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 Post subject: Between Iwasaki and Golden
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 1:33 am 
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Shikomi-san
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I'm familiar with the controvery surrounding Memoirs of a Geisha--Mineko Iwasaki's protests and such.
But what bothers me is that for the most part, I cannot understand any of Iwasaki's objections against the novel. I've read that she claimed the book portrayed geisha as prostitutes, rather than artists. How is this so? Dannas did exist along with the mizuage practice. Iwasaki was a geisha not long after the prohibition of prostitution; her life as a geisha was rather ideal compared to that of the geisha in the past.
As for her name being published in the Acknowledgements section--this seems to be a hazy subject where Golden claims one thing and Iwasaki another.
Will others care to comment on what I find to be a confusing matter?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 1:46 am 
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I can't really say that geisha in the book are per se portrayed as prostitutes. Maybe the German version is a bit different, but I somewhat doubt it. I mean, how often do they actually have sex in it? Not that often, I'd say there's nearly as much as sex in it as in Dalby's novel about Murasaki.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 2:00 am 
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I have the impression that the contemporary geisha are trying to mask the former sexual aspects of the profession, for fear that they will be branded prostitutes. But how can they deny certain practices that did take place in the thirties and forties?
I think that erasing references to (past)sexual aspects is just as harmful as parading the geisha as prostitutes.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 2:21 am 
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Yub, also when you keep in mind how geisha used to be dressed and still are (take the collar in their necks), I mean they dressed sexy on purpose, I'm sure that, if a geisha found the customer appealing, she could have considered a more "improved" service.

We can be sure that it was there, so why hide it.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 3:04 am 
Shikomi-san
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Musashi wrote:

We can be sure that it was there, so why hide it.


Americans probably have a slightly different mentaility, in the English version. >>;; Most of the people I know have preconceptions about geisha and the slightest hint towards prostitution will set them off with, "Well, there you go, prostitute."


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 3:56 am 
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Lady Luck wrote:
I have the impression that the contemporary geisha are trying to mask the former sexual aspects of the profession, for fear that they will be branded prostitutes. But how can they deny certain practices that did take place in the thirties and forties?
I think that erasing references to (past)sexual aspects is just as harmful as parading the geisha as prostitutes.


Welcome to the forum, Lady Luck :)

I completely agree with you. My guess is that Mineko Iwasaki's denial that the geisha profession ever had any sexual overtones is a reaction to the Western stereotype of the "geisha girl." I think that a lot of Americans don't really grasp the subtleties of the geisha profession since there is nothing similar to geisha in our society. They just hear that geisha are often mistresses of rich men and equate geisha to high-priced call girls, when really that is not at all what they are.

Although I liked Iwasaki-san's book, I thought it was rather odd that she tried so hard to whitewash the more sexual aspects of the geisha profession. Mizuage did take place in the past, but it was already abolished when Iwasaki-san was a geisha, so why try to deny that it ever existed? I think someone in another thread on this book said it best: she saw her autobiography as her legacy. She wanted her story to portray her as a completely respectable, upstanding person, so she tried to banish any hint of impropriety.

I think because there were sex scenes in Memoirs, Mineko Iwasaki feared that other people would see this as a reflection of her own behavior, especially since her name was connected to the book. I think that is why she got so upset when she was mentioned in the acknowledgements.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 6:59 pm 
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Maiko-san
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To me, the main problem with Iwasaki and Golden was that her name was used so openly. Perhaps she wanted the publicity at first but later changed her mind. She probably realized that in her geisha circle, she would be looked down upon for talking. Many geisha never talk about their lives as geisha and feel that their geisha society is closed to anyone outside of it. By being the "geisha who talked" even if she portrayed geisha in a good light, she was still the one that opened her mouth and let out the secrets, per se. I think she "lost face" after Golden said she was the one who talked to him and that was why this whole thing started up. I think it would be wise to realize when you tell someone a story and they make a story from that, it will not be exactly alike. Maybe she was upset by his elaborations. I wonder if she was also surprised how well the book did world wide and thought......well, he did have my help so why not give me some money. Not in a stingy way but in a purely logical business way. I think the mizuage part bothered her because everyone knew this book was in part due to her story telling therefore everyone thought the mizuage in the book was her own experiences. This probably embaressed her. I could understand.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 7:23 pm 
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I think the loss of face is a very good point. I do agree, even if she would have talked about them in a good light and even if she would have just talked about herself in that connection, it could have still hurt her status inside her geisha circle. And well, Japanese and loss of face, that's an old story.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 7:52 am 
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I know what you meen about pepole thinking geisha are prostitutes.

I am the naborhood exspert on geisha. One year for halloween I dressed as a geisha. I ended up exsplaning to the nabors what a geisha was. Thay just did not get it.   Thay yelled at me.Thay insalted me .Thay said that I was sick and needed tharapy because I whanted to be a geesha girl, a prostitute.:angerburst
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 11:16 am 
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Maiko-san
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But was not also the problem that when Golden did research on his book and interviewed Mineko Iwasaki he promised her not to mention that she was a source and when the book came out he broke that promise. :?
And I read somewhere that he had then told people that Mineko Iwasaki sold her virginity for a hefty sum of money(her mizuage)....that she told him that...
But it's just so confusing :snooty


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 4:05 pm 
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Maiko-san
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I think the only 2 people who know what the agreement was, is Golden and Iwasaki-san. And it will probably never be solved the way things are going.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 9:29 am 
Shikomi-san
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If anyone is familiar with the way the Japanese, especially women from Kyoto, communicate, you'd understand that you can't take their words at their literal meaning.  Over there, there is a lot more to communication than words.  Everything is taken in context.  When someone from outside comes in and interprets what a Kyoto-ite says in his own context, then all kinds of "misunderstandings" are bound to happen.  

Add to that, geisha are not all trained public relations experts, nor are they equipped to handle scrutiny by razor-sharp and objective categorization by western standards.  Not all of them are going to be savvy enough to know how every one of their actions might affect their image.  Mineko Iwasaki, who has led a very sheltered life, sweet and gullible, certainly would not have been able to predict what ramifications her actions might have had.  

It is unfortunate that all the well-meant actions to clear the image of geisha from all notions of sexuality has the effect of perpetually stirring up the subject.  Thus, the geisha find themselves constantly in the unbearable position of having to make rebuttals about sex being a part of their culture.  When you actually meet them, you will find that their culture is so refined to the point where even mentioning the words, geisha and prostitution, in the same breath simply feels highly inappropriate.  

If every modern geisha on earth had the gift of infinite foresight, they just might have chosen to remain unknown and obscure over having to constantly deny that they are prostitutes whenever their name is spoken outside of Japan.  

How many of you felt "hurt" when you saw the A&E geisha documentary, which featured Arthur Golden saying in an interview, "...they are not STRICTLY prostitutes..."?

Having read both "Memoirs..." and Iwasaki's "A Life...", it sounds like Golden used all kinds of Iwasaki's anecdotes, many of which are actual things that happened to her elders and peers.  She mentions the mizuage that happened to her best friend, who died young.  To have the mortifying story of her deceased friend used in a best-selling novel was probably very upsetting.  I would think Iwasaki had no control of the story before it got published.  It seems quite a natural consequence that her actions would not be looked upon very kindly by many.  

If the trial were held in New York, Iwasaki would lose the case.  

