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Publisher's Summary

Celebrated as the most successful geisha of her generation, Mineko Iwasaki was only 5 years old when she left her parents' home for the world of the geisha. For the next 25 years, she would live a life filled with extraordinary professional demands and rich rewards. Through great pride and determination, she would be hailed as one of the most prized geishas in Japan's history, and one of the last great practitioners of this now fading art form.

In Geisha, a Life, Mineko Iwasaki tells her story, from her warm early childhood, to her intense yet privileged upbringing in the Iwasaki okiya (household), to her years as a renowned geisha, and finally, to her decision at the age of 29 to retire and marry, a move that would mirror the demise of geisha culture. Mineko brings to life the beauty and wonder of Gion Kobu, a place that "existed in a world apart, a special realm whose mission and identity depended on preserving the time-honored traditions of the past."

Geisha, a Life is the first of its kind, as it delicately unfolds the fabric of a geisha's development. Told with great wisdom and sensitivity, it is a true story of beauty and heroism, and of a time and culture rarely revealed to the Western world.

©2002 Mineko Iwasaki (P)2020 Tantor

What listeners say about Geisha, a Life

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  • Overall
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Beautifully written. Great narration.

This is how her story was suppose to be written. I'm glad she finally has her true story recorded.

4 people found this helpful

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Very informative

As someone very interested in the the art of Geisha, this book was very informative and set the record straight on many things that Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha, had misconstrued. Not only informative, but also heartwarming, interesting, and a great read.

2 people found this helpful

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Super feeling and portrait of this Kyoto demimonde

Mineko is a bit annoying because she is so driven and self-absorbed but Cindy Kay has a marvelous seductive voice that makes you like her anyway and leads you through this echt Japanese world of violence, subtlety, and patriarchy.. Girls just wanna dance and find beauty and Mineko is one.

2 people found this helpful

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Enjoyable, but surprisingly boring

Don't get me wrong, I loved hearing Mineko-san's story. But the way she tells it, her whole career as a geiko was so full of working and dancing that it was almost uninteresting. I have heard that geiko are not very open about "revealing their secrets," so this book was a big deal since it was the first time that anyone has openly expressed this world to the public. This narrative makes me wonder why the community surrounding geiko is such a secretive society. If it is all as squeaky-clean and high-dignity as she says, why is the flower and willow world veiled in so much mystery? Maybe I'm just another foreigner who doesn't get it. But, nonetheless, I really enjoyed hearing the life experiences from a real, accomplished geiko and Cindy Kay did a great job narrating. Thanks, Audible.

2 people found this helpful

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Good Bio but Memoirs is much more entertaining…

So if this is the true story from “Memoirs of a Geisha”, it gets points for being an authentic first hand account. But… the character development is seriously lacking. She has no personality. She has ambition but no driving passions, creativity, charm etc. and the whole story kind of just drones on without much anticipation.

I will say that “Memoirs of a Geisha” is my all time favorite audiobook and I’m always stunned by the imagery and depth of character. This is “possibly” the fault of the narrator as well but ultimately what you’re getting here is an autobiography and not a good “story.” Still interesting and worth the listen. But I didn’t find it remotely similar to Memoirs when it came to history, storyline, characters etc. This is an entirely different book and story. If anything, it makes you wonder what the lawsuit was really about and if perhaps the other book was more accurate (eek)… and this was an attempt to correct relationships that were marred by the first telling. No way to know! But the former was a better read hands down.

1 person found this helpful

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Very detailed

I avoided this book because how short it was. However that was a mistake! The details and beautiful descriptions are very interesting. I am so glad I finally got it.

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Wonderful insight on Geisha culture!

The narration and story was truly insightful. I felt like I had a exclusive history lesson on the challenges and victories that geisha's experience in their careers. It was very well formatted and left me sad when it came to an end. What a interesting and beautiful lifestyle to live. ❤️

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Transcendent

This biography was truly beautiful. There was a raw honesty that I gratefully appreciated. Like many, I came across this book after reading Memoirs of a Geisha. In truth, they are not comparable though. I feel one was written with the intention to entertain and the other was shared to give us a truth.

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Better than the movie

Like way better than the movie it’s self my guy. You will not regret this order

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Review Geisha, a Life

I didn’t expect to learn as much as I did from this beautifully written book. My sincere thanks and appreciation to all who made this book possible.