Book Reviews

Book Review: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden recalls the life of Chiyo Sakamoto. A poor fisherman’s daughter, who is sold to serve as a servant in a renown Geisha house in Kyoto. Although, she starts off as Hatsumomo’s personal maid, who was the most celebrated Geisha in Kyoto. However, the latter usually felt threaten by Chiyo’s beauty hence why she was constantly cruel to her.

Eventually Chiyo commences her training to become a Geisha herself. A woman that entertains men through performing arts and dancing. They’re usually recognized by their kimonos and makeup. Chiyo changes her name to Sayuri when she becomes a successful Geisha.

Later on a lot of men offer to become her danna. A man that pays for all her privileges in turn for her entertaining that doesn’t necessarily include sex, unless the Geisha wants to. Despite her load of admirers, she’s only interested in one forbidden man.

Arthur Golden expresses this story in such a rich way, you absorb all the Japanese customs during the 1930’s. We go through all this woman’s struggles as if they were our own. Definitely a great book to read if you’re interested in Japanese culture! You must also recognize it by the movie that was one of my favorites when I was kid!

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