Maybe this series is not going to turn out like your typical book review series. Seeing that “Geisha of Gion” is a memoir, at times I feel more urged to review the character of the author Mineko Iwasaki. It requires a lot of courage to stand on truth when surrounded by arrows of lies. I have learned so far that the lives of geikos are in many ways tremendously private affairs. Not to mention, the art of a geiko is sacred and their training is rigorous. Many sacrifices must be made and kindred ties severed, especially in the case of Iwasaki’s rise as an atotori. An atotori is the heir to a geisha house or okiya. Traditionally, geikos were very notable figures in their communities like cultural diplomats—not prostitutes or loose women.
Tell Your Own Story
The first lesson “Geisha of Gion” taught me—the most important lesson—is the power of telling your own story. I could draw many false conclusions had I not been compelled to dig deeper into the sanctity of geiko tradition. The most bewitching part is Arthur Golden’s book acknowledgments claim he received his information from the “life experiences” of Mineko Iwasaki. Golden did actually have the privilege of interviewing Iwasaki for background information in confidence. However, he went on to give her name, while fabricating his own version of her reality. This is why Mineko Iwasaki’s “Geisha of Gion” is such a powerful masterpiece in my eyes.
People from afar often interpret your interworkings based off of their own pre-established biases. Others simply and maliciously only seek to rob you of your story and make it their own. Sometimes it is…scary, to think you must tell your story—one that is only yours. No one truly has the rights to your story but you. For Mineko Iwasaki, her life is one of many sacred traditions. Moments she revealed and graciously shared by compellation and indirect force were never meant to be sourced. Yet, when faced with the reality that some people inadvertently or intentionally sought to only rise upon her kindness, Iwasaki chose to gift her truth. There is always power in your truth
Missed book review part 1 of “Geisha of Gion: Memoir of Mineko Iwasaki” →READ IT HERE←