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4 Local Warehouse Asia- Japan Contemporary 1945 to Present

Geisha: A Life

by

Geisha: A Life Cover

ISBN13: 9780743444293
ISBN10: 0743444299
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Synopsis:

andlt;Bandgt;No woman in the three-hundred-year history of the karyukai has ever come forward in public to tell her story — until now.andlt;/Bandgt; 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;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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Christin, July 23, 2012 (view all comments by Christin)
This is a fascinating autobiography. Mineko Iwasaki chose to leave her family’s home at 5 years old and be adopted into the Iwasaki family as the heir to their geisha house. She spent the next 25 years immersing herself in traditional art forms, eventually becoming the most famous and acclaimed geiko of her generation. When Arthur Golden was researching his ’Memoirs of a Geisha’ book, he interviewed her and used her story as his ”inspiration.” She was angry at the way he sensationalized and sexualized geishas and ignored their passion for and dedication to the arts. So she wrote this autobiography to help correct the misunderstandings about what a geiko does and how the system and its associated industries actually work.

Their dedication to their arts is astounding. I read ’Memoirs of a Geisha’ years ago and it really bothered me, because it did feel like it sensationalized things and focused entirely on sex, but it was really well written and engaging (which somehow made it worse). I liked how this book laid out what a geiko actually does in a very clear way that even someone with no familiarity with Japanese culture and traditions can understand. She talked about not only the lessons, but also the relationships between the geisha houses and teahouses, what the parts of the geiko’s outfits mean and why they’re important, and the roles of all the people whose industries geiko depend on to enable them to perform their arts. She also explores some of the reasons there are so many misconceptions about what geishas actually do, such as similar use of terminology that leads to mixing up geiko traditions with those of courtesans.

Overall, this was a really enjoyable book. It’s a fasinating look into a complicated, primarily female world. And I just admire the heck out of the dedication and determination it takes for these women to practice their arts.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780743444293
With:
Brown, Rande
Publisher:
Washington Square Press
With:
Brown, Rande
Author:
Iwasaki, Mineko
Author:
Brown, Randee
Author:
Brown, Rande
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Social life and customs
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Japan
Subject:
Geishas
Subject:
Entertainment & Performing Arts - General
Subject:
Ethnic Cultures - General
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
Japan Social life and customs.
Subject:
Iwasaki, Mineko
Subject:
Biography-Ethnic Cultures
Subject:
Biography-Entertainment and Performing Arts
Copyright:
Edition Description:
B102
Series Volume:
108-279
Publication Date:
September 2003
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1 8-pg bandw insert, 1 8-pg 4c insert
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.31 in 9.905 oz

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Related Subjects

» Biography » Entertainment and Performing Arts
» Biography » General
» Biography » Women
» History and Social Science » Asia » Japan » Contemporary 1945 to Present
» History and Social Science » World History » Japan

Geisha: A Life Used Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages Washington Square Press - English 9780743444293 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , andlt;Bandgt;No woman in the three-hundred-year history of the karyukai has ever come forward in public to tell her story — until now.andlt;/Bandgt; 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;Iandgt;Geisha, a Lifeandlt;/Iandgt; is her story — at times heartbreaking, always awe-inspiring, and totally true.
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