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Sayo Masuda. Translated by G. G. Rowley. The glamorous world of big-city geisha is familiar to many readers, but little has been written of the life of hardship . Masuda’s account of being a geisha in rural Japan at a hot springs resort is at once intriguing and heartbreaking. There is nothing idyllic in her description of. (Image from Goodreads) As the title states, this is a true story of a Japanese geisha in the s and s. Beware though: it’s not the.

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As the title states, this is a true story of a Japanese geisha in the s q s. Masuda wrote her autobiography between the years of and Sign up here to receive your FREE alerts. Masuda’s account of being a geisha in rural Japan at a hot springs resort is at once intriguing and heartbreaking.

Maybe I am expecting something different since I am not a huge advocate of adding present thoughts on past events.

‘Autobiography of a Geisha’ by Sayo Masuda – Reading Matters

It is hard even to imagine how Masuda managed to surmount every difficulty that life threw at her and she emerged at the end of the account as an woman to be respected. Pages to import images to Wikidata Articles containing Japanese-language text. Karuta stumbled as she fell off the tracks, landing on Masuda’s broken leg, and the next day an infection set in.

Her description of mausda as a geisha is surprising, I really enjoyed this very quick read. Jun 21, Sally rated it liked it Shelves: In addition to all of the typical geisha skills such as dancing, music, art and conversation, she was also a prostitute in a hot springs town.

Interesting to note that when young boys are sent off to become sumo wrestlers, they join “stables” rather than “families”. This page was last edited on 30 Augustat There is nothing idyllic in her description of geisha training or life between the world wars.

Personally I wouldn’t have forgiven my mother for what she did if I If you want to learn more about the life of geisha, this isn’t quite the book for you. Unlike the characters of Memoirs of a Geisha, which I still haven’t read and am not in a hurry to read which presents a more rosy view of the trade, Masuda was a “hot springs” geisha.


This is not the soft, lyrical story of Arthur Golden, but the real thing, expressed by someone who was there. In the English version of the book, G. However, Elder Sister Karuta, the second oldest geisha in the okiya, worked with Masuda to help her through her training, starting a lifelong friendship between the two. Masuda also tells of her life after leaving the geisha house, painting a vivid panorama of the grinding poverty of the rural poor in wartime Japan. Her editors worked carefully to convert her work into the standard kanji while preserving the feeling of her original writing.

This nickname was used even when she started as a novice geisha. Thanks for this rec.


Happiness was masdua short-lived for Masuda, but she remained compassionate and did what she could to help others; indeed, in sharing her story, she hoped that others might not suffer as she had.

Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. It’s incrediably moving and frank portrayal of an old and often mis-understood custom. Masuda presents an account of her life, starting with her early indenture to a geisha house, and she details some of the more unsavory aspects of the job.

She doesn’t have to. She survived and quit drinking, and when she had sufficiently recovered, she began to look after children, eventually becoming a full time caretaker for several years. Retrieved July 29, But the simplicity also means there’s no room for deceit, and the plain truth of her words jump off the page with an easiness not found in more “serious” memoirists.

Masuda definitely drives home the point that no girl chooses to be a geisha — it is thrust upon her, and how each girl learns to cope with that reality determines what her life will be.

Amazingly xutobiography does this with almost a total lack of indulgent self pity. She frankly accounts her grinding poverty, physical abuse, and emotional hardship. Home Contact Us Help Free delivery worldwide. She wants to be the person she is now. Upon debuting, Masuda underwent mizuage with a man nicknamed Cockeye.

I enjoy reading your comments! After going through and struggling to get out the sex trade geisha at a hot-springs resort Autobiography of a Geisha has none of the glamour usually shown in other books and movies about the life of a geisha. Many years later Masuda decides to tell her story.

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A comfortless portrait of the flip side of the geisha world, where one is more slave than courtesan. It was interesting to read for awhile; yet, I felt that she was holding something back sajo discussing certain parts of her life in such a way to emphasize a certain point or moral. Masuda writes with a simplicity brought on by the fact that she wasn’t taught to read or write until her 20s, and the tense often switches from past to present and back again.

Very recently I read Mineko Iwasaki’s Geisha: Views Read Edit View history. Masuda entertains no illusions about her low status, nor does she feel fondly about the geisha tradition in her region. The poverty after WWII is tangible. The account of her life itself is inspiring as she sailed through all odds while life didn’t treat her well, it still did give her cruel chances to survive on.

Iwasaki’s world was one of privileged luxury, consummate arts training, the glamour of Kyoto’s Gion Kobu district, and the wealth and prestige that came with being a high-class geiko. During these years other children gave her the derisive nickname “Crane”, as in the winter she was never allowed to wear socks and would lift one leg up and warm her foot on the thigh of the other leg. She lost her will to live To call this book heartbreaking would be to reduce it to a disarming cliche.

There were pregnancies, deaths from diseases and suicides. A small diamond ring sparkled on my finger. Rowley wrote an afterword detailing her attempts to meet Masuda in person.

The glamorous world of big-city geisha is familiar to many readers, but little has been written of the life of hardship and pain led by the hot-springs-resort geisha.

Most women like her could have never told their story, since most of the them would have been as illiterate as she started out. She went to Chiba to find Karuta.