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Autobiography Of A Geisha
by Sayo Masuda
Sayo Masuda's story is an extraordinary portrait of rural life in japan and an illuminating contrast to the fictionalised lives of glamorous geishas. She also tells of her life after leaving the geisha house, painting a vivid panorama of the grinding poverty of rural life in wartime Japan.
Sayo Masuda's story is an extraordinary portrait of rural life in japan and an illuminating contrast to the fictionalised lives of glamorous geishas. At the age of sis Masuda's poverty-stricken family sent her to work as a nursemaid. At the age of twelve, she was indentured to a geisha house. In Autobiography of a Geisha, Masuda chronicles a harsh world in which young women faced the realities of sex for sale and were deprived of their freedom and identity. She also tells of her life after leaving the geisha house, painting a vivid panorama of the grinding poverty of rural life in wartime Japan. Many years later Masuda decides to tell her story. Although she could barely read or write she was determine to tell the truth about life as a geisha and explode the myths surrounding their secret world. Remarkably frank and incredibly moving, this is the record of one woman's survival on the margins of Japanese society.
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"This most recent geisha boom comes with a difference. While Golden's novel skillfully utilises, and feeds into, clich-s of the Madame Butterfly variety, these two new publications can be seen as part of an attempt...to break the gendered orientalist gaze and unravel some enduring stereotypes. Masuda's gripping, heart-rending and humorous account is a gem, especially as it offers a view "from below" of the untold social history of modern Japan" * Times Literary Review * "An unvarnished firsthand look into the world of a woman who unflinchingly relates the bitter struggle of her geisha existence in pre-World War II Japan. This is a fascinating and heart-rending tale" -- Liza Dalby "Masuda's account of being a geisha in rural Japan at a hot springs resort is at once intriguing and heartbreaking. While Arthur Golden's fictional Memoirs of a Geisha continues to be the yardstick against which all other books on the geisha world are measured, Masuda's account is a worthy complement" * Publishers Weekly *
About Sayo Masuda
Sayo Masuda died in 2008. The translator G. G. Rowley teaches English and Japanese literature at Waseda University in Tokyo. She is the author of Yosano Akiko and The Tale of Genji.
Autobiography Of A Geisha by Sayo Masuda
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