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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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Beautifully written. Great narration.

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

2 people found this helpful

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Very Meh for me

I read Memoirs of a Geisha maybe once a year. When I found out that Arthur Golden based his story off of this woman, I thought awesome. This must be amazing. It fell short for me. I can tolerate a bad reader if the book is good, but the material was only made worse for me by the reader. I found The way Mineko described her life as too good be true in certain parts and also found it very hard to like her as a character. It was nice to hear the background and understand some of intricacies of the secret world of geisha but it just didn’t grab hold of you attention and make it impossible to stop the way Memoirs of a Geisha does. I guess that’s the difference between a novel and non fiction.

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Simply a masterpiece

I was so please with the detail and elegance Mrs Iwasaki told the good and bad moments of her life. The story of a declining rich and glorious culture which certainly the world would miss. Definitely this book is a must-read for whoever wants to know what it really is to be a Geisha.

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absolutely stunning and revealing wonderfully read

i came here from memoires and left educated and uplifed i encourage all who have read memoires and watched the film to please consider this book

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Wonderful story

The narration was a little flat but perhaps that is how it’s intended to be.

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Story +, narrator-

narrator's voice modulations..annoying. Great story! worth a second listen, since I have the time to do so.

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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.