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 Post subject: Discussion of the Week: MoaG - Helpful or Harmful?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:33 am 
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Favorite Geiko: Ichisayo
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Memoirs of a Geisha seems to be one of those novels where you either hate it or love it. Of all the books on or about Geisha, it is perhaps the most well known, even though it doesn't paint an accurate image of Geisha.

How do you feel about Memoirs of a Geisha? Was it what got you into Geisha? Did you feel the novel was helpful or harmful in its impact on Western views upon Geisha?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:49 am 
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I liked it...the book. The movie looked beautiful...except for the non-Japanese ladies, as well as a lot of other things. But I think a lot was left out...in the movie I would have liked to have seen Hatsumomo going crazy and I would have liked to see Nobu the way he was portrayed in the book. That is the one thing that REALLY irks me. I think Golden did a good job on the book though, wherever he got his resources. I think it was a worthy description of that bygone era. The costumes definitely bothered me in the movie, even though they were lovely. But I also feel everything was a bit romantic. Everything for Sayuri just seemed to "happen". It was a bit unbelievable-even with a suspension of disbelief. But, all in all, it was a good read. And no, that is not what got me started on Geisha. I do enjoy it, though...especially on audiobook...I used to listen to it as I went to sleep.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:58 am 
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Before everyone starts the bashfest...Because its inevitable.(Yes I know I quoted myself from the other forum topic)

Cortana wrote:
Ok can we stop with the Memoirs of a Geisha bash here. Many people who watched that movie or read the book actually became inspired to want to learn more about Hanamachi life. I have talked to so many people who have, I show it some appreciation. You never know, maybe there was a geisha there who actually lived that kind of life(NOT MINEKO IWASAKI, who despite her MAD GEISHA SKILLZ, I think she was rather arrogent and trying to do a whole coverup on certain "aspects" of geisha life).

Though I also believe that all the geisha who told Mineko to kill herself on the steps of the Ichiriki deserved a swift kick in the kimono right now. The whole Maiko boom that has just happened in the Hanamachi's is most likely a direct result of Mineko opening up about the life of a Geiko, and also because of Memoirs making the live appear glamorous to outsiders.

Think about it, if you will.
8)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 6:28 am 
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Memoirs of a Geisha is what got me into Geisha, so it does hold a nostalgic place in my heart.

Still... I can only read the book every once in a while, because it's hard to deal with not only being able to pick out the inaccuracies, but also everything I generally disliked about Golden's abilities as an author (like his inability to understand women). So, I have to start reading it on a good day.

But, it's hardly the worst book out there, so it's not totally deserving of it's bashing. What about that really trashy erotica novel, The Blonde Geisha? Memoirs is worth its weight in gold compared to that catastrophe.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 6:38 am 
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Fuyouhime wrote:
Memoirs of a Geisha is what got me into Geisha, so it does hold a nostalgic place in my heart.

Still... I can only read the book every once in a while, because it's hard to deal with not only being able to pick out the inaccuracies, but also everything I generally disliked about Golden's abilities as an author (like his inability to understand women). So, I have to start reading it on a good day.

But, it's hardly the worst book out there, so it's not totally deserving of it's bashing. What about that really trashy erotica novel, The Blonde Geisha? Memoirs is worth its weight in gold compared to that catastrophe.


I really want to slap the brod who wrote that trashy novel. I swear she is an idiot, I've seen youtube video of her trying to promote her book and "educate" people on Geisha. Her book makes every complaint about memoirs bull by comparison to how much wrong information is in that book and perpetuated by her.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:49 pm 
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ok lets get this down. the book, i liked it. yes inacuracies, but unlike the movie she had the hairstyles, she had the kimono. the book in a way was accurate. but the movie. "Oh, we were trying to show the geisha in their hayday because back then they were like super models of milan and paris!" ugh, the hayday was a long time before the story took place. plus as some of us already know, Mineko Iwaski even tried to help with the film. this is how she was at the end of it ." I GIVE UP!! this was such a waste of my skils and time!" which i really don't blame her for. i remeber reading the book though, and the description of the hair and kimono is one of the things that made me intersted in them. sooooo like any curious person i looked them up online. and 3 years later TADAH!! but the story line is great, a poor little girl who is taken away from her home, brought into a geisha okiya were an evil geisha rules, one friend, grows up to become one of the greates geisha in gion at her time, all thanks to Mr. C lets call him, who she met on a bridge one day when she was lonely and sad..... :cry:

but on a different note, that lady who did the blong geisha, i say we find wer she lives and give her a good smack across the face, while were dressed as maiko and geiko. huh? any one? but that book is just complete and utter TRASH!!!!!!! 8)

Okay conclusion down here. overall, i think in a way, it did both. i think it helped it and harmed it. i think it helped it because that led to more people writing about them, which led to more girls want to become maiko geiko. now i think it harmed it because now some people who have read only that book think geisha are whores and all that bull crap and think they know every thing about them but they know bubkis. :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:25 pm 
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The descriptions of the kimono and hair in Memoirs is what made me so fascinated with traditional Japan when beforehand I was just a manga otaku. I think it helped mature me in a way, because I was able to move into things that I have become self-improving like Tea Ceremony when I wouldn't have beforehand. And Golden did make everything sound very poetic and romantic.