If the trial were held in Gion, Iwasaki would win, but then she would also get the death penalty.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 1:42 pm 
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Maiko-san
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I believe that Mr. Golden tried to "play up" the sexual aspect of it a bit...perhaps the information he presented was factual...yes, mizuage happened, etc etc, but the manner in which he presented it was somewhat inappropriate. There is no doubt in my mind that he did it to sell more copies to a Western audience. After all, would most people you know be more interested in a book about a world where one must master the art of tea ceremony, or a world where a young maiden's virginity was "auctioned off to the highest bidder"? I believe that the sexual aspects were amplified out of proportion, simply to sell more copies.

And in that respect, I believe it worked wonderfully. It is a pity that the reputations of many real, living individuals were somewhat tarnished because of it.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 3:25 am 
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Shikomi-san
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Quote:
Having read both "Memoirs..." and Iwasaki's "A Life...", it sounds like Golden used all kinds of Iwasaki's anecdotes, many of which are actual things that happened to her elders and peers.  She mentions the mizuage that happened to her best friend, who died young.  To have the mortifying story of her deceased friend used in a best-selling novel was probably very upsetting.  I would think Iwasaki had no control of the story before it got published.  It seems quite a natural consequence that her actions would not be looked upon very kindly by many.  

I don't see any connections between Sayuri's mizuage and the friend's mizuage, save for the general term in use. I read Iwasaki's autobiography and did not find as many "borrowed" ideas as others would have it. Certainly, there were similarities with rivals and some hardships, but situations which you would find in several other stories of famous and successful entertainers.
Quote:
I believe that Mr. Golden tried to "play up" the sexual aspect of it a bit...perhaps the information he presented was factual...yes, mizuage happened, etc etc, but the manner in which he presented it was somewhat inappropriate.

I'm not sure what you mean with "the manner in which he presented it." Could you please clarify?


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2005 1:04 am 
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Maiko-san
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I'm not sure what Rach is referring to, exactly, but I know some of the scenes in the book struck me as rather sordid. The part where Sayuri is alone with the Baron in his castle, for example. I found the mizuage scene with Dr. Crab to be pretty distasteful. The first time I read it, I didn't think too much of it, other than, "Ew." But after I had learned about geisha and was rereading the book, the mizuage scene made me think, "What? I'm sure not all mizuage danna were creepy old men who kept evidence of all the maiko they had deflowered!"

I think Golden did portray the sexual relationships between geisha and patrons in a somewhat sordid way. I really could have done without that. I can't really say whether he did that on purpose to sell more copies, but I thought it was unnecessary.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2005 4:46 pm 
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Maiko-san
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What I mean is,

I feel the geisha regaurded mizuage with a certain, matter-of-fact type attitude. At any rate, there wasn't a MASSIVE emphasis placed on it.

I think the way that Mr. Golden told the story does not accurately reflect the common geisha attitude towards realities such as mizuage. I also think he blew the sex way out of proportion, that is, he referred to it and discussed very often, and made it seem like a geisha's life had much, much more to do with sex than it actually does.  :snooty  My opinion, at least.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2005 5:23 pm 
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I recently read Downer's Women of the Pleasure Quarters a second time round and she did discuss "professional deflowerers," so the concept of Dr.Crab is not so far fetched.  And of course there is, or was, an importance to the event. It allowed the maiko to continue along the paths of being an actual geisha. In Downer's book, there was also mentioned the embarassment a maiko felt at not having had her mizuage, what with her average looks and the obvious hairstlye that reflected her situation. Feelings were mixed. Some former geisha expressed disgust, some relief and pride. There were those who took it in a "matter of fact" way as well. There is no one set emotion or perception of the ritual. It always seemed to me that the emphasis of the ritual in Arthur's book was not only for the above mentioned, but also to allow Sayuri to gain the upper hand in being adopted into her okiya. It was a very important part of Mameha's plan, and it made sense, considering the large sum of money involved.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2005 3:59 pm 
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I think that after reading both books I coulld see similarities between charaters from Goldens and Iwasaki-sans book.
I read in Lesley Downers book about Sadayakko a part about deflowering and it did not seem absolutely terrible but I can understand that people find it horrible to have someone "deflower" you (but this maybe just is for me)



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 1:50 am 
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Maiko-san
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Heh, I couldn't take it, unless of course I happened to like my mizuage patron...which would mean he'd probably be the son or grandson of some really, really rich guy. -_-

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 4:35 pm 
Shikomi-san
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I've read both books, Starting with Authur Golden. Looking at it now, I can see the vauge similarities between some of the events in the books. Authur Golden, coming from the outside, had to find some realistic inspiration somewhere within the Geisha community no matter how removed from the time period.  Hm?
Mineko-San seems to be denying some of the truths of the earlier Geisha traditions. Yes, the Danna system DID exist, and even today it remains in the sense that those who appreciate Geisha are happy to sponser them. We can't project todays attitudes back onto the past. Having said that I would hurt If someone decided to put my name in a book without permission, and also if they said something about my "mizuage" (if it happened).

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 3:59 am 
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you know, I first read "memoirs" years ago...I loved it.
then about a year ago, I read Iwasaki's memoirs along with "memoirs of a geisha" at the same time. I saw  A LOT of similarities, even minute ones...

Examples:
*When Iwasaki was a young maiko, she wasnt doing too well one night, and a business man really cheered her up and made her feel good about herself. He was the head of a big japanese power company.
*In 'memoirs' sayuri falls in love iwth the chairman, who was also a head of a japanese power company.

*(somewhere in iwasaki's memoirs) someone recieves a ruby the size of a peach pit.
*sayuri recieves a ruby the size of a peach pit from nobu.

*Iwasaki had a young maiko in her okiya named Chiyoe
*Sayuri's "real name" was Chiyo. (no e)

*Iwasaki gets on a large poster *that is a very highly conveted spot)
*Sayuri gets on a large poster (I think it was for the miyako odori?)

and
*they are both dancers
*they both claim to have been the most successful geisha of their time.

that's all I can think of for right now without whipping out both books, but those things stuck out in my head a lot. I was thinking while reading Iwasaki's book "man, i'd be freakin pissed if some guy ripped little things out of my life like this and claimed them as his own!!"
so there's my two cents....


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 4:04 am 
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Maiko-san
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and also there was a direct line in mineko's book about a gift of a ruby the size of a peach pit. didn't nobu give sayuri a ruby THE SIZE OF A PEACH PIT.....


how very odd

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 12:33 pm 
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This might seem a bit off topic, but it reminds me of The Da Vinci Code. It's a work of Fiction based upon facts and real places and things. However, Brown makes it all seem to plausible, so real, that many people started to believe it, forgetting it was fiction. I believe Memoirs is being treated the same way by many readers.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 2:25 am 
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Shikomi-san
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Miss Upsetter wrote:
you know, I first read "memoirs" years ago...I loved it.
then about a year ago, I read Iwasaki's memoirs along with "memoirs of a geisha" at the same time. I saw  A LOT of similarities, even minute ones...

Examples:
*When Iwasaki was a young maiko, she wasnt doing too well one night, and a business man really cheered her up and made her feel good about herself. He was the head of a big japanese power company.
*In 'memoirs' sayuri falls in love iwth the chairman, who was also a head of a japanese power company.

*(somewhere in iwasaki's memoirs) someone recieves a ruby the size of a peach pit.
*sayuri recieves a ruby the size of a peach pit from nobu.

