Title: Geisha of Gion: The True Story of Japan's Most Foremost Geisha
Author: Mineko Iwasaki, Rande Brown (translator and writer)
Published: 2003
Language: English
Pages: 334
Rating: 4/5

This is the real life story of Mineko Iwasaki, a highly successful geisha who left her parents at the age of five, to live 25 years within one of the most mysterious and rare cultures in the world.

I picked this up on a whim, seeing as I've always found Japanese culture interesting, especially the tradition of geisha. And this one really opened my eyes.

Now, right away, I couldn't help drawing parallels to Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, and when I looked it up, I realised I wasn't completely off. Golden interviewed Iwasaki before writing his book, as background information, and she later sued him for having revealed confidential information. She also felt Memoirs was an inaccurate portrayal of the life of a geisha, and decided to write her own story, which I applaud her for, seeing as its an unwritten rule to never reveal too much about their world.

I felt like this book really cleared up a lot of mysteries and misconceptions around the geisha culture. I actually found it quite educational, and though I never took Memoirs as a true depiction, this captures a much less dark and dramatised world. In some ways, I wish I had read this one before I read Memoirs, as I think it's nice to know the truth first, then enjoy a fictionalised version of that. I would say I probably enjoyed Memoirs more, but this book gave me more, if that makes sense.

I also have to say, nearing the end, I was really rooting for Iwasaki and felt like I really got to know her.

I would highly recommend this book if you're interested in the culture and mysteries of the world of geisha.

You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can get the e-book on Amazon
You can read more about it on Goodreads


  1. I've never heard about this book, but I did read Memoirs and really enjoyed it! This should be an amazing read then, since it gives more information about the world of Geisha. Thanks for the recs!

    1. I would definitely recommend it, it's a lot more accurate :)


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