3.23.2008

Reading Right Now


Walking down the Terramachi Dome area, we found a great bookshop and went in to have a look. Since my Japanese reading skills are almost non existing I always look around for books in English and was surprised to find "A Geisha's Journey" on one of the shelves.

I'm a Geiko fan so of course I bought myself a copy, and as I got home and immediately started reading the book, I realized that it's not your typical Geisha story book.

The book is about the life of Komomo and how she became a full fledged Geiko in the Hanamachi in modern day Japan. It's a compilation of comments by Komomo of her memories of training and performing, she points out things that she learned along the way , like how not to upset her elders and how things were difficult and also how she almost quit the life of a Maiko because of how hard their training and demands are, but the book does not get deeeeeeeep in to details like the Arthur Golden book did, oh no, this is a really clean really insightful but not damaging version of what a Geisha's life is like.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the Arthur Golden book (Ive read it like 7 times) but that book as famous as it was caused a lot of damage to the Geisha Image and reputation, and a lot of trouble to the Geisha it claims confessed all the secrets of the Hanamachi. People all around the world, in ignorance, think that Geisha are prostitutes and there is no greater insult to their work and their dedication than that.

Komomo's book I think was published in an effort to correct some of the damage done to the Geiko image by books and movies that take advantage of the mystery and the lack of information about Geishas that most of us westerners have and exploit our curiosities with lies and misconceptions at the expense of hard working, dedicated artisans, which is what Geiko really are.

If you are a Geiko fan yourself, I highly recommend picking up a copy of "A Geisha's Journey" you'll be happy you did. You can get a copy from Kodansha International which is the publisher's website or from Amazon.com .


Jya ne!

2 comments:

Hugh said...

Teramachi Dome is the big shopping archade just off Teramachi Street ?

How far down is the bookshop...or is it in other English bookshops in Japan ?

Dominik Anita said...

its not an all english bookshop, they have some books in english, the address for the bookshop is Kyoto-shi, chukyo-ku, shinkyogoku
3-jo kudaru sakura no machi, it is right next to the big Movix movie theater, hope this helps.