Geisha, A Life by Mineko Iwasaki with Rande Brown
Forget everything you read or saw in Memoirs of a Geisha; this is the real true story of the woman who was once the most famous geisha in the entire world.
Never a prostitute, never an escort, Mineko Iwasaki was only a brilliant performer and a sparkling entertainer. If you’re at all interested in Japanese culture, you OWE it to yourself to read this book!
Geisha, A Life tells the life story of a young girl who was born into a relatively impoverished family with parents who loved her and siblings she shared both joyful and hellish times with before, at the ripe old age of five, she chose to pursue the art of traditional Japanese dance. She had to be legally disowned by her family, removed from their house, and relocated to the rooms of the Iwasaki household so that she could be adopted formally into the geisha house. Little Masako Tanaka would eventually become the sole heir and inheritor of one of the most profitable and preeminent geiko in all of Gion.
Only one year after becoming an apprentice geisha, Mineko was drowning in popularity and demand, and by the time she could officially call herself geisha at age twenty-one, all of Japan was at her feet.
What, then, caused such a stunning dancer and knowledgeable businesswoman to retire at the peak of her career a mere eight years later?
There are certainly a ton of Japanese words and cultural practices explained and explored in this book, but Iwasaki does a magnificent job of opening up and essentially putting her brain all over the book’s pages, so you shouldn’t encounter too much confusion when it comes to any of these new and foreign concepts.
Overall, the book reads like a fantasy adventure, but it’s someone’s real life and past! There is no biography I could ever recommend more highly than this one.
It makes me wish that geisha is something I could legitimately become…