*Iwasaki had a young maiko in her okiya named Chiyoe
*Sayuri's "real name" was Chiyo. (no e)

*Iwasaki gets on a large poster *that is a very highly conveted spot)
*Sayuri gets on a large poster (I think it was for the miyako odori?)

and
*they are both dancers
*they both claim to have been the most successful geisha of their time.

that's all I can think of for right now without whipping out both books, but those things stuck out in my head a lot. I was thinking while reading Iwasaki's book "man, i'd be freakin pissed if some guy ripped little things out of my life like this and claimed them as his own!!"
so there's my two cents....


In Iwasaki's book her sister was Kuniko
In Memoirs before she was sold to the okiya she met a girl named kuniko of whom she was wanted to be sisters with.

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 Post subject: mineko
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 2:40 am 
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Shikomi-san
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i did read an article where Golden was asked about the feud and he said that Mineko wanted more credit for the book, and quoted her as saying "put my face more out there", and when the publicity of her as the muse for the novel ceased to occur, she took legal action to throw herself into the media spotlight.

im not sure who to believe, though i did enjoy mrs. Iwasaki's memoir and also enjoyed "memoirs."


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:05 pm 
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I noticed after reading Geisha by Liza Dalby that he had "borrowed" some things from her book as well.
For example Liza Dalbys geisha older sister Ichiume was called Pumpkin by people.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 2:33 am 
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Somehow, from what I've read and seen of Mr. Golden, I'd be more likely to believe Ms. Iwasaki on any topic about geisha under discussion.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:48 am 
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mermaidgeisha wrote:
Somehow, from what I've read and seen of Mr. Golden, I'd be more likely to believe Ms. Iwasaki on any topic about geisha under discussion.


I wholly agree with you.   :twisted:

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 12:15 pm 
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GeikoSera wrote:
mermaidgeisha wrote:
Somehow, from what I've read and seen of Mr. Golden, I'd be more likely to believe Ms. Iwasaki on any topic about geisha under discussion.


I wholly agree with you. Â :twisted:


Judging from his words in A&E's documentary, he does not have a very high opinion of geisha.  He sees a lot of sex in the proffession.  Not the traditional sexiness of the elegant geisha.    :(


I think most men have trouble seeing the differance between being sexy and actually having sex.  Even those who are abstaining could still want to look sexy, you know?   :|


I felt uncomfortable watching and listening to the author.  I would think after ten years of research, his opinions would be differant than they are.  Then again, I might be overly harsh to him.  He created a lot of intrest in geisha, and not always for the right reasons.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 1:59 pm 
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orastella wrote:
GeikoSera wrote:
mermaidgeisha wrote:
Somehow, from what I've read and seen of Mr. Golden, I'd be more likely to believe Ms. Iwasaki on any topic about geisha under discussion.


I wholly agree with you. Â :twisted:


Judging from his words in A&E's documentary, he does not have a very high opinion of geisha. Â He sees a lot of sex in the proffession. Â Not the traditional sexiness of the elegant geisha. Â Â :(


I think most men have trouble seeing the differance between being sexy and actually having sex. Â Even those who are abstaining could still want to look sexy, you know? Â :|


I felt uncomfortable watching and listening to the author. Â I would think after ten years of research, his opinions would be differant than they are. Â Then again, I might be overly harsh to him. Â He created a lot of intrest in geisha, and not always for the right reasons.


Excuuuuuuse me! Not everyone of us thinks with that thing in his pants! :twisted:

Though, as man I'm glad you said "most".

I'd say the difference between sex and sexiness is just like the difference between erotic and outright porn. I mean, just look at what is sold as "erotic" these days, while it's, pure and simple, porn... oyvech. There's a clear line between that. Some people, though, lack the ability to see that line and to keep those two apart. They just don't get it.

Personally, I don't really see a lot of sex in the profession. Surely, as I said a lot earlier in the thread, if a geisha may find a customer attractive in a way that could possibly lead to pillowing, sure... it may have happened, and I wouldn't be surprised if it still happens. Geisha are just human beings themselves, and humans have certain needs. But I would never expect certain "services" when being invited to a classic geisha party. In my mindset that just doesn't seem to work out.

Golden may have researched some ten years, but -just my opinion- he has always been an outsider, not only to the geisha culture, but, I'd say, mainly to the whole society over there as well. Agreed, he may have studied Japanese art and history, but with all due respect, that's pure theory (I can learn how to fly a 747 on a simulator, but that doesn't make me a pilot). He may have spent time in Japan, but obviously never really got access to the Japan behind the mask they show to foreigners. (You can study everything about brain surgery in theory, but only when you really jump into the cold water, you can show that you can really do it. I'm one of those people who believe that degrees and titles from universities say basically... nothing. That's based on personal experience.)

wikipedia wrote:
In 1980, he earned a M.A. in Japanese history at Columbia University, and also learned Mandarin Chinese. After a summer at Beijing University, he worked in Tokyo. When he returned to the United States, he earned an M.A. in English at Boston University. He currently lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with his wife Trudy Legee, whom he married in 1982, and his two children.


That makes his stay in Japan ~1.5 years. If you consider that it's unlikely that he had really close connections to the typical Japanese daily life- not to mention the typical fmaily life over there-, then I'd say... Oh I better not say it. I only say... I'm not really impressed. (I'm slowly but steady catching up with him as it is if we purely go by the time spent there)

Interestingly, it says nowhere that he actually learned Japanese. It's like commenting or writing a book about the US without speaking English. That way, no matter who writes it, he/she WILL miss out important parts, all those little subtleties which a language usually has... I always say, in order to fully understand a country and it's culture, you need to be able to use it's language, too, since the language is a very important part.

I used to spent about half a year working on my own feudal Japan based roleplaying game. I learned many, many things (also thanks to my sources). For example, when common people (or equals) eat, they will "taberu"; when someone more important than you eats, he will "meshiagaru". When an equal does something, we say "suru" (do); when a superior does something, the verb is "nasaru", and when it is an inferior, it is "itasu". That actually got me hooked up on the language itself, since there are so many ways of saying something depending on status and relation. Then you have the differences between "male" Japanese and "female" Japanese... etc, etc,etc... Excuse me while I go completely bonkers...

Heck, I've started a Japanese course last autumn and I'm going to finish the first semester next week. To be honest... the course is going to slow for me lol. I'm completely nuts over the language by now. I absolutely love it.

Somehow I still think Golden never went down that line.

Apart from that... he's a man. Geisha are an exclusive female society. So there's one big problem already (however sexist this may sound now).

It's funny though, I've never seen or heard Golden lol

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yeah, something is definitly amiss here. If Mineko was being hated by Gion through Golden's book, just think how worse it got when Mineko came out with her own book. And she says the only reason why she wanted to write about her life was to fight the myth that geisha are prostitutes. Yes, we know already. There was nothing in Golden's book that had sex for sale. Mizuage did happen to geisha, maybe not Mineko, but we really dont know. I appriciate Mineko because shes more into the art of being a geisha, rather than the glamour. She repeatedly said she hated people, and I suppose thats why she did come out with a book exposign all her secrets.

The key thing is, a geiko is never supposed to reveal secrets. And now more geiko are coming out and writing about their stories, and so in a way, they aren't acting like proper geiko so that just takes away the whole point of it.

But even then, after all these memoirs of books, theres still some parts of geiko life that one can never understand, and thats what makes it so alluring.

I still prefer Mineko over Golden, in terms of where they stand on the court thing. I mean, Golden just comes off as the arrogant type. In one interview, he stated that he wanted Mineko to share the spot light. In another, he says that Mineko demanded.

