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Memoirs of a Geisha Essay

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Memoirs of a Geisha Essay

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  • December 2000
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In the best-selling novel entitled Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, Golden examines the secret world of the geisha. Contrary of what is often believed, geisha are far from being prostitutes; they are more accurately High-class Japanese entertainers. Arthur Golden shows the reader a completely different look on life in looking into the lives of geisha in mid-twentieth century Gion and sends a very strong message distinguishing the geisha and the prostitutes.

Arthur Golden, throughout Memoirs of a Geisha, creates a perfect image of the city of Gion, the last Japanese city to still have Geisha the followed the old traditions. Golden describes the world of the Geisha through the experiences of a fictional Geisha named Nitta Sayuri. This novel clarifies the distinguishable differences between a Geisha and a prostitute, Golden' s main reason for writing the book. In various sections throughout the course of the novel, several differences are established between the geisha and local prostitutes. One of these is that the geisha's obi (waist wrap) is tied at the geisha's back in a way that makes it impossible for a geisha to put it on herself. Japanese prostitutes, posing as geisha, have their obi tied at the front, that way they can wrap and unwrap them as needed.

Geisha are strictly forbidden to have sexual relations of any kind with the exception of relations with their danna. Even the presence of a man in the okiya (a sort of communal home for geisha and her servants) prohibited. "I haven't even tries to make you life miserable yet. But if you ever mention that a man came here, or even that I stopped in before the end of the evening, that will change." The following excerpt shows the restriction of the geisha and how sexual intercourse was strictly forbidden "…but feeling such a combination of anger at mother and longing for Yasuda-san that I made up my mind right then to do the very thing mother had ordered me most explicitly not to do. I asked him...

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