MINEKO IWASAKI    Book Number: 86220    Product format: Paperback

No woman in the 300 year history of the Karyukai has ever come forward in public to tell her story. There have been unwritten rules not to do so, by the robes of tradition and the sanctity of their exclusive calling. In Japan are special districts known as Karyukai, dedicated to the enjoyment of aesthetic pleasure. These are the communities where the professionally trained female artists known as Geisha live and work. "But I feel it is time to speak out. I want you to know what it is really like to live the life of a Geisha, a life filled with extraordinary professional demands and richly glorious rewards. Many say I was the best Geisha of my generation; I was certainly the most successful. And yet, it was a life that I found too constricting to continue. And one that I ultimately had to leave. It is a story that I have long wanted to tell." At only three years old, Mineko was spotted to become the successor of a Geisha house. When she was five years old she was given the surname Iwasaki by the head of the family of women who raised her in the Geisha tradition and by ten years old she was legally adopted as the heir to the name and next in line to own the business and all its holdings of acres of land, priceless kimonos, jewels and treasures. Gently but firmly, Mineko is prised away from her loving parents to embark on an extraordinary profession. But even if you are exquisitely beautiful and the darling of the Okiya, the life of a Geisha is one of gruelling demands and Mineko must first contend with her bitterly jealous sister who is determined to sabotage her success. She only later discovered that four of her sisters had joined the society, following an extremely rigorous schedule of constant dance classes and rehearsal. She lived there during the 1960s and 70s, a time when Japan was undergoing radical transformation from a post-feudal to a modern society. The women existed in a world apart, preserving time-honoured traditions of the past. Mineko became increasingly disillusioned and wished to reform the financial and educational independence of the women who worked there and to the horror of the establishment, abdicated her position and retired when just 30. She closed down the Geisha house, then under her control, packed up the priceless kimonos and left Gion Kobu. She married and now raises her family. Here is a glimpse into the exotic, mysterious and tinged-with-eroticism world of the almost mythical Geisha. With photos and a labelled explanation of the wareshinobu hairstyle with tortoiseshell comb and flowers and jade hair pin. A very moving memoir. 334pp in paperback plus photos.
Published price: £8.99
Bibliophile price: £3.75

Additional product information

ISBN 9781471134036
Browse these categories as well: Biography/Autobiography, Erotica, Through the Keyhole

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