My biggest issues with the story are actually faults of Golden's abilites as an author, not with the inaccuracies (yes, I agree, there are less inaccuracies in the book than the movie). I think Golden doesn't understand women, which is why his Hatsumomo was so odd and stereotyped, and why Sayuri wasn't always consistant. All he did was revamp the classic Cinderella story instead of writing an actual Eastern novel. This could have been his real chance to bring Eastern tastes and ideals into Western writing, bringing something new and fresh and exciting, but he totally blew it. He could have been the leader of a new writing style in the West, but he missed his chance.

For one thing, he slapped Western ideals on everything. In Japanese writing, the romantic ending isn't 'And they lived happily ever after'. It's 'And they committed love suicide together'. Love back then was different, too. The Western concept of love is popular in Japan now, but love was different back then, and he could have portrayed it beautifully. Love wasn't two people falling in love at first site. It was the gradual coming together over time. He could have portayed Amae, the bond between mother and child that is the basis of all love in Japan, but instead he made the Okaasan the evil stepmother stereotype. Everything was just unrealistic Western love.

I think Golden missed a lot of chances, but in all, Memoirs is always worth reading because there just aren't any other novels that come close to portraying the geisha world as well as Memoirs does.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:38 pm 
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I don't hate Memiors of a Geisha. I just don't care for it. I like the fact that it got more people interested in Geisha and other things Japanese. However I never read the book, but I do own it. So someday I think I will have to sit down and give it a read.

I didn't get interested in Geisha by reading book or the seeing movie. But I did start to do research about what a Geisha was when I start hearing all of this stuff about it on t.v. and from friends. And it pretty much got me where I am today.

And Jina Baccar is just... ew. I can't stand her or her writing.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:23 pm 
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true, Auther Golden, could have brought a new fresher style of writing and he totally blew it. i for one find it more romantic in the actual japanese stories were they commite love suicide. just thinkg that if your willing to die together just so you can be together in a differnt world, now thats love. not the cinderella story, it is a nice thought, but really..... :lol:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:57 pm 
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Favorite Geiko: Mineko and Wakana
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To me it is simply a good story, a fairy tale set in WW2 era Japan about someone who was supposedly a geisha, and how from nothing she became something.

It took hard work on her part, whether or not it just all seemed to fall into place, and she had to come to terms with being sold (an altogether not nice thing to happen to someone) and despite the not so great beginning she worked hard to make something of herself, and hey, it did.

It was fanciful, yes, but are not our Western fantasies, whether Western (as in high noon kind) or not? If you ask a cop what they think of any film or book about their field, they laugh and say the same thing as a geisha would about this, "It had it's moments where it could have been accurate, but no, it's fantasy."

Yes, I enjoyed the movie. I enjoyed the book. No, it's not what got me into geisha, geisha is what attracted me to the movie, lol, but it looked to be a better movie than what else my local video place had to rent. The book is great for long waits in the too often visits to the doctor.

That's all it is to me. No more no less.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:02 pm 
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komiiro wrote:
To me it is simply a good story, a fairy tale set in WW2 era Japan about someone who was supposedly a geisha, and how from nothing she became something.

It took hard work on her part, whether or not it just all seemed to fall into place, and she had to come to terms with being sold (an altogether not nice thing to happen to someone) and despite the not so great beginning she worked hard to make something of herself, and hey, it did.

It was fanciful, yes, but are not our Western fantasies, whether Western (as in high noon kind) or not? If you ask a cop what they think of any film or book about their field, they laugh and say the same thing as a geisha would about this, "It had it's moments where it could have been accurate, but no, it's fantasy."

Yes, I enjoyed the movie. I enjoyed the book. No, it's not what got me into geisha, geisha is what attracted me to the movie, lol, but it looked to be a better movie than what else my local video place had to rent. The book is great for long waits in the too often visits to the doctor.

That's all it is to me. No more no less.
very well said! :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:07 pm 
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Arigato gozaimasu, toshiteru-san!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:29 pm 
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it was very well said, but once again all in all Memoirs of a geisha had its good parts and bad parts... like every movie does, even though we expected alot out of it. :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 11:33 pm 
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For me,it was like reading comics and the movie,was like a cartoon.Comparing them,the book is better,the movie was made in the same ways Harry Potter´s movies are made: few things to do with the book.

Personally i´ve never understood whay such long discussions,even fights,conserning this book everywhere.It was stated as "fiction" by the author.To take that as acurrancy is the same than taking fairy tales as real.Fairy tales are full of animals talking,i´ve never seen anyone doubting about that,however there is always something to be teach,like a moral of justice,equality and so go on.(of course it was a very bad exemple,but i hope you guy understand what i mean =p).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 5:39 am 
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the movie was made like the harry potter ones. tried to stay true to the books but realy didn't in a way. 8)

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