Memoirs of a Geisha
Book and Film
Arthur Golden was born and brought up in Tennessee, in the Southern US. He graduated from Harvard in 1978 with an art history degree, with a specialization in Japanese art. He obtained further education in Japanese History and Mandarin Chinese. Eventually, he landed a job in a magazine publishing company in Tokyo and met a young man who was born between a prominent businessman and a geisha. This inspired him to write a novel about a geisha. Golden took an interest in the secret world of the geisha and did an enormous research to put together the story of Nitta Sayuri. Six years and three book revisions later, he released the book ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ as we know it today. It became a phenomenal bestseller, spending two years on the New York Times bestselling list with four million copies in English in over three years and was translated into thirty-three languages. Critics praised Golden, a male white American, for the portrayal of an obscure portion of the Japanese culture.
Memoirs of a Geisha is a fictional autobiography of a Japanese geisha during the 1920sand 1930s. The story of Sayuri starts in a remote village by the sea. Chiyo, as she was then called, is the daughter of an aged fisherman and his severely ill wife. A local businessman takes interest in her and her older sister, offering to adopt them to ease the family from their financial slump. After arriving in Kyoto, Chiyo is sold to a geisha house while her plainer sister, Satsu, is sent to a brothel as a prostitute. Bright, sensitive, and with unusual gray eyes, Chiyo learns to serve under the okiya. She dreams of escaping back to her hometown with her sister but her one chance of escape easily fails and she resigns to her fate. She eventually sees that being a geisha was the only way she could make a living in 1930s Japan and is entranced by the glamorous world that surrounds the profession. A meeting with her Prince Charming, a...