Memoirs Of A Geisha

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Memoirs Of A Geisha

Memoirs Of A Geisha

Arthur Golden, an American writer, is the author of the bestselling novel Memoirs of a Geisha. Memoirs of a Geisha spent two years on the New York Times bestseller list. It has sold more than four million copies. Golden was educated at the Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He attended Harvard College and received a degree in art history, specializing in Japanese art. Golden also learned Mandarin Chinese.

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Arthur Golden

An impoverished nine-year-old named Chiyo (after she becomes a geisha her name is changed to Sayuri), from a fishing village is sold to a geisha house. She is subjected to cruel treatment from the owners and the head geisha, Hatsumomo. Her beauty attracts the vindictive jealousy of Hatsumomo. After some time, she is rescued by and taken under the wing of Hatsumomo's bitter rival, Mameha. Under Mameha's mentorship, Chiyo becomes the geisha named Sayuri, trained in the artistic and social skills a geisha must master in order to survive in her society. As a renowned geisha she enters a society of wealth, privilege, and political intrigue. As World War II sparks, Japan and the geisha's worlds are forever changed by the onslaught of history.

Although the novel is full of Japanese culture, in Memoirs Of A Geisha, the Japenese culture is very innapropriatly displayed. Arthur Golden treated Japanese culture and geisha as an object to be sexualized, exoticized, and romanticized. In this novel, the author allowed geisha to resemble the modern day prostitute. The Japanese have always understood geisha apart from prostitution. Japan views geisha as a highly respected profession. The Japanese were offended by the casting in the official film. The directors casted Chinese actresses/actors. This created even more controversy than what had already been brewing.

The Japanese culture is extraordinary. It has a significant amount of difference when compared to American culture. I had no idea that the simple regulations were very strict and to be followed. Nor did I know that rebellion in the regulations were had consequences. Japanese woman are treated as objects, cooks and housewives. Men are expected to work for their families. Japanese can be quite the sticklers for details when it comes to etiquette. The Japanese bring gifts and possesions, bow to greet one another and they posess a great amount of hospitality. This novel showed me how fortunate I am to be an American. I would never leave home to sell myself.

“The heart dies a slow death, shedding each hope like leaves until one day there are none. No hopes. Nothing remains.” ― Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha


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