- Mineko Iwasaki
Mineko Iwasaki (岩崎 峰子 a.k.a. 岩崎 究香 Iwasaki Mineko ), born Masako Tanaka (田中 政子 Tanaka Masako , born on November 2, 1949 in Kyoto), was Japan's number one geiko (geisha) until her sudden retirement at the age of 29. Arthur Golden later used her story to write the book Memoirs of a Geisha.
Iwasaki left home to begin studying traditional Japanese dance at the Iwasaki okiya (geisha house) in the Gion district of Kyoto when she was only five years old. She was legally adopted by the okiya's owner, Madame Oima, and took on the family name Iwasaki. She had been chosen as the house's atotori, or heir. Iwasaki became a maiko (apprentice geiko) at age 15. By age 21 she had earned a reputation as Japan's best dancer and maiko. She officially became a geiko at this time.
Iwasaki worked herself to her limit, both physically and mentally. She developed a kidney condition that nearly killed her, but recovered and made a strong re-entry into the geiko community. She entertained numerous celebrities and foreign dignitaries such as the United Kingdom's Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles. Her fame and success earned her many admirers, and she generally enjoyed life in the Iwasaki okiya. Yet her fame also made her the subject of jealousy and gossip, and she was sometimes faced with physical harassment both when performing and in public. In her autobiography, she describes having to defend herself with a sharp piece of bamboo from a basket she was carrying when a group of men assaulted her on the street.
Iwasaki became frustrated with the tradition-bound world of the geiko, particularly what she saw as inadequacies in the education system, and unexpectedly retired at the height of her career. She had hoped that this would shock Gion into reform, but instead, over 70 other ranking geiko emulated her and retired as well. In her autobiography, Iwasaki speculates that she may have inadvertently doomed the profession. She transitioned to a career in art and married an artist named Jin'ichirō Satō, had a daughter named Kōko (sometimes called Kōsuke because of her tomboyishness), and now lives in a suburb of Kyoto.
Memoirs of a Geisha
Iwasaki was one of several geisha author Arthur Golden interviewed while researching his novel Memoirs of a Geisha. According to Iwasaki, she agreed to speak with Golden on the condition that her involvement would be kept confidential, but Golden revealed her identity by mentioning her name in the book's acknowledgments, as well as several national interviews. After Memoirs was published, Iwasaki received criticism and even death threats for violating the traditional geisha code of silence.
Iwasaki felt betrayed by Golden's use of information she considered confidential, as well as the way he twisted reality, and denounced Memoirs of a Geisha as being an inaccurate depiction of the life of a geisha. Iwasaki was particularly offended by the novel's portrayal of geiko engaging in ritualized prostitution. For example, in the novel the main character Sayuri's virginity (called mizuage in the novel) is auctioned off to the highest bidder. Iwasaki stated that not only did this never happen to her, but that no such custom ever existed in Gion.
Part of Iwasaki's displeasure with Memoirs may also have been because the character Sayuri seems obviously modeled on Iwasaki, with many of the book's main characters and events having parallels in Iwasaki's life. These people and experiences are often portrayed negatively in Memoirs, even when their real-life counterparts were positive for Iwasaki.
Her own story: Geisha of Gion
After the publication of Memoirs of a Geisha, Iwasaki decided to write her real autobiography, contrasting with the fiction of Golden's book. Her book, co-authored by Rande Gail Brown and published as Geisha, a Life in the US and Geisha of Gion in the UK, detailed her experiences before, during and after her time as a geiko to the outside world. It became a worldwide bestseller.
- ^ Parry, Richard Lloyd (2006-03-30). "The Queen and the Geisha". Times Online. http://timesonline.typepad.com/times_tokyo_weblog/2006/03/the_queen_and_t_1.html. Retrieved 2008-01-14. [dead link]
- ^ Sims, Calvin (2001-06-19). "A Geisha, a Successful Novel and a Lawsuit". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE7DE1031F93AA25755C0A9679C8B63. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- ^ Weider, Tamara (2002-10-10). "News and Features / Remaking a Memoir". The Phoenix. http://bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/qa/documents/02473409.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- ^ Italie, Hillel (2001-05-04). "Lawsuit of a Geisha". Asian Week. http://asianweek.com/2001_05_04/news7_lawsuitofageisha.html. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- ^ "Tokyo Premiere of 'Memoirs of a Geisha' Nets Mixed Reaction, Criticism". CBC News. 2005-11-29. http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/2005/11/29/geisha-premiere-051129.html. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- ^ Kolsky, Alyssa (2002-10-25). "Real Geisha, Real Story". Time Magazine. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,393813,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Mineko Iwasaki — (jap. 岩崎峰子 Iwasaki Mineko; * 2. November 1949 in Kyoto als Masako Tanakaminamoto), war mehr als ein Jahrzehnt die berühmteste Geisha von ganz Japan. Inzwischen hat sie sich durch ihr Buch Die wahre Geschichte der Geisha auch als Autorin bekannt… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Mineko Iwasaki — (岩崎峰子 a.k.a. 岩崎究香, Mineko Iwasaki?), llamada al nacer Masako Tanaka (田中政子, Masako Tanaka … Wikipedia Español
Iwasaki Mineko — Mineko Iwasaki (jap. 岩崎峰子 Iwasaki Mineko; * 2. November 1949 in Kyoto als Masako Tanakaminamoto), war mehr als ein Jahrzehnt die berühmteste Geisha von ganz Japan. Inzwischen hat sie sich durch ihr Buch Die wahre Geschichte der Geisha auch als… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Iwasaki — bezeichnet: eine Gemeinde in der Präfektur Aomori: Iwasaki (Aomori) eine Gemeinde in der Präfektur Akita: Iwasaki (Akita) (heute: Yuzawa (Akita)) ein Lehen mit dieser als Hauptstadt: Iwasaki (Han) den Familiennamen folgender Personen: Fukuzō… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Iwasaki — (, rock cape ) is a Japanese surname.People that have the name include: *Chihiro Iwasaki (いわさきちひろ) Japanese illustrator. *Fukuzo Iwasaki (岩崎福三) Japanese real estate magnate and chairman of Iwasaki Sangyo Group. *Hidenori Iwasaki (岩崎英則) Japanese… … Wikipedia
Geisha — This article is about the female Japanese entertainer. For the Chinese elm variety, see Ulmus parvifolia Geisha . Geiko redirects here. For the insurance company, see GEICO. Geisha from Kyoto Geisha (芸者 … Wikipedia
Memorias de una geisha (novela) — Para la película, véase Memorias de una Geisha (película). Memorias de una Geisha (título original: Memoirs of a Geisha) es una novela de Arthur Golden, publicada en 1997. La novela cuenta la historia de una geisha que trabajaba en Kioto antes de … Wikipedia Español
Liste der Biografien/Iw — Biografien: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q … Deutsch Wikipedia
Die Geisha (Roman) — Die Geisha (Originaltitel: Memoirs of a Geisha) ist der Debütroman des US amerikanischen Schriftstellers Arthur Golden aus dem Jahr 1997. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Handlung 2 Entstehungsgeschichte 3 Rezeption 4 … Deutsch Wikipedia
Mizuage — (水揚げ?, lit. hoisting from water ) was a ceremony undergone by a Japanese maiko (apprentice geisha) to signify her coming of age. When the older geisha (in charge of the maiko s training) considered the young maiko ready to come of age, the… … Wikipedia