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Transcript of Book discussion
Born in Yoroido, a poor village.
At the age of nine, sold to an okiya
Has a young fighting spirit.
After parents die she loses hope
She gains hope when she meets Chairman Iwamura
Chiyo meets the Chairman
"In that brief encounter with the Chairman, I had changed from a lost girl facing a lifetime of emptiness to a girl with purpose in her life." - Chapter 9 p.g. 113 Chiyo is taken under the tutelage of Mameha. Her name is changed to Sayuri.
"Your honorable sister says, "Cut your leg," you cut your leg. She says, "Follow me," you follow her. My life had turned into a game, and only she knew the rules." (Movie quote)
She has to compete with Hatsumomo and Pumpkin
Her interest in the Chairman conflict with her duty as a Geisha
Similar mistake that Hatsumomo made years ago "You hate anyone more successful than you." Chapter 6 p.g.76
Her lover Koichi
"I could be her. Were we so different? She loved once. She hoped once. I could be her. I might be looking into my own future." (Movie quote) Nitta Sayuri Formally Chiyo Sakamoto Pumpkin Nobu-san and the Chairman Sayuri's only friend in the okiya
Like Sayuri, she has no family outside the okiya.
She becomes bitter when Sayuri is chosen to take over the okiya Themes Identity
Personal Interest Geisha- two kanji, (gei) meaning "art" and (sha) meaning "person" or "doer". The most literal translation of geisha into English would be "artist," "performing artist," or "artisan.
Maiko- (aged 15 to 20 years old) become geisha after learning how to dance (a kind of Japanese traditional dance), play the shamisen, and learning Kyō-kotoba (dialect of Kyoto), regardless of their origins.
Mizuage- (lit. "hoisting from water") a ceremony undergone by a maiko to signify her coming of age. When the older geisha (in charge of the maiko's training) considered the young maiko ready to come of age, the topknot of her hair was symbolically cut. During the Edo period, courtesans undergoing mizuage were sponsored by a patron who had the right of taking their virginity
Danna- A geisha's Patron Geisha Terms Nobu-San Reserved
called "Mr. Lizzard" by Hatsumomo
Suffered injuries as a soldier
Very loyal to his friends. Gruff and very blunt
Shy due to his injuries The Chairman Reserved but compassionate
Gentle in his manner
Prince Charming figure I overlooked his gruffness and tried to imagine gentleness instead. Gradually I found myself able to look at his lips and block from my mind the discoloring and the scars, and imagine that they were the Chairman's lips, and that every nuance in his voice was some comment on his feelings about me. At one point I think I convinced myself I wasn't even in the Exhibition Hall, but in a quiet room kneeling beside the Chairman. (Chapter 17) Facts about the Author and the book Arthur Golden born December 6, 1956 in Chattanooga, Tennessee USA.
"Memoirs of a Geisha" is the only book the Golden is famously known for.
Golden was sued for breach of contract and defamation of character by Mineko Iwasaki (retired geisha). The lawsuit started in April 2001 and was settled out of court in February 2003 “We don't become geisha because we want our lives to be happy; we become geisha because we have no choice.”- Mameha
“I never felt oppressed because of my gender. When I'm writing a poem or drawing, I'm not a female; I'm an artist.” -Patti Smith
“To understand people’s identities and opportunities, we need to understand the privilege or oppression that they experience, the historical times and the circumstances in which they are currently living , the structural arrangements that surround their lives, and the possibilities for empowerment that they encounter or create.”- Estelle Disch
“Within these institutions, people are systematically socialized to become women or men via complex processes of learning and are frequently bombarded with gender rules from many sources simultaneously.”- Estelle Disch “Traditional romance narratives portray young women whose primary aspiration is to find the perfect man to marry. As argued by Janice Radway and Linda Christian- Smith, in these stock narratives a young woman may even be portrayed as independent, self-sufficient and strong, but she ultimately capitulates to her “true” need and desire to be attached to an appropriate male.” (AY 111)
Wife vs. Geisha
WWII era and Japanese traditions “Now I understood the thing I'd overlooked; the point wasn´t to become a geisha but to be one. To become a geisha . . . well, that was hardly a purpose in life. But to be a geisha . . . I could see it now as a stepping-stone to something else.”- Sayuri
“If you'd asked me why I wanted these things, I would have answered, why does a ripe persimmon taste delicious? Why does wood smell smoky when it burns?” –Sayuri "Many Young Adult texts promote the idea that sex for the sake of pleasure, not bolstered by a “love” relationship, is explicitly wrong. This cultural idea translates into punishment for those who might espouse or even practice sex without love" (AY125)
Hatsumomo fades into a condemned life of prostitution after the fire in the okiya
Nobu condemns Sayuri after the chairman cathces her with the American General
Transaction-based relationships and the absence of true love In the end Sayuri does not get married to the Chairman. He is already married. But she has a child by him and owns a tea house in the US. Knowing this, has Sayuri established herself as a self sufficiant woman or as a woman dependent on the world of men? Is she justified? In what ways is this story "Romanticized"?
In what ways could this story resemble reality for Japanese Geisha? Unless noted, when we read stories like this one, is it natural to assume that the female protagonist is beautiful? Does it ruin or improve the story? In someways the friendships in this story mirror each another. What does this say about female and male friendships with the same or opposite sex? Questions Thank you for your participation