of a Geisha is that it was written by an American man, for Western audiences. Thus, the 'gross' or 'sexy' side will be played up (think about that book 'Crazy Japanese Headlines' or whatever it was, and think about Waiwai. It's what foreigners want to know about Japan).

Of course, things in the book DID happen but I bet it wasn't as wide-spread as Golden makes out. He made a pack with the geisha about which he wrote, one which said that he could write about her story but not say her name. He broke his promise and so she wrote her own book; "Geisha of Gion". I highly recommend you read this version of the story and compare the too. It is very very interesting ;-p

Turner said...

Will do.