But why would mineko want the spotlight if she hated people????


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ardhanariswar wrote:
I still prefer Mineko over Golden, in terms of where they stand on the court thing. I mean, Golden just comes off as the arrogant type. In one interview, he stated that he wanted Mineko to share the spot light. In another, he says that Mineko demanded.

But why would mineko want the spotlight if she hated people????


*puts in Vulcan ears* Indeed, I miss the logic there. too.

Sorry, I've entered "silly mode"; I'll be going to Japanese course in 2 hours, so I'm already giddy like a schoolgirl...

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If I would have so say who I would believe in this case I would say Mineko Iwasaki.


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I think that a lot of Golden's problem is that he is, ultimately, a Westerner. There is a great deal of unspoken understanding of discretion and ... damn, there is not a good English term... the *proper* way one interacts with people of different stations and positions in the culture. Gaijin that I am, I will always feel incorrect, and worry about inadvertently offending, because I don't live and breathe even *modern* Japanese culture. I know I don't always bow at the right times and places, and I don't feel like I should be excused simply because I am not Japanese. (On the other hand, a friend's Japanese mother-in-law really likes me, because I have an unspoken understanding of a lot of nuances...) I think the Japanese term is "tatami," not as in mats, but meaning "framework" or "social forms."

But enough of that. Getting back to Golden, I think his biggest problem is that he's not even *aware* of "the unspoken ways," and that puts him at odds with a lot of cultural nuances and sensitivities, right there.


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They should have gotten their stories straight before hand.  :mad:  I do side with Iwasaki on this one, I'd hate to see personal aspects of my life rewritten. Golden could have been a little more tactful with that.


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Jilara, the Japanese truly appreciate gaijin with your sort of sensibilities. Â
Something that Golden never acquired during his 10 years of research.


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Jilara wrote:
I think the Japanese term is "tatami," not as in mats, but meaning "framework" or "social forms."


The word you want is "tatemae", I think.

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Jilara wrote:
Getting back to Golden, I think his biggest problem is that he's not even *aware* of "the unspoken ways," and that puts him at odds with a lot of cultural nuances and sensitivities, right there.


I think he probably is comparatively deaf to those nuances, which certainly doesn't help the situation. Â And if he really doesn't speak Japanese, that had to be a real handicap.

I saw the A&E program for the first time a couple of weeks ago - borrowed it from my local library. Now, I'll admit that I was prejudiced; I had read the Iwasaki autobiography before setting eyes on Golden's book, so I already felt a little dubious about him as an authority on geisha. But as I watched the documentary, I found myself shocked at the difference in feeling-tone between his presentation and Dalby's. Â

Almost every interview clip with Golden had him talking about the sexual aspect of geisha life. Now, perhaps this wasn't really his fault; that could be a matter of editing. But there always seemed to me to be a distinctly salacious undertone to the way he spoke about geisha life (and his body language, I thought, supported that impression). It was hard to escape the message, whether intended or not: THESE WOMEN ARE BASICALLY JUST SEX WORKERS.

In contrast, Dalby was matter-of-fact and respectful. She didn't deny the sexuality of geisha or the existence of mizuage, nor the fact that some geisha did/do choose to have sexual relationships with their patrons. But she didn't forget the geishas' humanity, and she also emphasized their accomplishment as cultural artists - something Golden failed to do in the interview portions that were aired. So I couldn't help feeling that Golden, in continually talking about the sexual aspect of geisha existence, was reducing these women only to that. Â Dalby never did.

Actually I'm not even sure that this is a matter of cultural nuance. I thought it was more elementary than that: a question of basic respect.


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I've heard that before about the documentary.
I have not seen it yet.


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Yuna-chan wrote:
I've heard that before about the documentary.
I have not seen it yet.


I borrowed it from my local library after I spotted it in their listings. Here are the details:

The secret life of geisha [DVD video].
Publication info: [S.l.] : A&E Television Networks ; Distributed by New Video Group, c2005. No rating available.
Description: Â videodisc (ca. 94 min.) : sd., col. & b&w ; 4 3/4 in. Note Closed-captioned. Â Title from disc surface.
Credits: Produced by Atlantic Productions for A&E Television Networks ; producer, Anthony Geffen ; writer/producer, Clive Maltby ; A&E executive producer, Amy Briamonte ; narrator, Susan Sarandon.
Summary: This documentary peels back the rice-paper curtain for an intimate look at the culture, history, training and private lives of geisha.
ISBN: 0767085191.
Amazon listing: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BB150C/qid=1144079284/sr=11-1/ref=sr_11_1/103-0264635-6371065?n=130

This documentary was actually made back by A&E in 1999 ... but it was released on DVD only last year, I assume to coincide with (take advantage of) the publicity surrounding Memoirs of a Geisha. I actually found it to be surprisingly UNinformative about geisha life - far too much filler, for one thing (repeating the same shots of maiko trotting around Kyoto, accompanied by sweeping statements about geisha mystique). Â

But it was worth it for the bits with Liza Dalby. If they'd simply made this program as a documentary about Dalby's return to Pontocho, I would have been in seventh heaven! It was very touching to see her reuniting with some of her geisha friends, visiting the grave of Ichiume and praying, and so forth. And her insights are always worth hearing, of course.

I'm not sure it's worth buying (unless you're really hard-core geisha fan!), but it's certainly worth borrowing from a video shop.


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 Post subject: Re: Between Iwasaki and Golden
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 3:02 am 
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Lady Luck wrote:
I'm familiar with the controvery surrounding Memoirs of a Geisha--Mineko Iwasaki's protests and such.
But what bothers me is that for the most part, I cannot understand any of Iwasaki's objections against the novel. I've read that she claimed the book portrayed geisha as prostitutes, rather than artists. How is this so? Dannas did exist along with the mizuage practice. Iwasaki was a geisha not long after the prohibition of prostitution; her life as a geisha was rather ideal compared to that of the geisha in the past.
As for her name being published in the Acknowledgements section--this seems to be a hazy subject where Golden claims one thing and Iwasaki another.
Will others care to comment on what I find to be a confusing matter?



:sigh  yes, danna did exist and so did mizuage.

but, the two have no connection.

mizuage is where a maiko's topknot is symbolically cut, and then a party follows, like the western sweet sixteen.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 3:02 am 
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Miss Upsetter wrote:
you know, I first read "memoirs" years ago...I loved it.
then about a year ago, I read Iwasaki's memoirs along with "memoirs of a geisha" at the same time. I saw  A LOT of similarities, even minute ones...

Examples:
*When Iwasaki was a young maiko, she wasnt doing too well one night, and a business man really cheered her up and made her feel good about herself. He was the head of a big japanese power company.
*In 'memoirs' sayuri falls in love iwth the chairman, who was also a head of a japanese power company.

*(somewhere in iwasaki's memoirs) someone recieves a ruby the size of a peach pit.
*sayuri recieves a ruby the size of a peach pit from nobu.

