Customer Reviews for

Geisha, a Life

Average Rating 4
( 77 )
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5 Star

(39)

4 Star

(23)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(3)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 77 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted May 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Imaginations Review of Geisha: A Life

    Okay, so I'm going to be very blunt and honest in this review and probably in the rest of my future reviews. I'm always honest, but sometimes I hold my opinions back a little bit for fear of offending someone. I just can't do it anymore. And when it comes to this review, I have some very strong opinions. First of all, I would venture to say that anyone that reads/read this book has already read Memoirs of a Geisha. This memoir is supposedly the real story of the geisha that Memoirs was based upon. It was written by Mineko Iwasaki herself with the help of an English translator. Now I can say that I have read both books, and Memoirs of a Geisha beats the pants off of this very informative, but slightly dry attempt at the same. Listen. I know parts of Memoirs of a Geisha are fictional. But some of the things that Mineko said about the book I find slightly offensive. She has said that Memoirs of a Geisha made the Geisha appear to be a high-classed prostitute. I never had that opinion after reading it. At all. In fact, quite often the author made the distinction between traditional courtesan and Geisha. Also, I want to talk about the Mizuage tradition. Mineko has stated that it was never a ceremony where a maiko's virginity was auctioned off to the highest bidder. As gross as this is, Mineko is being very misleading and she is/was not speaking the truth. During the time that Mineko was a Geiko, the practice had been outlawed, but before the 60's, it was commonplace. It was officially outlawed in 1959, but carried on for awhile after that. Now notice for a second the setting for Memoirs of a Geisha. Most of the book was set before World War 2. The whole virginity aspect was still very much a part of Geiko culture then. So like I said, Mineko was being very misleading in her book. I could go on and on about the disagreements I have with the things Mineko has said, but I think by now you get the point. I didn't dislike reading it, I found it to be very informative. But I also found it kind of dry and written with an air of condescension. Mineko thinks very highly of herself.I'm not saying that she shouldn't be, but I felt I was being talked down to for a good portion of the story. I gave it four stars, because it was a well-written piece of non-fiction, and I happen to be very interested in Asian culture, especially the Gaiko/Maiko culture. There is not a lot of information out there, and I will read whatever I can get my hands on. That being said though, I will probably never re-read this, but I will re-read Memoirs of a Geisha. There's actually a story there and quite a few facts. I would recommend reading this if you are interested in Japan or Geisha culture. Otherwise, it could go either way.

    6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Treasure

    Whether you have read Arthur Golden's "Memoirs of a Geisha" or not, I highly recommend this book as a true reference to what this ancient clandestine lifestyle of the geiko (woman of art) is truly about. Mineko Iwasaki graciously lifts the veil on this 300 year history, and takes great care in dispelling much of the western misconceptions regarding this practice of Japanese entertainment. Details of customs, costume, protocol and more of this fading culture lie within her pages. Immerse yourself in this 'flower and willow world'.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2007

    Wonderful Autobiography

    This book was a wonderful true story, and I thought it was interesting to know that the author also helped Arthur Golden with Memoirs of a Geisha--that is, she told him what it was like to be a geisha. I haven't read Memoirs, but if it's as interesting as this, I'd say it's worth reading.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2005

    Absolutely Amazing

    Mineko Iwasaki's story was something unbelievable. It cleared up the mystery and stories behind the Japanese geisha like none other. It completely sucked me in, and I've read it many times since. Compared to any other books about the Japanese geisha out there, this one is definitely the best. It's full of honesty, heartbreak, and most importantly, the true meaning of the geisha.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2007

    Geisha, A Life

    A great cultural insight into the life of the forbidden Geisha. Dispelling western misconceptions of Geishas, 'Geisha, A Life' is one woman's great journey as a Geisha. A definate read to those who prize culture,I highly reccomend it to anyone who has already read 'Memoirs of a Geisha'.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2007

    A True Memoir...

    I really recommend this biography. It shows the truth. I think everyone who's read or watched Memoirs of a Geisha should read this book, so they can see how it really is. Although it may seem boring to some in comparison to Memoirs of a Geisha, at least it's honest. Besides, fiction is supposed to be more dramatic and colorful than real life, I guess some people can't accept that. I really enjoyed this book, and think that it should have been made into a movie instead of Memoirs of a Geisha.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2006

    Hmmmm.......

    I thought that this book was kind of a let down after reading Memoirs of a Geisha. This book was just a little bit boring... it didn't hold my attention as much as I thought it would. There were also so many people that were involved in the story, and their names kept changing, so I got really confused. But overall, it was an interesting read. It was a glimpse into a world in which hardly no one knows about. Yes, it may not be better that Memoirs of a Geisha (in my opinion) but I still enjoyed it, none the less.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2013

    Geisha, A Life

    This is one of the most romantic yet descriptive geisha books I have ever personally read. I have read many! Top of my recommendation list for anyone who wants to take a trip back in time to the Real Japan and the Real Geisha Girls! You won't be disappointed! Enjoy and have a safe journey. :-)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2012

    What

    Well ill be true i dont think its the best book

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2012

    Highly Recommended.. Much better than Memoirs of a Gesha.. She is the real thing!

    VERY GOOD

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2011

    Very informative

    Gives you an actual accounting and behinds the scene look at geishas as they really are and not as the media and public would have you think. The geisha who narrates the book is a very proud and comes across as arrogant sometimes but I would recommend book for those interested in geishas.

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  • Posted July 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great Read

    I thought this was such a great book. I learned so much about the life of a Geisha..from the time they start all the way til the end of their career. The story of Mineko Iwasaki is amazing. This book is def worth buying!

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  • Posted May 26, 2010

    Entertaining-

    This is a good story and really unbelievable how this culture lives and what they go through. Things that are important in one place may not mean anything in a different culture. This story really was fascinating. This is the story of a famous geisha and she tells her life story from her birth all the way through her retirement. It is an interesting story and it is such a different life that it is so neat to hear about a different culture, a different way that women live around the world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2008

    I Loved This Book!!!!

    After reading Memoirs of a Geisha witch I loved a friend of mine told me about this book.I was very interested to read about a real person and what she had to go through.It was a very well written book I was very happy with it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2008

    Is it really the full story?

    An unusual book. I appreciated the glimpse into Japanese geisha culture. However --despite the fact that this is an autobiography --I had the sense that the main character, Mineko Iwasaki, was very one-dimensional. Perhaps the unusual upbringing in the okiya creates this type of one-dimensional personality. Or perhaps there are parts of the story that are not fully told.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book had points where the mere thought of putting it down was horrifying and then parts that helped lull me to sleep. It was a very well written book but the writers over protection and defensive description of the 'geisha' was exasperating.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2007

    Really Good Book

    I thought this book was REALLY good. It was amazing, and kept me reading, but the beginning was a bit boring, and names were confusing. If you liked 'Memoirs of a Geisha', you'll probably enjoy this book, as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2007

    Loved it!

    I personally loved this book. I loved how it told a true story about what it was really like to be a Geisha. I loved how it dispelled every western misconception of what a Geisha really is.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2006

    Better than Memoirs of a Geisha

    The book was really good, it's about a real life Geisha from Japan. It talks about what's its like to be a Geisha and the life it like.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2006

    An excellent read.

    I loved every page of this book. I found her life to be very interesting, provocative, exciting and unimaginable. I found myself slowly reading each word not wanting the book to end. I wouldn¿t recommend it to just anyone, only those interested in other cultures, countries, etc.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 77 Customer Reviews
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