Book Review: Geisha of Gion


Title: Geisha of Gion
Author: Mineko Iwasaki
Language: English


Geisha of Gion is actually a biography narrated in a memoir of one of the most popular entertainer in Gion Kobu — Mineko Iwasaki. It is of course would not be the same if you compare it to “The Memoirs of Geisha” which was written by Arthur Golden, because the latter is a fiction. So by definition, Geisha of Gion is less dramatic, less problematic, but somehow more interesting for me than The Memoirs of Geisha in a different way.

However, rather than comparing, I would rather explain why I like this book.

First of all, the writing style, or rather — the story telling, was impressive. I guess it has something to do with the author’s background as an entertainer and an artist herself. I could sense the witty humour she slipped here and there while telling us what happened in the wonder of the world of the female artist and entertainer which has been widely mistaken with high class prostitution. Mineko Iwasaki tried to straighten that misconception in this delightful work.

I guess Iwasaki could give herself a pat in her back for this book is a piece of artistic non fictional piece that could be enjoyed by anyone. It is not only entertaining but it has widened the horizon of anyone who read it. It details have given not only information, but also valuable knowledge. And I like how she explained the details without having to be over dramatic about everything.

Of course as a non-fiction it could feel plain for there’s no over dramatic scene which many would expect from a geisha’s life. However this book is still a good book to read if you really want to know more about Japanese tradition and culture, especially about Geisha and some of Japanese traditional arts (dancing, music and traditional education).

Would I recommend this book to anyone? I couldn’t see why not.


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