*Iwasaki had a young maiko in her okiya named Chiyoe
*Sayuri's "real name" was Chiyo. (no e)

*Iwasaki gets on a large poster *that is a very highly conveted spot)
*Sayuri gets on a large poster (I think it was for the miyako odori?)

and
*they are both dancers
*they both claim to have been the most successful geisha of their time.

that's all I can think of for right now without whipping out both books, but those things stuck out in my head a lot. I was thinking while reading Iwasaki's book "man, i'd be freakin pissed if some guy ripped little things out of my life like this and claimed them as his own!!"
so there's my two cents....



i totally agree with you


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Iyolin wrote:
This might seem a bit off topic, but it reminds me of The Da Vinci Code. It's a work of Fiction based upon facts and real places and things. However, Brown makes it all seem to plausible, so real, that many people started to believe it, forgetting it was fiction. I believe Memoirs is being treated the same way by many readers.



i agree, and both books i can't stand


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orastella wrote:
GeikoSera wrote:
mermaidgeisha wrote:
Somehow, from what I've read and seen of Mr. Golden, I'd be more likely to believe Ms. Iwasaki on any topic about geisha under discussion.


I wholly agree with you.   :twisted:


Judging from his words in A&E's documentary, he does not have a very high opinion of geisha.  He sees a lot of sex in the proffession.  Not the traditional sexiness of the elegant geisha.    :(


I think most men have trouble seeing the differance between being sexy and actually having sex.  Even those who are abstaining could still want to look sexy, you know?   :|




I felt uncomfortable watching and listening to the author.  I would think after ten years of research, his opinions would be differant than they are.  Then again, I might be overly harsh to him.  He created a lot of intrest in geisha, and not always for the right reasons.



:evil: yes, i started watching that A&E movie, it made me too angery too continue


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Musashi wrote:
orastella wrote:
GeikoSera wrote:
mermaidgeisha wrote:
Somehow, from what I've read and seen of Mr. Golden, I'd be more likely to believe Ms. Iwasaki on any topic about geisha under discussion.


I wholly agree with you.   :twisted:


Judging from his words in A&E's documentary, he does not have a very high opinion of geisha.  He sees a lot of sex in the proffession.  Not the traditional sexiness of the elegant geisha.    :(


I think most men have trouble seeing the differance between being sexy and actually having sex.  Even those who are abstaining could still want to look sexy, you know?   :|


I felt uncomfortable watching and listening to the author.  I would think after ten years of research, his opinions would be differant than they are.  Then again, I might be overly harsh to him.  He created a lot of intrest in geisha, and not always for the right reasons.


Golden may have researched some ten years, but -just my opinion- he has always been an outsider, not only to the geisha culture, but, I'd say, mainly to the whole society over there as well. Agreed, he may have studied Japanese art and history, but with all due respect, that's pure theory (I can learn how to fly a 747 on a simulator, but that doesn't make me a pilot). He may have spent time in Japan, but obviously never really got access to the Japan behind the mask they show to foreigners. (You can study everything about brain surgery in theory, but only when you really jump into the cold water, you can show that you can really do it. I'm one of those people who believe that degrees and titles from universities say basically... nothing. That's based on personal experience.)



i completly agree


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There is also the repurcusions that the book caused in the geisha world, as shown in Datelines The Secret Life of Geisha shows some of these problems:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngSWyBn5Jq8&mode=related&search=

One geiko describes the problems that she has had with clients after reading the book who had started coming to teahouses with certain expectations.

Mineko Iwasaki and Leslie Donner are in this video as well.

But like the modern world, the geisha world is changing and I can see why modern geiko want to highlight what they do today rather than what they did yesterday.

Men and women relations/interactions are much different than they were say 50 years ago in almost all cultures. Then it was considered acceptible for a husband/man to visit a teahouse in Japan. Today, its called two-timing in practically every anime/manga and I can imagine these stories have left an impression on those who grew up on anime/manga. So in this modern world, geisha must change in face of these changing attitudes. I imagine we will see them in more public performances emphasizing their role as artists.

Golden just strikes me as someone who wants to sell lots of books. I've read better.


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Golden is an idiot who needs to be sacked.  

Saying a Geisha, who is an entertainer, is like saying a stripper, a bartender, the musician, and all that jazz at a bar is a prosititute.  Oh sure, I bet you there's some strippers who are also prosititutes, but surely we don't ASSUME they all are, and surely the bartender and musician aren't prostitutes, then why the hell are Geisha considered as such?  I'm sorry this is the best western comparison I could come up.

And from what I've heard, Geisha were never deflowered, that was Tayuu and Oiran, and I seen someone else say it to, that Geisha Mizuage was just the cutting of the top note and a big party.  ><

><I>:D tee. . . . .


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in the A&E presentation, I agree, I wish they'd spent more time with Dalby... and yes, Golden's comments there (which again, could have been edited weirdly) seemed ICK.

but when I originaly read memoirs, I didn't find it to be distasteful. Some of her clients were nice, some were creepy. It was supposed to be a little "ew" when she's with Mr. Crab.  That's real life, some people are creepy!  I know that it is fiction, but I found it to be enjoyable.


So what are the areas of the book that people find to be particularly inaccurate to "real" geisha life then? I'm not talking about the "flavor" of how it was presented, but actual happenings in the book that were false?

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aimee wrote:
in the A&E presentation, I agree, I wish they'd spent more time with Dalby... and yes, Golden's comments there (which again, could have been edited weirdly) seemed ICK.

but when I originaly read memoirs, I didn't find it to be distasteful. Some of her clients were nice, some were creepy. It was supposed to be a little "ew" when she's with Mr. Crab.  That's real life, some people are creepy!  I know that it is fiction, but I found it to be enjoyable.


So what are the areas of the book that people find to be particularly inaccurate to "real" geisha life then? I'm not talking about the "flavor" of how it was presented, but actual happenings in the book that were false?



where arthur golden (and rob marshall) show mizuage as a sexual practice


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Mizuage was historically a sexual practice. In Liza Dalby's Geisha, several geisha who underwent it before 1958 describe it. It actually took a week and the man who paid the most money would spend the week preparing the young girl for it before actually deflowering her.

This actually makes it slightly different than what a man would do with a prostitute for he surely would not spend a lot of money and a whole week getting her ready to sleep with her.

Of course after 1958, this practice was made illegal along with prostitution.


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Izayoi wrote:
Mizuage was historically a sexual practice. In Liza Dalby's Geisha, several geisha who underwent it before 1958 describe it. It actually took a week and the man who paid the most money would spend the week preparing the young girl for it before actually deflowering her.

This actually makes it slightly different than what a man would do with a prostitute for he surely would not spend a lot of money and a whole week getting her ready to sleep with her.

Of course after 1958, this practice was made illegal along with prostitution.


Mizuage is a coming of age ceremony, where an older maiko's topknot is sybollically cut. A party follows, like a sweet sixteen. Alot of people here put so much trust in Liza Dalby, yet have no problem cutting down Mineko Iwasaki. What's with that? I mean no matter what, Liza Dalby was an outsider, Mineko-san has stated so herself.


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I'm not to crazy about Golden.  I think I got a different version of the feud where Mineko went nuts because Golden's book is basically Mineko's life and she had specifically told him not to mention people like the company chairman because it could cause some problems.

Golden took ten years to write this book and then went to Boston University for another 2 years to get the project off the groud.  Sorry, but this tells me this is a fraud who can't write.  He should have never picked up a pen to write this stuff.

Also, didn't Lisa Dalby quit the Memoirs project?  I heard that she quit because they wouldn't listen to her.

I went in from the beginning understanding that this book was written from an American man's perspective to write a book which was based on all the classical stereotypes of Japan and Japanese culture.  (The movie made me gag, to tell you the truth).  It was never intended to give foreigners a better understanding of geisha--it was meant to re-affirm the stereotypes that were already out there.  His book would never have been a best-seller had that not been its intention (and if it was not his intention, surely he was aware of what the typical reader of his book would think of geisha).

