Some time ago I read this book and I must to say, it’s amazing!

A novel by Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha is a very good book. Published in 1997, it was a best seller during 2 years and was translated into 32 languages around the world.

Let’s begin with the author, Arthur Golden.


Arthur Golden borned in 1956 in Chattanooga, Tenesse, USA.

Golden is a writer who obtained his university studies in Harvard University receiving the title in art history specializing in japanese art. His attraction to the eastern world, led him to learn Chinese and Mandarin and resided in Beijing and later, in Tokyo.
Actually, he lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, USA.

Memoirs of a Geisha was his first novel and I think, the only one. He was sued by Iwasaki Mineko for defamation and breach of contract; but at the end, the trial ended in a friendly settlement. She said the character of Sayuri seems to made according to the life that she told to Arthur when he was interviewing several geishas to write his book. After that, Mineko wrote her own book called Geisha, a life (title in USA) and Geisha of Gion in the United Kingdom.

After this introduction, i’ll start with the book.

One of the book’s cover.

A story like mine should never be told. For my world is as forbidden as it is fragile; without its mysteries it cannot survive. I certainly wasn’t born to the life of a geisha. Like so much in my strange life, I was carried there by the current.


As I wrote before, this book was published in 1997 and was a best seller along 2 years. For me, at least, this is a great, sad, happy and impressive story.

The story begin with Chiyo, a little girl who lived in Yoroido, (a village near of the sea in Japan) with his parents and her older sister. After a dealing of her father, Chiyo and her sister was sold to different destinations in Gion (another district in Kioto, Japan) so, she was send to an “okiya” and her sister to a brothel. There was where she started her life as a geisha.

At this point I must to say SPOILER ALERT!

A sculpture by Tina Yu. I remember this book when I saw this sculpture. Her instagram:

Chiyo lived a hell in the okiya. She was mistreated by Hatsumomo, the only geisha in the okiya Nitta that felt threatened and jelous for the extraordinary beauty of Chiyo, even, when the only friend of Chiyo was become in the student of Hatsumomo she was forbid to talk with her again.

Fortunately, several years before, Chiyo leaves the okiya thanks to Mameha, the woman that would teach her how to be a geisha. When she started her apprenticeship with her new guide, she received a new name: Sayuri.

Remember Chiyo, geisha are not courtesans, and we’re not wives. We sell our skills, not our bodies. We create another secret world, a place only of beauty. The very word “geisha” means artist, and to be a geisha is to be judged as a moving work of art.


Thanks to Mameha and the president (a man which Sayuri was interested since she was a little child) she becomes in a successful geisha with a luxury life until the Second World War arrived and changed her world. She was forced to do hard work so, she lost her beauty. The bad time passed when Nobu (the president’s best friend) was interested in Sayuri and become in her danna. After that, she has the courage to do what she really want for her own.

This is totally drama, but full of inspirations to be brave and have determination to do what you want, even if you have a Hatsumomo in your life. At least, this is what I think about this book. Also, I learn some about the geisha’s life and understand them.

By the way, actually exist a movie of this story. I haven’t seen already but I pretty sure that I will.



What you think about this book? Do you like it?

If you see grammatical mistakes, please, let me know. I want practice my english, but I want learn too.

Thanks for read!



One thought on “Memoirs of a Geisha

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