Geisha, a Life by Mineko Iwasaki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was a solid 4 star read for me. Whereas Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha was meant to entertain, Mineko Isawaki's Geisha, a Life was meant to inform.
Mineko Isawaki is most notable for being one of, if not THE most famous Geisha in Japan's history. This autobiography is told from her own view of the traditions and trails that she faced.
Mineko does a brilliant job of taking the reader through the grueling daily schedule she had from a young age as well as giving a lot of historical background to her life and the life of a Geiko (female artist). She dispels much of the rumors of geishas being little more than pleasure companions. I love the detail she gives on traditions of a geiko as well as the intricacies associated with each year and season and the symbolism and immense cost of each important occasion and dress of a geisha's career.
This book is drastically different from memoirs of a Geisha and makes you wonder how both of these stories are about the same thing. This is definitely not a re-read of Memoirs of a Geisha and stands on its own If you are interested in learning more about geisha, and as known in Kyoto as geiko, I highly recommend giving this book a read.
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