Mineko Iwasaki Geisha, A Life

ISBN 13: 9780743444293

Geisha, A Life

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9780743444293: Geisha, A Life
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No woman in the three-hundred-year history of the karyukai has ever come forward in public to tell her story—until now.

"Many say I was the best geisha of my generation," writes Mineko Iwasaki. "And yet, it was a life that I found too constricting to continue. And one that I ultimately had to leave." Trained to become a geisha from the age of five, Iwasaki would live among the other "women of art" in Kyoto's Gion Kobu district and practice the ancient customs of Japanese entertainment. She was loved by kings, princes, military heroes, and wealthy statesmen alike. But even though she became one of the most prized geishas in Japan's history, Iwasaki wanted more: her own life. And by the time she retired at age twenty-nine, Iwasaki was finally on her way toward a new beginning.

Geisha, a Life is her story -- at times heartbreaking, always awe-inspiring, and totally true.

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Now in her 50s, Mineko Iwasaki was one of the most famed geishas of her generation (and the chief informant for Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha). Her ascent was difficult, not merely because of the hard, endless training she had to undergo--learning how to speak a hyper-elevated dialect of Japanese and how to sing and dance gracefully while wearing a 44-pound kimono atop six-inch wooden sandals--but also because many of the elaborate, self-effacing rules of the art went against her grain. A geisha "is an exquisite willow tree who bends to the service of others," she writes. "I have always been stubborn and contrary. And very, very proud." And playful, too: one of the funniest moments in this bittersweet book describes a disastrous encounter with the queen of England and her all-too-interested husband.

Revealing the secrets of the geisha's "art of perfection," this graceful memoir documents a disappearing world. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Born in 1949, Mineko Iwasaki was Japan's star geisha until she retired at the age of twenty-nine. She now lives in a Kyoto suburb, with her family.

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Book Description Washington Square Press, United States, 2003. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. No woman in the three-hundred-year history of the karyukai has ever come forward in public to tell her story--until now. Many say I was the best geisha of my generation, writes Mineko Iwasaki. And yet, it was a life that I found too constricting to continue. And one that I ultimately had to leave. Trained to become a geisha from the age of five, Iwasaki would live among the other women of art in Kyoto s Gion Kobu district and practice the ancient customs of Japanese entertainment. She was loved by kings, princes, military heroes, and wealthy statesmen alike. But even though she became one of the most prized geishas in Japan s history, Iwasaki wanted more: her own life. And by the time she retired at age twenty-nine, Iwasaki was finally on her way toward a new beginning. Geisha, a Life is her story -- at times heartbreaking, always awe-inspiring, and totally true. Seller Inventory # ABZ9780743444293

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Book Description Washington Square Press, United States, 2003. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. No woman in the three-hundred-year history of the karyukai has ever come forward in public to tell her story--until now. Many say I was the best geisha of my generation, writes Mineko Iwasaki. And yet, it was a life that I found too constricting to continue. And one that I ultimately had to leave. Trained to become a geisha from the age of five, Iwasaki would live among the other women of art in Kyoto s Gion Kobu district and practice the ancient customs of Japanese entertainment. She was loved by kings, princes, military heroes, and wealthy statesmen alike. But even though she became one of the most prized geishas in Japan s history, Iwasaki wanted more: her own life. And by the time she retired at age twenty-nine, Iwasaki was finally on her way toward a new beginning. Geisha, a Life is her story -- at times heartbreaking, always awe-inspiring, and totally true. Seller Inventory # ABZ9780743444293

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