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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 3:58 pm 
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Okasan
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Favorite Geiko: Ichiteru Makino
*nods*
Both the book and the movie opened my eye about this Japanese tradition.
By curiosity I truly understood what geisha really are. I would say that the book has many wrong information, now that I really know a lot about them. As expected for a foreign-made book.
So I guess, I would say that it 's both helpful and harmful. Helpful at the beginning, harmful when you learned more... I guess.

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 Post subject: Re: Discussion of the Week: MoaG - Helpful or Harmful?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:49 am 
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Shikomi
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I rather enjoyed the book. I did know some about geisha and maiko before (I went to the Gion corner show back in 1985, when I spent one week-end in Kyoto, at the end of a three months stay in Tokyo's suburbs at the end of my studies), but not that much.
I wish I had known more at the time.

Even in Japan, it seems there is much more material published on the subject recently, a few manga titles, the maiko henshin studios, etc.

As for the movie... One of my Japanese colleagues told me I wouldn't like it (she didn't either, it looked to non-Japanese to her). I saw a small extract once on tv, and briefly wondered why there were Chineese girls dressed up in kimono and speaking an heavily Chineese-accented English before realizing that must be it.

I'll probably come around to see it at some point. Maybe.

But maybe we should start a thread about non-MoaG movies and books on the subject. What about "Omocha", "Gion bayashi", "Sisters of Gion", "母を慕いて" (with Misora Hibari, not sure if there even is an english title for that one)... Or books like "Kuruwa no onna" by Inoue Yuki, or "Autobiography of a Geisha" by Masuda Chiyo.
Or manga like "Geisha", "Jotei Hanamai", "Hannari to" or "Kurenai Nihofu" (the manga adaptation of the autobiography of Mineko Iwasaki).

(or is there such a thread already?)


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 Post subject: Re: Discussion of the Week: MoaG - Helpful or Harmful?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:15 pm 
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Senior Maiko
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Location: in my imaginary hanimachi........
Favorite Geiko: Kotoha
Favorite Maiko: Fukuya
The little Japanese kids went home back to Japan, i miss them, one of the oldest girls, Rin-chan, she was the double of Chiyo in the movie, i just wanted to call her Chiyo-chan, that was a bit off topic but yeah.....


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 Post subject: Re: Discussion of the Week: MoaG - Helpful or Harmful?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:27 pm 
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Minarai
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Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:27 pm
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Location: Delft, the Netherlands
Favorite Geiko: Kikutsuru
Favorite Maiko: Toshiteru
MoaG is [technically] written well and the story has sufficient speed and tension to make it a two-day read only [I bought it cheaply a week ago and read it last weekend in the Dutch translation]. This being said...

Having had a general interest in Japan a long time before I got here, I entered the hanamachi by reading Aihara first. That alone already allowed for an occasional frown while reading Golden. This board, about which I found out about a month ago, has caused a wrinkled forehead... I have not seen the movie, but I'm under the sad impression I don't need to anymore...

The Hatsumomo character is the umpteenth proof of the correctness of the opinion of many an actor/actress that they'd rather play an evil character. Maybe an 'older sister' could get away with such behavior in those early days, when apprentices were much more like, let me say it once, captives. Nowadays the maiko surge would immediately go into reverse if the oneesan behaved so! [Note that Mameha is even more dangerous, all smiles while scoring a complete victory over Hatsumomo - and the way she did it! Afraid, though, that between these parentheses I probably am a man who does not understand women? :wink: ]

Sayuri is a fair bit too colourless herself [rather play an evil character]. Must say I liked the move by Pumpkin on her, toward the end.

I was impressed by the post of Fuyouhime, date Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:25 pm . Compliments! Reminded me of reading and watching Shogun first, and only then Eiji Yoshikawa's Musashi. There too the love stories are very different.
But isn't the love suicide often the thing to do, and the way out, for those who can't get one another because of society's opposition?


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 Post subject: Re: Discussion of the Week: MoaG - Helpful or Harmful?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:58 pm 
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Senior Maiko
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Love suicides aren't that common in Japan these days since it's a lot easier for people to marry who they want to marry, but they still happen every now and then. The rise in popularity of love-matches and Western-style romances has largely killed the love-suicide rate... but I think that's a good thing :wink:.

