Thursday, October 23, 2008
Geisha, A Life
Written by Mineko Iwasaki, Geisha, A Life is a detail-filled account of one woman's journey from girlhood into young womanhood as a geisha, or, geiko. I found it interesting, but sad. Interesting because it was all true - what this young girl experienced! She was introduced to her future life as a geisha at the age of three; quite literally she was 'chosen' to be a Very Important Person in the world of 'geisha-dom.' For 26 years Mineko Iwasaki lived a life of beauty, entertainment, and non-stop excitement, as well as a life of (at times) feeling isolated and depressed. (That's the sad part that I mentioned earlier.)
I actually read this book a couple of months ago, but had not been able to wrap my brain around what this young girl went through mentally as well as physically enough to write a review. I still can't. Yes, she led a glamorous life, and made a lot of money. But she basically lost her childhood as a result.
I understand that in Japanese culture it is an honor to be so revered and admired. What I don't understand is the willingness for her family to give her up at such an early age, and that she just accepted it and resigned herself to the geisha life. But, then again, I am not Japanese!