Geisha: a life by Mineko Iwasaki

I have started reading a book in Dutch, which is an autobiography of a Kyoto geisha. Geisha: a life (US) or Geisha of Gion (UK) (Dutch: Mijn leven als geisha). I am still reading it, so of yet I cannot give you my full opinion.

The reason for choosing this book is plain and simple: curiosity. The past 2 years there has been much to do about the movie (inspired by the same novel by Arthur Golden) Memoires of a geisha. Which stars Zhang ZiYi (Crouching tiger, Hidden dragon / Hero / Rush Hour 2) as the main character. I haven’t seen the movie or read the book, but that doesn’t mean I am not curious about geisha and the mysteries around them. I know little about Japanese culture and traditions.

(Except that I was unaware of the still ongoing sensibilities between China and Japan. I read in the paper that many Chinese were outraged a Chinese actress – Zi Yi – played a Japanese geisha. China wanted to ban the movie. But as I said, I know little of Asian culture to fully comprehend it all.)

So I figured it would be a good start to go directly to the source: the autobiography of Mineko Iwasaki, one of the most famed geisha of her generation.

So I still have to finish the book, but I can say that I am amazed of the training these girls undergo, the weight of the kimono in which they perform and all the rules they must obey. At the rate I’m reading it now, it will be finished soon. It is really a good read so far. I’ll keep you posted …

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