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Memoirs of a Geisha

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Denzel Gaskin

on 20 May 2014

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Transcript of Memoirs of a Geisha

"I don't much like thinking myself as a cup of tea made in a bucket, but I suppose in a way it must be true." pg. 8
- This is at the very beginning of the book where she first begins telling her story by saying she was born in Yoroido. This pertains to the theme 'hard work will help you achieve your goal. This is show though the fact that even though she was born in poverty she was able to become very successful, with a few bumps in the road'.
Key Quotes:
Theme Music

I Believe I Can Fly - R. Kelly
This song is great song that has been heard around the world, some people make fun of this song. But if you listen there is actually someone speaking what they believe in behind the lyrics. That's why this song is perfect for this book, because in this book Sayuri (chiyo) who's has had a people her entire life try to bring her down. But still in the end she comes out with a new mother, and the man she loves. If she can go through all that and still end happily ever after, I would believe i could fly!
Things Are Not Always As They Seem - WBelieveW
This song was choice Jared suggested, because the song relates back to the theme which is "Things are not always as they seem." People could look at this and say many different meanings about what this would mean. But in the book Memoirs of a Geisha, Sayuri (Chiyo) is lied to and tricked many times. Most of all these times were because Hatsumomo hatred towards Sayuri because she is threatened that she will take her place Okiya and Gion. Another prime example which was no Hatsumomo, but instead Sayuri's best friend Pumpkin. This is when Pumpkin promised to bring Nobu to see Sayuri with the minister, but instead brings the chairman (who Sayuri is in love with)to her. Again things are not always as they seem.
It's On Again - Alicia Keys Ft. Kendrick Lamar
It's On Again, a great new song used in the new movie The Amazing Spiderman 2. But that's not why we chose this to use as one of our songs, we chose it because it talks about hardship and pain. This can relate to the story because in the book Sayuri has to go through alot of hard and diffcult things. She had to deal with her mother, then her granny, and then to top it off she had to deal with Hatsumomo and all them made her life miserable. None of them liked her that much and the only person really nice to her was auntie.
Nothing Last Forever - Maroon 5
This song is from a famous group that talks about losing the best thing he had which was a girl. This is perfect because one of our themes is "Nothing Last Forever." He says because nothing last forever even having a girl, but in the book its a little different. In the book she loses her house and all valuables because of the great depression in japan. That's why you cant advantage of the things you do have because nothing last for even in day to day life.
"Why it's to pretty a day to be so unhappy" pg. 110
-This was a changing point in the book. it is where the Chairman first meets Chiyo (Sayuri) and reaches out to her. As a result of the Chairman's seemingly effortless effort he encouraged her to keep moving forward. This connects to the theme that 'Although the world and the people in it can be harsh, there are those few who stand as a ray of hope to you'.
Okiya - a lodging house in which maiko or geisha lives in during the time of her career as a geisha.
Ibuki - Yoshida Brothers
Shamisen is a musical instrument used in Japan, it's like a guitar but with only three strings. The Yoshida Brothers do a great job because all they use the Shamisen in there songs, but not only do they use the Shamisen, they use it and then make it in to modern music. This relates to the book because in the book they talk about an instrument used in the time around geisha's. Which is he same instrument that the Yoshida Brothers use in all there songs.
"Everyone of the hundreds of geisha in Gion was struggling to find a nest from the war in those final weeks, and only few were lucky enough to find one." pg. 345
-This was when the geisha district is hit hard, as Japan being on the losing side at the time, because of the war. All the geisha were trying to find a safety net for themselves since the districts were closing. This goes with the theme that 'no matter how hard you work for things, do not last forever'.
Geisha - A Japanese woman who is usually educated to be a hostess
The End
Kimono - a loose, wide-sleeved-robe, fastened at the waist with a wide sash.
"If you no longer have leaves, or bark, or roots, can you go on calling yourself a tree."
pg. 350
- This is when Sayuri comes to the realizations that she s just like any other person she stands next to, and it gives her feeling that she hadn't felt since she was a peasant girl. She also realizes how easily things get taken away no matter how hard you have worked for them, and this is relevant to the 4th theme.
Takamakura - a pillow, that wasn't really a pillow at all, but it was a wooden stand with a padded cradle for the neck
