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Great book. I had finished "Memoirs of a Geisha" right before reading this and loved that one also. Memoirs is fiction, while this is autobiographical so there are differences in the details. The story is told beautifully and gives a great peek into the life of a real geisha. It dispels a lot of myths and misconceptions that people have. Definitely worth the read - especially if you are interested in that aspect of Japanese culture.
This is an interesting memoire in which a woman who describes herself as one of the pre-eminent geishas of post-war Japan describes how she came to be a geisha (or geiko) as well as what her training was to achieve the title. Since it isn't fiction it's devoid of drama but full of interesting facts about a life inside a compound of powerful women living much more complex and empowered lives than you might guess.
It was interesting to read a personal, real-life story of a geisha. If you've read or plan to read Memoirs of a Geisha or any book like that, it's fun to be able to compare fact and fiction. Even if you haven't or won't read a fictional geisha story, it's still interesting to read a first-hand account about the lives of geisha and everything from the what is demanded of them, their day-to-day lives, and even how much their kimono may cost. Overall, a good read if you're interested in geisha or Japanese culture. There are several pages of photographs as well.
Also, this is the same book as Geisha of Gion. The book was published as Geisha, A Life in the U.S. and Geisha of Gion in the UK.
A fascinating read. It has been criticized for not being as descriptive as the Memoirs of a Geisha. I find this funny since it is actually a memoir and not a work of fiction. I've read both and find this book engaging.