The point of the love suicide was that the couple had no hope of marrying each other or even living together, so they decide to dedicate their lives to one another via death. I think the reason the 'happily-ever-after' ending is so popular in the West is because class distinctions were much more vague in the West, and there was leniency for a woman to climb the social ladder and for a man to marry down. I think the romanticizing of marriage also comes from this, since there was more chance of a couple in love actually getting to marry each other in Western culture than in the East. But in Japan, class distinctions were very rigidly defined, and it was much harder for couples to not only meet but then fall in love and then marry. The 'happily-ever-after' ending was in complete opposition to the workings of Japanese society, while the 'love suicide' ending did work within its limits. It had the same romantic imagery behind it as the 'happily-ever-after' ending, in that the two people were dedicating their lives to one another in love, the only difference is that in Japan they did it via death.

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 Post subject: Re: Discussion of the Week: MoaG - Helpful or Harmful?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 5:20 pm 
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Minarai
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Favorite Geiko: Miehina Miharu
Favorite Maiko: Katsuru Toshikana
Well my love to geisha culture begun with this book and for a while was the noly source of information. Now I'm very dissappointed of the novel and also of the film.
The film was horrible . The book was actualy better but still they only do harm for the geiko world.
It is bad that people think that the novel is a true story :x and that mizuage is still practiced :x

But the worst thing is that both the book and the film are much more popular than books wrote by geikos or maikos themselves :cry:

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 Post subject: Re: Discussion of the Week: MoaG - Helpful or Harmful?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 12:31 am 
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Senior Maiko
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Favorite Geiko: Mayuha and Kimika
Favorite Maiko: Fukusuzu
To be honest, the reason books written by maiko and geiko aren't as popular is because they aren't as good a read (at least in English, I don't know about other translations). Out of all of the biographies of geisha that I've read, only Sayo Masuda's is on par with Memoirs, but her story is completely different from Iwasaki and Komomo's biographies. Iwasaki's memoir, for example, is a rather dry read. I liked it for the info, but I think that if I hadn't had that sort of interest in it then I wouldn't have bothered finishing it. If she had gotten a better translater, then I think it could have gotten close to Memoirs, but the sensation and drama of Memoirs is really hard to beat with a real-life story.

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 Post subject: Re: Discussion of the Week: MoaG - Helpful or Harmful?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:06 am 
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The book and the movie aren't pieces of art, let's be honest. Gong Lee is a gorgeous actress, but whose fault is that they couldn't pool out anything from Hatsumomo's character, but some eclectic costumes and bitchy looks? Certainly, not hers. The book is written in a very ugly way, even I with my Engish could noticed that obvious fact. The good things: the movie is so beautiful! When you read the book, you can imagine whatever you want so easily... Another Cindirella story, if you ask me. But if the MOAG made so many people interested in Japanese culture, if so many girls put on themselves beautiful kimonos (even in their imaginary hanamachi), I think they are helpful.
If you took a dvd with MOAG, you had to notice that they have 2 discs. On the second the hair stylist told that it was impossible to copy Japanese hair style of geishas without adoptating for American people. This is a movie! This is not a documentary of a real life of a real geisha!
And a movie made for American people, of course it was adoptated. When you eat Italian food, it is adoptated for Amerucan, when you watch a movie about Japanese history of 1930 , it was adoptated too! Who cares? Thi is a business.
P.S. For my knoledge, in China MOAG wasn't showed in movie theaters, only on dvd.Gong Lee was critised for playing a "prostitute"... So, it isn't only "Western Look" on traditional Japanese enterteiners. Who are they, we wil never know. Everything is our guessing.

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 Post subject: Re: Discussion of the Week: MoaG - Helpful or Harmful?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:25 am 
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Senior Maiko
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Favorite Geiko: Mayuha and Kimika
Favorite Maiko: Fukusuzu
Black_Jasmine wrote:
The book is written in a very ugly way, even I with my Engish could noticed that obvious fact.


Eh, I thought you would have read a translated version? Wasn't the book translated into nearly 30 languages :??

I've been meaning to ask the non-Native-English speakers on this board, but what are the translations of MoaG and the other books on geisha like Iwasaki's or Dalby's like? I've always wondered about the style of translated versions of popular books.

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 Post subject: Re: Discussion of the Week: MoaG - Helpful or Harmful?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 2:07 pm 
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Minarai
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Fuyouhime,
I read it in English. It is very interesting book,but the way it is written isn't good. He isn't a writer. Again, just my opinion.