On the other hand, geisha should not sugar coat or deny the history of their profession.  There was a practice of mizuage and there were danna, but this does not make them prostitutes.


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Sayaka wrote:
I'm not to crazy about Golden.  I think I got a different version of the feud where Mineko went nuts because Golden's book is basically Mineko's life and she had specifically told him not to mention people like the company chairman because it could cause some problems.

Golden took ten years to write this book and then went to Boston University for another 2 years to get the project off the groud.  Sorry, but this tells me this is a fraud who can't write.  He should have never picked up a pen to write this stuff.

Also, didn't Lisa Dalby quit the Memoirs project?  I heard that she quit because they wouldn't listen to her.

I went in from the beginning understanding that this book was written from an American man's perspective to write a book which was based on all the classical stereotypes of Japan and Japanese culture.  (The movie made me gag, to tell you the truth).  It was never intended to give foreigners a better understanding of geisha--it was meant to re-affirm the stereotypes that were already out there.  His book would never have been a best-seller had that not been its intention (and if it was not his intention, surely he was aware of what the typical reader of his book would think of geisha).

On the other hand, geisha should not sugar coat or deny the history of their profession.  There was a practice of mizuage and there were danna, but this does not make them prostitutes.


Geisha are not sugar-coating, but some of the people in this forum wish to glamorize the geisha life by applying romantic/sad strings to mizuage. Mizuage was a practice involving the cutting of a maiko's topknot. The deflowering form of mizuage happened only with tayu. Geisha were everything tayu were, except for the sexual part.


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i agree with Rogue Angel. iwasaki's book was her legacy and she wanted to be remembered in away that none would ever think of her as a prosititute.

In the geisha community/ hanamachi they feel that if someone were to tell about their secret world that they infact were not a geisha and the people inside the community look down upon them. Theres is a very secret world even to the rest of the people in japan, thats also why geisha have existed so long, their secrecy was very important in times of war and they were very loyal to those customs.So when golden released her name and noted her for helping him she was defaced in her community and i even heard recieved death threats. I greatly appriciate the geisha who do release their private stories, in alot of ways its good to know about a way of life that almost seems to be vanishing. But i also feel horrible for what they have to suffer so that we can enjoy their tales and way of life and now i understand that alot of parents dont want their daughters to train to become geisha b/c even they feel that that world revolves around prostitution. its just all so unfortunate. I feel sorry for iwasaki that golden didnt keep his word by keeping her identity a secret. its pretty much common knowledge that mizuage existed for a very long time but we also know that the laws abolished prosititution in iwasaki's day. i can understand how they want to avoid being called prostitutes by avoiding the subject of mizuage all together. When i talk to my friends about geisha, people who havent read any books or done any research, the first thing that comes to their mind is that their prostitutes... its very frustrating. but i think more than the book, wwii with its geisha girls left a bad taste in peoples mouths and they assume that a geisha girl is the same as a geisha. People need to be re educated on the subject.

@ jumper cable my jaw droped when golden said they werent "strictly" prositutes

i think goldens book was great personally, he is a good writter and could portray a world that none of us had ever seen. mizuage in the book also took place before wwii which had not been outlawed until after the way. So the period in time was right. i'm sure he glammed up the story so it would appeal to readers, ofcourse, thats what all writters do. what i would have liked is if he had not mentioned iwasaki and had mentioned in the foreward before you began reading that it was a completely fictional book. For awhile he claimed that the book was infact the diary of a real geisha's life that sayuri existed... i think that was the most upsetting besides mentioning iwasaki. i think its one thing to get ideas from someone but another to claim someone elses life as your own creation. i too would be upset that he took certain text from my life and contorted it into whatever way he pleased. i can see how if he used certain things from her life then people would automantically assume that all the things in the book happend in her life. i think golden stole alot of things from alot of other writters that were just now seeing, and a few of us are commenting on. its more than a coincidence

again @ rogue angel
Quote:
The part where Sayuri is alone with the Baron in his castle, for example. I found the mizuage scene with Dr. Crab to be pretty distasteful. The first time I read it, I didn't think too much of it, other than, "Ew." But after I had learned about geisha and was rereading the book, the mizuage scene made me think, "What? I'm sure not all mizuage danna were creepy old men who kept evidence of all the maiko they had deflowered!"


you still have to consider that the house mother would choose by bidder who would preform the mizuage. I'm sure it goes both ways. i'm sure there were alot of ugly old guys and alot of younger handsome guys who might have been more gentle. i've heard different accounts from geisha, some say that they avoided mizuage all together by talking with the gentlemen the entire time i've also heard that sometimes they are advised to just ley still and accept it and wait for it to be over. which also proves that they have no training in the way of a prosititute. its a double edged sword i guess. But sometimes it can turn out better than planed if you gain a wealthy danna from the experience. It was a right of passage for the maiko and although it was not the best thing to have experiened they knew it was a neccesarry evil. i heard that even mothers who were once geisha and had daughters that were maiko's would not sheild their daughters from mizuage, they knew it would be necessary and if they hadnt might bring them shame.

also remember golden is a man, try to understand virginity as being physical and mental to a guy and usually he has no idea. So i can see he tried to mock up a part of a story that he couldnt completely appriciate unless he were a woman.

i believe some of what iwasaki says and some of what golden says. the things that i believe are things that have also been stated by dalby and downer.
i agree with alot of what musashi said as well.
sorry i have so much to add on the topic. they're all human beings and they all have needs. that doesnt make that person a prostitute, if so then everyone would have to be considered a prostitute for thinking this way or that way about someone and making that thought real. people fall in love and if they chose to have sex with someone that doesnt make it a service.

golden didnt research his subject as througouly as dably he only studied for a very short time in japan so his knowledge has a cap. There are alot of things he didnt know or understand. Just try to think of it as one mans vision of a world, because thats what it is, fiction. What he did was wrong but he opened that world up for alot of people, even if their first view was sorted or currupt it gave them an interest to study and learn the truth about geisha and their way of life. on reading goldens book i did not take it as prostitution by any means. But its very unfortunate that he might have put that idea in other peoples head.

i just appriciate reading all types of books on the subject of geisha weither it be fact of fiction. i love dalby's and all the autobiographies.... i cant get enough!


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papurdawl wrote:

golden didnt research his subject as througouly as dably he only studied for a very short time in japan so his knowledge has a cap. There are alot of things he didnt know or understand. Just try to think of it as one mans vision of a world, because thats what it is, fiction. What he did was wrong but he opened that world up for alot of people, even if their first view was sorted or currupt it gave them an interest to study and learn the truth about geisha and their way of life. on reading goldens book i did not take it as prostitution by any means. But its very unfortunate that he might have put that idea in other peoples head.



I wonder by being a man, how much of the geisha world he was able to research. It seems geisha are more open to other women about a lot of topics in the geisha world. Also Liza Dalby and Leslie Donner were doing academic research on the geisha world, so I wonder if the geisha felt a little more open, and perhaps a little flattered, to revealing things to these two social scientists. And it seems like Liza in particular formed a bond with the geisha she worked with. She even got the president of the US to send a letter when her big sister died and talks frequently with her okasan.

I'd love to read Liza Dalby's thesis!


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Izayoi wrote:
I'd love to read Liza Dalby's thesis!