"Sometimes we get through adversity only by imagining what the world would be like if our dreams should ever come to be." pg. 370
- This is when the Chairman is talking to Sayuri and she brings up the standings of the company. He is unwilling to talk about it, and says the only way to accomplish a dream is to have one first. This coordinates with the theme 'work hard to achieve you goals'.
Deaths During WWII In Japan
Kuroyaki - "char-black" perfume made by charring wood and grinding it into a soft dust.
Population: 3,120,000
Danna - a man that would take care and provide for a specific geisha.
"Practice your calligraphy, little Chiyo." pg. 73
- This is when Hatsumomo makes Chiyo write on Mameha's kimono. This is only one of the many times the Hatsumomo is cruel to Chiyou making her do things to raise her debt, in order to keep her from becoming a geisha. This is an example of our theme 'what you see is not always what is true', so in this case Hastumomo is beautiful and elegant yet she is rotten to the core.
68% - Military Deaths
32% - Civilian Deaths
Charts, Diagrams, or Graphs
"It's happened!" pg. 337
-This another turning point in the book because it is when mass poverty stricks the districts. This quote is when it is announced that all the geisha districts were closed. Though she may not have realized it at that moment her hard work had really all just plummeted into nothingness, and this exemplifies the theme 'no matter how hard you work for something, they will not last forever'.
1. What you see is not always what is true.
2. Hard work will help you achieve your goals in life.
3. Although the world and the people in it are harsh there are those few who stand as a ray of hope for you.
4. No matter how hard you may work for somethings, they will not last forever.
Obi - a long, broad sash tied around the waist over a kimono
Uiwata - a hair that is usually bound up with a piece of colored cotton crepe; and a style that resembles a divided peach, which is worn only by maiko
This theme is very evident throughout the book where a lot of things have the real hidden behind a vale. One example would be Hatsumomo, for although she is beautiful and elegant on the outside she is rotten to the core and treats everyone in a cruel manner. It is also shown in how Nobu, even though he seems cruel and looks rugged, he is a kind man at heart. There is also the fact that geisha put on all that make up and become someone that may not be true to who they really are.
Futon - a soft bed; a thin mattress placed on a floor for sleeping
Maiko - an apprentice geisha in western Japan, especially Kyoto
Water is a huge motif in the story. This reason why is because Sayuri makes a similarity between her and water. Water, itself, is very soothing, and yet very powerful. Soothing water represents Sayuri’s calm and beautiful attire and personality. On the other hand, powerful water represents how Sayrui is not a powerless person, and she can get what she wants. She also makes a similarity between flowing water and her life. When flowing water hits a rock, ie an obstacle, it can move around or go over it. Likewise, when Chiyo experiences struggles, she finds a way around it. Another similarity is that water can be manipulated and/or changed by bigger forces, such as wind or gravity? Likewise, Sayuri life is changed when she is sold into an okiya and her sister into a brothel. The chairman also plays a big role in changing her whole life, because he’s the one who helps Chiyo, the poor girl become Sayuri, the famous geisha.
This theme is seen throughout the book where working hard is the only solution to success. An example would be Sayuri herself, for she is someone who came up through poverty to become one of the most successful geisha. Also for Nobus case as well because he came out of war having lost one are and started a company. Through his hard work he was able to make his company very successful.
This theme is shown in the book in different places. The first place that it is seen is when Mr. Tanaka befriends Chiyo and helps her. He also gives her an opportunity to make a better life for herself although at the time she may not have seen it. The second time is when the Chairman reaches out to her when she is feeling at her lowest point, and it is because of his kindness that makes her work to becoming a geisha. The third instance of this theme is when Nobu offers up the last of his connections in order to save Sayuri from factory life.
Lipstick - This is my first souvenir because it is a piece of makeup, and this can perfectly be compared to the book. This would compare close to the Geisha's because all of the them wore makeup. Not just a little makeup either they put on powder, lipstick, and eyeliner, so lipstick was a perfect choice for a souvenir.
Symbolism in Japan Water
Fan - The next souvenir is a fan, not the kind a fan you have on the ceiling or a sports fan. No this is a fan that women use to dance with. The kind of dance that geishas do for a living, This can relate to the book because in the as a geisha Sayuri uses the fan while she dances for the chairman and minister. In this next short clip you can see Sayuri's first dance and how she uses the fan in her dance.
