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Passing on the material to a third party in return for payment or for free is strictly prohibited. By using our material you accept our copyright regulations! My Account Change address Change my Password. Order DVD Book the film. Book the film. Summary Credits Press Documents. You just wonder how people can be so terrible to children, then or now.

Gion und meine Geisha

And much of this still goes on throughout the world. What is also amazing is how open the system was, how men brazenly used the girls and then discarded them, how many mamasans took advantage, how many turned a blind eye. Ans still do, I suppose, especially when times are really tough. For those who like to romanticize about Japan, this book may serve as a good corrective to see that their is often an ugly underside to any culture, even if aspects of it are lauded.

Kyoto Geisha Tour: Gion at Twilight

May 20, Julie rated it liked it Shelves: autobiographical , asian-lit. Agony, despair, and teeth-grinding misery are great words to describe Sayo Masuda's autobiography. In many ways, this account reminds me of the American autobiography of an abused child, "A Child Called 'It'" that was released in the 90s. Each page is filled with so much suffering and gut wrenching misfortune meagerly accompanied by tiny moments of happiness. The tr Agony, despair, and teeth-grinding misery are great words to describe Sayo Masuda's autobiography.

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The translator provides handy end notes for further historical study too. I would especially recommend this book to anyone who think's Arthur Golden's "Memoirs of a Geisha" encompasses the lives of all geisha. Not all geisha were so well off as I learned by reading Sayo Masuda's story.

I enjoyed this book for it's insight but it did make me gulp and feel thankful for what I have.


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A memorable passage: "But what about me? A small diamond ring sparkled on my finger. And I had a gold watch. On my feet, a pair of leather sandals. In my purse, I had 4, or 5, yen left. But, despite this, my soul was starving, thirsting, crazed with agony as it roamed about looking for a place to die. Nov 06, M. If you want to learn more about the life of geisha, this isn't quite the book for you.

Japan's geisha and the unfortunate image of sex workers

Much of this memoir doesn't concentrate on the details of geisha life, which I was sad about. After having read the fictional 'Memoirs of a Geisha' and Mineko Iwasaki's autobiography 'Geisha of Gion', I was hoping to see more into the life of a lower-ranked geisha, because the other books fictional or not were about geisha that were more lucky.

Personally I wouldn't have forgiven my mother for what she did if I If you want to learn more about the life of geisha, this isn't quite the book for you. Personally I wouldn't have forgiven my mother for what she did if I had a mother like the one in this book, because Masada's childhood was simply heartbreaking. Poor little girl. For a memoir, this was a good book, and the afterword made it even better, I was happy to find out what happened to this geisha in particular.

The writing is clean and the story is interesting, so as a memoir it's a good read. If it had more information on the life of these lower-level geisha, I would have given it a higher rating. It was a refreshingly straight forward read. It provided a realistic look into the lives of geishas and was a good contrast to the glamourous portrayal of geishas in movies and books today. It is hard even to imagine how Masuda managed to surmount every difficulty that life threw at her and she emerged at the end of the account as an woman to be respected.

The account of her life itself is inspiring as she sailed through all odds while life didn't treat her well, it still did give her cruel chan It was a refreshingly straight forward read. The account of her life itself is inspiring as she sailed through all odds while life didn't treat her well, it still did give her cruel chances to survive on. And a point brought up through Masuda's perspective as a prostitute regarding the criminalisation of prosititution is indeed a point to reflect upon as nobody goes into this business voluntarily, they only do it to survive.

Sayo was basically sold off by her family because she was illegitimate and her mother's new partner didn't want to raise someone else's child. Through no fault of her own, Sayo found herself working as a nursemaid and then training to be a geisha. This was not the glamorous world the West thinks as Sayo was one step above a prostitute on the streets. She shows remarkable perseverance in her life as she does whatever she can to survive. This is a fascinating memoir and a glimpse into a whole othe Sayo was basically sold off by her family because she was illegitimate and her mother's new partner didn't want to raise someone else's child.

This is a fascinating memoir and a glimpse into a whole other life and culture. The most remarkable thing about this book is the author's voice. Although you have to wonder how much was altered in translation from Japanese to English, it is still very compelling.

Gion in Kyoto: Geisha, Dining & Shopping Tips - Travel Caffeine

I think with memoirs you can always tell whether the author is trying to gloss over negative aspects of their life, but Masuda is unapologetic and genuine. This is not the soft, lyrical story of Arthur Golden, but the real thing, expressed by someone who was there. A very rich and evocative memoir. Of course it was a fictional account albeit based on interviews with a former geisha , and therefore removed to a certain extent from reality. I also read Mineko Iwasaki's autobiography Geisha of Gion which gave a more realistic view of the secluded life of the geisha.

In Geisha of Gion there is a conflicting aspect to Mineko Iwasaki's account. She herself does not write much about this trauma; it's as if she was happy to be separated from her family at a very young age, but she does provide some details about her elder sister's troubled behavior as a result of this forced separation when sent off to a geisha training "family".

Interesting to note that when young boys are sent off to become sumo wrestlers, they join "stables" rather than "families". Here, in Sayo Masuda's autobiography, we are given a more honest account of the circumstances both social and personal, of the indentured servitude that is called geisha 'training' and 'art'.


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Difficult as the narrative is to read, for its unflinching account of the rigors and tortures of geisha life during the difficult conditions of post-war Japan, I value this memoir for its emotional honesty. View all 3 comments. Sep 21, Peter rated it really liked it. Quite a story! This book is recommended reading for anyone interested in what living in wartime and immediate postwar Japan was like.

Of course, if you want to write a best seller, it is always important to not veer too close to reality. But for a good strong dose of reality about Geisha not Kyoto Geisha, but one wonders how different , there is nothing better than this little gem. And yet Ms. Masuda tried so hard to get by, and to be good, even when the most horrible things happened to her. In addition to a highly readable translation, G. Rowley who is a friend on Goodreads does a wonderful job in tracking down the author many years after her book was published and updating her life and adding some important information on her story.

May 21, Gabriel Avocado rated it it was amazing Shelves: memoirs-biographies.

Work Hard…Travel Harder!

Dec 26, Dreamtinheist rated it liked it. Autobiography of a Geisha has none of the glamour usually shown in other books and movies about the life of a geisha. Sayo Masuda endured many hardships from an early age that did not stop when she became a full-fledged geisha. It was interesting to read for awhile; yet, I felt that she was holding something back or discussing certain parts of her life in such a way to emphasize a certain point or moral.