I found the catalog entry for her thesis at the Stanford University library, here

Sadly, it's not online, but if you have access to a university library you might be able to get it through interlibrary loan. I might try that myself, if it doesn't cost too much.


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papurdawl wrote:
But i also feel horrible for what they have to suffer so that we can enjoy their tales and way of life and now i understand that alot of parents dont want their daughters to train to become geisha b/c even they feel that that world revolves around prostitution.


okay, the reason parents dont want their daughters to become geisha, is because they're afraid their daughters will get sick of it and not keep going long enough to pay off all the debts.

papurdawl wrote:
i agree with Rogue Angel. iwasaki's book was her legacy and she wanted to be remembered in away that none would ever think of her as a prosititute.


and besides, if mizuage (sexual version) isn't considered prostitution, then why would iwasaki be afraid to be truthful? have you considered that an actual geisha may know more about geisha than golden, dalby, or downer??

papurdawl wrote:
i believe some of what iwasaki says and some of what golden says. the things that i believe are things that have also been stated by dalby and downer.


okay, if you only beleive part of what someone tells you, how can you believe the rest? besides, it's sickening to think someone may take golden's side over mineko. mineko iwasaki was golden's source (besides' his corrupt male fantasy), so shouldn't she be more trusted??  :wink:


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@ Izayoi yes thats exactly what i was trying to get at... maybe i didnt say it right

@geishainkyoto2
Quote:
okay, the reason parents dont want their daughters to become geisha, is because they're afraid their daughters will get sick of it and not keep going long enough to pay off all the debts.

i meant birth mothers not house mothers.

Quote:
and besides, if mizuage (sexual version) isn't considered prostitution, then why would iwasaki be afraid to be truthful? have you considered that an actual geisha may know more about geisha than golden, dalby, or downer??


ofcourse a geisha would know more, no doubt. But i feel, as most geisha have stated that its not prostitution. its necessary for maikos to continue on their journey and i believe most of them are very proud of the fact. obviously it was outlawed during iwasaki's time, but i dont believe its fair for her to say it never took place.

Quote:
okay, if you only beleive part of what someone tells you, how can you believe the rest? besides, it's sickening to think someone may take golden's side over mineko. mineko iwasaki was golden's source (besides' his corrupt male fantasy), so shouldn't she be more trusted??


i dont think im taking any sides. in fact i said that golden made alot of things up and he has no idea how to place himself in a world that revolves around ideas and female traditions. infact i said he was NOT qualified to make any statements in fact since he had not studied long enough or been accepted into their secret world as dalby had. i even said he wouldnt understand some of the traditions b/c hes a man. i'm not picking and choosing whats truth or fact. if something is a fact its going to be stated over and over again by multiple different ppl and its going to be based on fact. if its stated once its most likely fictional. another thread that has a similar debate is can be found here.
http://www.immortalgeisha.com/ig_bb/viewtopic.php?t=5067&highlight=
where i said this..
Quote:
like i've said and others im sure have said, her book was how she wanted people to view her and goldens was how he saw the world. Both have truths and lies. iwasaki's were maybe more justified she had to protect not only herself but the rest of the geisha community. Which intern made her more of an outcast. But it might have been necessary to preserve something that seems to be vanishing day by day. When the world of geisha is all but a memory ( hopefully that day never comes) do you want to think of their way of life purly as they were only prostitutes or do you want to see it for more of what it is art, beauty, talent, love, loss, and as we know the original tradition of mizuage. She knew what she had to do to preseve a world with good light cast on it.


so i believe i was defending iwasaki in her reasoning for what she had to do... i think it was very noble for her to risk her reputation to set the reputation as geisha as a whole straight. i appoligize for not making my statements more clear.


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geishainkyoto2 wrote:
and besides, if mizuage (sexual version) isn't considered prostitution, then why would iwasaki be afraid to be truthful? have you considered that an actual geisha may know more about geisha than golden, dalby, or downer??



Mineko Iwazaki is a primary source, true. Does she have a reason to lie? YES, she has a reason to lie.
And do you see? You're getting bent out of shape over mizuage being a prostitution thing, when it clearly wasn't. It was just a rite of passage.
Iwazaki was trying to cover those tracks because most people upon hearing of a notion like that scream prostitution.


Last edited by Umekiko on Fri Oct 06, 2006 3:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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i think its fair to say my first post was misunderstood and im sorry if anyones missunderstandings made them sick... infact i'm a little sad that someone took my words the wrong way and assumed i was taking a stance inwhich i was actually taking the opposite side. i think this is all pretty silly... people should read more into others comments, instead of putting words into others mouths... im sorry but im a little upset that someone misunderstood what i said and thought it was the exact opposite of what i was trying to say. i think we should all be more careful of others opinions. i obviously believe iwasaki above golden.. you could tell that by reading thouroughly into my comments that were posted both times. But i do believe iwasaki hand to make certain decisions in order to restore the idea of what a geisha was. i also believe dalby, she is far more qualified than any of us to say what took place and what didnt, as is any geisha that lived that life. Its not fair for any of us to assume we know what really went on unless we were maiko's or geisha. Thats the whole point their world is a secret and they live on a different plain. i hope that my 2nd post cleared some misconceptions up and that i have not offended anyone, everything is just an opinion.. if i got mad at everything everyone said, that would be really fair would it? instead i rather point out what other people say that i agree with.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 3:54 am 
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papurdawl wrote:
i think its fair to say my first post was misunderstood and im sorry if anyones missunderstandings made them sick... infact i'm a little sad that someone took my words the wrong way and assumed i was taking a stance inwhich i was actually taking the opposite side. i think this is all pretty silly... people should read more into others comments, instead of putting words into others mouths... im sorry but im a little upset that someone misunderstood what i said and thought it was the exact opposite of what i was trying to say. i think we should all be more careful of others opinions. i obviously believe iwasaki above golden.. you could tell that by reading thouroughly into my comments that were posted both times. But i do believe iwasaki hand to make certain decisions in order to restore the idea of what a geisha was. i also believe dalby, she is far more qualified than any of us to say what took place and what didnt, as is any geisha that lived that life. Its not fair for any of us to assume we know what really went on unless we were maiko's or geisha. Thats the whole point their world is a secret and they live on a different plain. i hope that my 2nd post cleared some misconceptions up and that i have not offended anyone, everything is just an opinion.. if i got mad at everything everyone said, that would be really fair would it? instead i rather point out what other people say that i agree with.


Oh dear. I'm sorry! I was trying to quote geishainkyoto, but she was quoting you.... I'll fix it so it only shows her quote. I aplogize.


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@Kujaku no problem i dont mind... i also agree with your above post...
i seem to be very bad at putting my point of view out in a way that others will understand... everyone else  is saying it so much better :oops:  :D
i just wish i could say it in a way others understood.


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Kujaku wrote:
Mineko Iwazaki is a primary source, true. Does she have a reason to lie? YES, she has a reason to lie.
And do you see? You're getting bent out of shape over mizuage being a prostitution thing, when it clearly wasn't. It was just a rite of passage.
Iwazaki was trying to cover those tracks because most people upon hearing of a notion like that scream prostitution.


I'm not getting bent out of shape. It simply bothers me, when I know that mizuage isn't sexual for geisha, and yet others are so set in their ways, saying it is sexual. I'm not going to keep arguing here, because obviously some here aren't ready to believe the truth.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 4:51 am 
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geishainkyoto2 wrote:
Kujaku wrote:
Mineko Iwazaki is a primary source, true. Does she have a reason to lie? YES, she has a reason to lie.
And do you see? You're getting bent out of shape over mizuage being a prostitution thing, when it clearly wasn't. It was just a rite of passage.
Iwazaki was trying to cover those tracks because most people upon hearing of a notion like that scream prostitution.


