LT / Living art

12:00:00 AM

Back in college, our Asian History instructor, Stephanie Coo, made the class read Memoirs of a Geisha so we'd have a deeper appreciation of the geisha - a Japanese cultural icon. To the unaware, a geisha is a traditional Japanese female entertainer who is usually skilled in dance, music, and conversation. They cater mostly to affluent male clientele.
(photo from the internet)
The book, written by Arthur Golden, was first published in 1957. It was a fairy tale, so I'll admit I wasn't particularly fond of the plot. But I loved how it was written - reading through it brought me back to the time when the novel was supposedly set, walking through the streets and seeing beautiful geishas in the small town of Gion in Kyoto, Japan.

Golden gave details so vivid that it made you appreciate the intricate art of being a geisha: from the makeup to the hair to the wearing of the kimono, to the dances and the music. Being a geisha is not a job - it is devotion, it is discipline that's distinctly Japanese.

A film adaptation was released in 2005. It wasn't bad at all, but it's not something I would watch again because I find that it focused too much on the love story as opposed to the evolution of the characters. The book, however, is one I wouldn't mind reading again.


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