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Memoirs of a Geisha/presentation

presentation for the first day of school on the politics, history, etc. for the story: Memoirs of a Geisha.

Ariana Millard

on 13 August 2013

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Transcript of Memoirs of a Geisha/presentation

Author biography:
Memoirs of a Geisha
Arthur Golden
Arthur Golden was born on December 6, 1956, in Chattanooga, Tennesse.
He graduated from Harvard College in 1978. He earned his degree
in art history, specializing in Japanese arts.
Golden recieved his M.A (Master of Arts Degree) in
Japanese history from Columbian University in the year 1980.
After attending Peking University in China for a summer; he got himself a job in Tokyo.
A geisha is a Japanese hostess that is trained to entertain men with conversation, song, and dance.
Geisha translates to "performing artists" or "artisan".
Then he returned to the U.s, and got an M.A in English from Boston University.

Finally in 1997, Golden's book: Memoirs of a Geisha was published and made it on the New York Times bestseller list.

Golden now lives in Brooklyn, Massachusetts with his wife and two kids.
History of Geisha:
Early Origins:
[In the early 1600s, the female entertainers were called: saburuko (serving girls). Who mostly sold themselves for sexual services.]

For sexual pleasure, men would go to pleasure quarters (shogunate) to see licensed prostitutes. (Any other form of prostitution was illegal.)

Memoirs of a Geisha was turned into a feature film in 2005.
Information on Geisha:
However, after these pleasure quarters became popular, they became centers for dancing, music, and singing rather than just sex.
In the turn of the 18th century, entertainers of these quarters called "geisha" appeared.
They were all male at first.

Then after one woman was recognized, female geisha became more widespread.

Back in the days, because of war, big companies struggled and had to play a part in the war too. They had to build planes and other things for the military to use, or else they lose their business. Even small shops helped in one way or another.

And because of these struggles, eventually even geisha had to help. During a rough spot in the war, women had to give up their lives as geisha to work in factories or in small families to sew parachutes.

And even after the war it was hard for geisha to gain their regular lifestyle back.

Geisha usually come from a life of poverty and work as geisha only because they have to. However, before they become geisha, they usually do housework as a maid first. Then, if they prove themselves to be a good investment, their Okiya owner will pay for their training.

And because the main character, Chiyo, lived in Kyoto during the Great Depression; she had to work amazingly hard to become a geisha.
When it comes to Geisha, there are many cultural things that are involved. Examples:
Whenever geisha are about to do something seemingly important, they first check their almanac, which is a type of fortune-telling that may tell you what you should or shouldn't do based on your luck.

If a geisha is successful, it was probably because of her relationship with a more experienced geisha called her "Older sister". An apprentice geisha usually has an "older sister" help her.

[After getting an older sister, the name of the apprentice will change. (Chiyo= Sayuri)]
For an apprentice geisha to be recognized as a geisha; she would first need to have her mizuage.
A mizuage is where a man bids for the apprentice geisha's virginity.
Geisha use a heavy amount of make-up on their face, but they will sometimes keep the back of their neck bare to show off their skin. (It's said: Their necks to Japanese men were like legs to American men.)
And they usually wear very expensive kimono, with their hair done in difficult styles.
Geisha wore their kimono with their obi tied in the back.

Women with their obi tied to the front were prostitutes.
Memoirs of a Geisha is a fictional story with a very non-fictional background.
All the facts on geisha and Japan are true.

Arthur Golden based his story off a once-famous geisha named: Mineko Iwasaki. Though he did have to go through a lawsuit with her about it first.
Geisha usually performed dances or played instruments like the shamisen.
Thank you!
Full transcript