I'm not getting bent out of shape. It simply bothers me, when I know that mizuage isn't sexual for geisha, and yet others are so set in their ways, saying it is sexual. I'm not going to keep arguing here, because obviously some here aren't ready to believe the truth.


Have you actually read any books on geisha besides Mineko Iwasaki's autobiography?

Liza Dalby is an anthropologist. She wrote her Ph.D. dissertation on geisha, which formed the seed of her book on the topic. I'm not sure how familiar you are with the academic world, but universities don't give out Ph.D's to Joe Somebody off the street claiming any old thing. A doctoral dissertation is meticulously researched and primary sources have to be cited. Regardless of her status as an "outsider," I am pretty certain she wasn't basing her dissertation on rumors.

I'd love to be able to cite primary sources to you about the actual practice of mizuage, but I do not read Japanese. However, I'm sure that if you check out Liza Dalby's book and thesis, you can find the primary Japanese-language sources that she cited.

And what, exactly, is so shameful about mizuage being a sexual initiation? As if that takes away one iota of their art, makes them any less worthy of the title of geisha. It's been stated and restated, both in this thread and in the books that have been discussed, that they viewed it as a natural, if unpleasant, ritual. It does NOT make them prostitutes. Period. Nobody on this forum thinks that. We all admire geisha culture, but not to the point where we have to gloss over the parts that are unpleasant.

If you choose to fixate on a single point in a single book and tell us that we're all wrong, fine. But you'll get more out of this board if you keep an open mind and participate in discussions that aren't about mizuage.


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geishainkyoto2, why not read a few books past Mineko's? Hers is a personal account and should by no means be taken as a comprehensive book about geisha. Personal accounts are valuable in gaining insight but when it comes to research/history/etc.. they shouldn't be your only source.


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Lady Luck wrote:
geishainkyoto2, why not read a few books past Mineko's? Hers is a personal account and should by no means be taken as a comprehensive book about geisha. Personal accounts are valuable in gaining insight but when it comes to research/history/etc.. they shouldn't be your only source.


just so ya know, i have read many, many, other books about geisha. unfortuanatly, most of the "researched" books are by outsiders. i think on an issue like this, insiders (like mineko) are a much better source. maybe that's just me, but... :wink:


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Rogue Angel wrote:
geishainkyoto2 wrote:
Kujaku wrote:
Mineko Iwazaki is a primary source, true. Does she have a reason to lie? YES, she has a reason to lie.
And do you see? You're getting bent out of shape over mizuage being a prostitution thing, when it clearly wasn't. It was just a rite of passage.
Iwazaki was trying to cover those tracks because most people upon hearing of a notion like that scream prostitution.


I'm not getting bent out of shape. It simply bothers me, when I know that mizuage isn't sexual for geisha, and yet others are so set in their ways, saying it is sexual. I'm not going to keep arguing here, because obviously some here aren't ready to believe the truth.


Have you actually read any books on geisha besides Mineko Iwasaki's autobiography?

Liza Dalby is an anthropologist. She wrote her Ph.D. dissertation on geisha, which formed the seed of her book on the topic. I'm not sure how familiar you are with the academic world, but universities don't give out Ph.D's to Joe Somebody off the street claiming any old thing. A doctoral dissertation is meticulously researched and primary sources have to be cited. Regardless of her status as an "outsider," I am pretty certain she wasn't basing her dissertation on rumors.

I'd love to be able to cite primary sources to you about the actual practice of mizuage, but I do not read Japanese. However, I'm sure that if you check out Liza Dalby's book and thesis, you can find the primary Japanese-language sources that she cited.

And what, exactly, is so shameful about mizuage being a sexual initiation? As if that takes away one iota of their art, makes them any less worthy of the title of geisha. It's been stated and restated, both in this thread and in the books that have been discussed, that they viewed it as a natural, if unpleasant, ritual. It does NOT make them prostitutes. Period. Nobody on this forum thinks that. We all admire geisha culture, but not to the point where we have to gloss over the parts that are unpleasant.

If you choose to fixate on a single point in a single book and tell us that we're all wrong, fine. But you'll get more out of this board if you keep an open mind and participate in discussions that aren't about mizuage.



( :sigh we're going in circles, aren't we?)

again, i have read many, many books on geisha. and another thing, don't assume everyone on this forum agrees with you, okay? maybe the majority, but then again, minorities count too!  :wink: sexual initiation is what seperates geisha from tayuu. i'm sorry to upset so many people here, but nothing you can say, will make me think that mizuage is sexual.
bottom line: mizuage is the coming of age ceremony where a maiko's topknot is symbolically cut.


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Can you read japanese? Have you checked the references of the "outsiders" you speak of? You're bound to find a few japanese language references. And if you can't read japanese, would it not be natural and more likely to read books by foreigners?


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Lady Luck wrote:
Can you read japanese? Have you checked the references of the "outsiders" you speak of? You're bound to find a few japanese language references. And if you can't read japanese, would it not be natural and more likely to read books by foreigners?


when i say outsiders, i mean outsiders of the karyukai; not outsiders of japan.


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geishainkyoto2 wrote:
i'm sorry to upset so many people here, but nothing you can say, will make me think that mizuage is sexual.
bottom line: mizuage is the coming of age ceremony where a maiko's topknot is symbolically cut.


No, that's what Mineko Iwasaki says it is. Be honest.

I'm done here. There's absolutely no sense in debating with someone who doesn't see the value of scholarly research and relies on a single source for their information.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 5:38 am 
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Rogue Angel wrote:
geishainkyoto2 wrote:
i'm sorry to upset so many people here, but nothing you can say, will make me think that mizuage is sexual.
bottom line: mizuage is the coming of age ceremony where a maiko's topknot is symbolically cut.


No, that's what Mineko Iwasaki says it is. Be honest.

I'm done here. There's absolutely no sense in debating with someone who doesn't see the value of scholarly research and relies on a single source for their information.


8) ha ha! i've been trying to end this conversation for quite some time :|


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Again I will state that even Iwasaki-san knows that mizuage was a sexual initiation of maiko before 1956! She has stated this in interviews! This is common knowledge. She became a geisha well after the sexual mizuage had ceased. She, in her book, chooses to tell you what HER mizuage was like.

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Mineko Iwasaki denies that mizuage ever happened but in other books such as Liza Dalbys geisha there is more accurate information about mizuage.


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Last night i had a good 20 minute rant at a co-worker, after he asked "are geisha girls ( :mad: ) just upper class whores?"

after starring at him in horror i began.  :angerburst

I think Mineko Iwasaki has every right to be angry about it. now i know more, i'm annoyed at it as well. all writers "borrow" from other works, it's a fact of the profession, but to put such a spin on it is awful. it's as if he didn't think he was dealing with real people. did he even bother going to see geisha performances? who really knows. but i believe that put a very male and western spin on a culture he doesn't really understand.

and as for the "deflowering" ceremony, didn't that just happen to tayuu?  :tayuuface

I don't really think there's anything wrong with the "deflowering" ceremony... the idea of the virginity being lost in marriage and it's importance to the "purity" of the woman's character is a bit of a western idea, no?


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