Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Telling Stories

Memoirs of a Geisha takes place during the 1930s and 1940s in Japan, before and after World War II. This is a story of a geisha’s life: the transformation of a small nine-year-old girl, Chiyo to celebrated geisha, Sayuri Nitta. After Chiyo’s mother falls ill, her father, a poor fisherman, sells his two young daughters: Chiyo and Satsu, to Tanaka – a renowned business man, who later hands Chiyo to a geisha house and Satsu to a brothel.

As Sayuri enters the world of the geisha, she becomes aware of the role of beauty in her society. When Sayuri looks at Hatsumomo for the first time, Sayuri is utterly speechless and awestruck by her beauty. “Even then, amid all my fears, I couldn’t help noticing how extraordinary Hatsumomo’s beauty was.” As Sayuri progresses through the challenging ordeal of a geisha’s apprenticeship, she is amazed by her own beauty in full…

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