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Geisha of Gion: The True Story of Japan's Foremost Geisha Paperback – May 6, 2003
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About the Author
MINEKO reached the peak of her career as a geisha in the 70s and 80s, performing for the likes of the Queen and Prince Charles. Now fifty-two years old (and still stunningly beautiful), she is the mother of one daughter and lives with her husband in a suburb of Kyoto, Japan.
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Top Customer Reviews
I found the surrounding people in the house fairly fascinating as well, and I am glad she included insight into their lives, how they became to be associated with her okiya. There is the expected bickering between coworkers and the "bosses" trying to hold it all together.
I liked the fact she talks about her dance training, talks about the teachers and her commitment to being the best dancer. I also like that she is up front about her, well we would call it her introverted personality, and how she knows this hinders her in other areas of her profession. (Entertaining at tea houses does not simply entail dancing, she has to entertain the guests and interact with other maiko and giesha.)
She is candid about some personal relationships, and that is refreshing in a book from this culture.
My only complaint, is that she often talks about how she wanted things in the geisha world to change, that she complained to " the head office" about things. I wish she would have written more about what she saw as problems. I guess if we sat down and had a cup of tea she might expound on how she felt their education was lacking (they basically don't learn any "real world skills") and what she would want changed. I didn't know if it was just that education, their working hours, their servitude to a house due to their debt, what issues she felt needed to be changed. I think that would have helped me appreciate her plight slightly more. Because she was basically at the top of the geisha food chain during her time, and if at the top she felt she had problems, it would be interesting to view her problems and how it might be worse for those geisha lower down the ladder.
But all in all I would say I loved this book. It had enough fancy kimono descriptions, geisha training/school stories, personal relationships, and family and geisha society descriptions to keep me turning the pages and wanting more. I think it was incredibly fortunate this book was written.
I sat down to read this story and was vividly impressed with the character of Mineko, she and I seemed to be growing up in the same time and space miles and cultures apart. Mineko as an appreciated artist did her thing unashamed; I appreciate her for sharing her story of a rich tapestry of the mystery that surrounds the life of a Geisha how HARD they really practice, work and study the ancient culture and principles of mindfulness...A vocalist and visual artist myself none can imagine why I had to stand alone, practice---practice---practice, no time for the mundane things in this life; but she told our story! Even the hiding from the sight of others when we were very young. Her in the cupboard, me in my mother's closet (LOL). Mineko, THANK YOU for opening up and making me know that I am not/ was not anything other than what/who I'm supposed to be! I give her two thumbs up! KUDOS!