Getting Older Essay

282 WordsDec 26, 20112 Pages
Geisha is a wonderful book for people who want to learn about Japanese culture and the geisha arts. Iwasaki explains the intricacies and politics of the business while telling of her life as a geisha in post-World War II Japan. Reviewer Alyssa Kolsky writes “there’s something alluring about a book that details the day-to-day minutes of one of the world’s most fascinating, secretive and oldest professions” (74). Mineko Iwasaki is a strong willed woman who becomes the Number One geisha of Kyoto’s top geisha house, the Iwasaki oikya. Starting her career at age five, Mineko quickly gains notoriety and overcomes the hurdles that come with being a geisha. She retires at age 29 after fourteen years as Japan’s most famous geisha. People experienced with Japanese culture might find the narration too simple and straight-forward, but beginners will gain a wealth of knowledge. As Mineko describes her life in the oikya, she also includes the histories of the Gion Kobu district where she lived, and the women in the oikya, along with the details of the social-political structure between geishas, their clients, and the businesses that support the geisha arts. Some readers might also find Geisha a little dispassionate for their tastes. “Her lack of reflection and tendency toward mechanical description make the work more of a manual than a memoir,” (56) writes Sarah Gold and Mark Rotella. An anonymous reviewer for Kirkus Reviews describes a number of passages as “quite a mouthful for the uninitiated” (1198). Despite Iwasaki’s writing style, Geisha is a wonderful book for fans of the geisha arts and women rising above obstacles that stand in their

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