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 Post subject: Re: Discussion of the Week: MoaG - Helpful or Harmful?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:50 pm 
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Minarai
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I've read Ivasaki's memories in Russian. The style is good, overlooking some strange errors like «mizouage» (with French accent) for mizuage and all. The same style is used for the geisha documentaries, so I can say the translation is well-made. But it is obvious it was the English version's translation...


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 Post subject: Re: Discussion of the Week: MoaG - Helpful or Harmful?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:28 pm 
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First Year Maiko
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i am stating to notice that Arthur Golden was misunderstood...i am reading the book for the thord time and putting togheter with i know about karyukai so far,i guess people didn´t get many details.To start with,it was about geikos before the SWW,not about Mineko Iwazaki who was geiko in the 60s.Second,he explains in the end of the book that it was fiction and based in the klife of 3 former geikos.

I got impressed when i noticed people in my country didn´t have this bad ideas,they hated the movie because there´s nothing to do with the book,like what happens to HP movies i said before.The ones who think geishas are whore still think they are,and the ones who don´t,still do so.Haven´t changed anything at all....

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 Post subject: Re: Discussion of the Week: MoaG - Helpful or Harmful?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:54 pm 
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Senior Maiko
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Favorite Geiko: Mayuha and Kimika
Favorite Maiko: Fukusuzu
The reason a lot of people don't like Arthur Golden isn't because he may or may not have based his story on Mineko Iwasaki's life, it's because they believe he broke his contract with her. She states that he wasn't supposed to name her, and that by doing so not only did he break a binding contract but also he made her life difficult. Essentially, people that really don't like Golden think he backstabbed her. For a lot of people, the book and its contents isn't actually in question, it's Golden's questionable practices.

Other people say that the book was based on Mineko Iwasaki's life, but altered just enough to not be completely obvious. I believe Mineko Iwasaki herself said that, and that by adding details like the mizuage, it defamed her. I'm not sure if that claim is true. I think Golden was just trying to create a Cinderella story, and Mineko Iwasaki just happened to have lived that kind of life.

Other people don't like the story because it's not accurate. There are lots of things that Golden didn't get right, like the clothing. He also used his own impressions of different aspects of the karyukai, but treated them as true to real life. There was also a lot of situations he created that couldn't have happened in real life, like the Baron undressing her. So, a lot of people don't like Golden because they say he spread lies by creating inaccurate information and presenting it as truth. I know that since it's fiction, he does have artistic license, but it's also Historical fiction. And to write historical fiction correctly, the author should make it seem as if it could have actually happened. It's generally implied to a lot of people that the details of the setting within a historical fiction are as accurate as the author could make them. So by spreading a lot of innaccurate information, a lot of people felt that Golden was essentially lying to them.

And that's where the Arthur Golden issue comes from.

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 Post subject: Re: Discussion of the Week: MoaG - Helpful or Harmful?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:28 am 
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Senior Maiko
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Favorite Geiko: Mayuha and Kimika
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I think people make the comparison between the stories in that both of them left at a young age, had a mean older sister figure that seriously affected their lives (either emotionally or physically), had issues with their love lives, and then overcame hurdles to become Number One in Gion. I personally don't believe Golden was using her life story, I think she just happened to have lived a sort of Cinderella life.

For the music, do you mean the music in Hanaikusa? Because I don't think she had much control over that. I don't think she was that involved to be honest, they only had a little five minute section about her personally at the end of the whole thing. They also didn't follow her lifestory that closely, I think a lot of changes were made in the name of artistic lisense by the producers and director.

I honestly think Mineko Iwasaki thought there was a spoken agreement between them, which is binding under the law. The problem with spoken agreements though is that misunderstandings can come up, or one side can pretend to have a misunderstanding. I think there may be a possibility that Golden simply misunderstood, but I don't fully believe it. At the same time, I don't think Iwasaki herself is completely devoid of guilt, she didn't have to say anything after all.

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 Post subject: Re: Discussion of the Week: MoaG - Helpful or Harmful?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 8:30 pm 
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Minarai
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Well, you know... There is one thing to mention. MOAG is not about geishas, it's a complete fantasy Golden composed from his thoughts and beliefs. MOAG is about... aliens... or some African girls. But it definetely is not about geishas. Mineko's book is a referentable source about geishas. That is the point.


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