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Geisha: A Lifeby Mineko Iwasaki
Synopses & Reviews
Japan's most celebrated geisha lifts the veil on a mysterious and seductive world to tell her enthralling story. Mineko Iwasaki was five when she began her lifelong training in the rigorous arts of dance and etiquette. She made her debut as a maiko, an apprentice geisha, at fifteen. On her twenty-first birthday, she exchanged the crimson collar she wore around her neck for a white one, symbolizing her status as a full-fledged geisha. She became the star geisha of the exclusive Gion Kobu of Kyoto, captivating a legion of fans from the celebrated stages of the Gion Theatre. Crowned heads and heads of state vied for her favors. She was on intimate terms with Japan's most powerful businessmen and celebrities. Then, at twenty-nine--at the height of her fame--she abruptly left the public eye. Breaking three centuries of silence for the first time, Iwasaki shares her remarkable journey, set against the backdrop of Japanese mores and customs during the 1960s and seventies. With acclaimed translator Rande Brown, Iwasaki recreates the geisha life, from its illusive enchantments to its harsher realities. In this extraordinary story of a woman who embraced, then rejected, the shackles of her country's submissive traditions, Geisha, a Life opens a fascinating window on sex, love, gender identity, fame, and feminism in modern-day Japan.
No woman in the three-hundred-year history of the karyukai has ever come forward in public to tell her storyand#8212;until now.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;"Many say I was the best geisha of my generation," writes Mineko Iwasaki. "And yet, it was a life that I found too constricting to continue. And one that I ultimately had to leave." Trained to become a geisha from the age of five, Iwasaki would live among the other "women of art" in Kyoto's Gion Kobu district and practice the ancient customs of Japanese entertainment. She was loved by kings, princes, military heroes, and wealthy statesmen alike. But even though she became one of the most prized geishas in Japan's history, Iwasaki wanted more: her own life. And by the time she retired at age twenty-nine, Iwasaki was finally on her way toward a new beginning.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;Iandgt;Geisha, a Lifeandlt;/Iandgt; is her story — at times heartbreaking, always awe-inspiring, and totally true.
About the Author
Born in 1949, andlt;Bandgt;Mineko Iwasakiandlt;/Bandgt; was Japan's star geisha until she retired at the age of twenty-nine. She now lives in a Kyoto suburb, with her family.
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