Geisha of Gion: The Memoir of Mineko Iwasaki – Mineko Iwasaki and Rande Brown

Having read a couple of other Geisha novels-masquerading-as-autobiographies, I was pleased to find a genuine autobiography of one of Japan’s greatest geisha, and Mineko Iwasaki’s book provides plenty of detail on the Willow World in the second half of the 20th century.

At times her narrative takes on an air of irritating superiority, particularly the sections where she berates clients who have unwittingly damaged her fine (and fabulously expensive) attire and accessories, well after the actual events have taken place. However, she is not one to hide her own shortcomings or those of the system in which she became one of the most successful geisha of all time; and that is not necessarily to have been expected given her upbringing in an almost entirely female environment, and an education that focussed on dance, the Arts and conversational skill to the exclusion of more academic subjects.

Buy it: Amazon link