This theme is evident throughout the book where things that are earned are lost in an instant. This mostly happened during the part of the book when Japan was at war. For most of the geisha had to leave all that they had known and worked hard for to work in factories because of the war. Sayuri was reduced basically to a peasent status because of the war and all that she worked for was reduced to almost nothing.
“This is why dreams can be such dangerous things: they smolder on like a fire does, and sometimes they consume us completely.” (goodreads.com)
-This quote pertains to the theme of hard work will help you achieve your goals.
Handkerchief - This is the last Souvenir that i picked because this represents more than just something to blow your nose in. This represents Sayuri's love towards the chairman because he gave the handkerchief to her when she was crying in the street, and ever since then shae always has the handkerchief with.
“He was like a song I'd heard once in fragments but had been singing in my mind ever since.” (goodreads.com)
- This is Sayuri expressing they way she feels about the Chairman. This is important because we actually never get the feelings of the Chairman, so while Sayuri is fawning over him she doesn't even know if he likes her or has any sort of interest in her at all.
Author's Quotes
"Geisha because when I was living in Japan, I met a fellow whose mother was a geisha, and I thought that was kind of fascinating and ended up reading about the subject just about the same time I was getting interested in writing fiction. And that led me to write a novel about a geisha." (cnn.com)
-This is Arthur Golden when he is at an interview about the book and the interviewer asks why a geisha.
This painting is called 'Imperial Palace in Kyoto'. This painted was done by an artist known as Suzuki Shōnen who lived around the time before World War 1. Even though this painting is from a different time period, it still pertains to the novel and Japanese culture. Most of the book is set in the city of Kyoto, so I think it would be suffice to show a painting of the old imperial palace that was located in Kyoto before it was moved to Japan. Also, Japan is famous for it's cherry blossoms, so that is another reason why I choose this painting.
Please enjoy this song by the Yoshida Brothers that they made using modern instruments and the shamisen.
"I did. In fact, I threw two drafts away. But I wrote a draft based on a lot of book-learning. And I thought I had a pretty good idea of what the world of a geisha was like, and wrote a draft. Then a chance came along to meet a geisha, which, of course, I couldn't turn down. And she was so helpful to me that I realized I'd gotten everything wrong, and I ended up throwing out that entire first draft and doing the whole thing over again." (cnn.com)
-Golden is talking about when he was writing it and how he really struggled. It was only when he meet a real geisha did finally realize what he needed to do. This actually goes along with the theme to work hard to achieve your goals.
"It is confusing, because in this culture we really don't have anything that corresponds to geisha. But in Japan, men and women don't go out together the way they do here. When men go out, the women stay at home. And historically what has always happened is the Japanese men hire women to sit and kind of entertain them. That's really the role that geisha play. They're entertainers more than anything else." (cnn.com)
-This is a question a lot of people have, are geisha just prostitutes? and this was his answer. Geisha are entertainers mostly and will occasionally take a danna.
"The truth is, she doesn't exist. This character's entirely invented, and the woman that I interviewed wouldn't recognize herself, or really anything about herself, in this book, which she hasn't read, because she doesn't read English." (cnn.com)
-This is Golden talking about how people asked how they could meet her. This shows just how strong his writing is, that it is able to bring a fictional person to life.
"You know, I think that it's pretty much like writing anything else in fiction, in the sense that even if you sit down and try to imagine a story about somebody who lives on a street you've never seen, you really can't escape the hard work of just bridging this divide between you and an imagined other. And the difference for me was that I had to do a lot of research to put myself in a position where I could begin to know enough about that imagined other to make that leap. But the leap, I think, is the same, really, whatever kind of fiction you're writing." (cnn.com)
-He talks about here how it really is hard to imagine someone that you have never meet much less seen. Although for his case when he was writing the book he had to do a lot of research so that he could capture the image correctly.

This painting is called 'Woman by a Window'. The painting was done by a Japanese artist by the name of Kiyokata Kaburagi who lived around the time the novel was set, pre-WW2, during, and after WW2. I choose this painting because it portrays a picture of a geisha.

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