Japan at its best
Friday April 18th 2014

Mineko Iwasaki

At the age of five Mineko left home to study traditional Japanese dance in Gion, Kyoto and by 21, she was considered Japan’s best dancer and maiko.

I was pleased to have found these clips on youtube.

The first clip shows Mineko Iwasaki’s introduction to the okiya – geisha house as a child.

Fabulous picture of Japan's most famous geisha
Fabulous picture of Japan's most famous geisha

Thanks to ImmortalGeisha and Naomi no Kimono Asobi for the photo.

The second clip provides an insight into the problems surrounding the publication of the best-selling book, Memoirs of a Geisha. Iwasaki was interviewed in the process of researching this book and the interview in the second clip discusses the apparent broken promises of the author. In the interview, she explains that this caused her much grief.

Mineko Iwasaki later wrote her own book, Geisha of Gion, and sued Arthur Golden for breach of contract and defamation.

I wonder how many of you have read Mineko Iwasaki’s book?

Geisha_of_Gion
Geisha_of_Gion

For some more photos of Mineko Iwasaki as a maiko and geisha, go to this flickr account.

For more info on geisha, I suggest a very recent post on Evening with a Geisha by @shanesakata – thenihonsun At the age of five Mineko left home to study traditional Japanese dance in Gion, Kyoto and by 21, she was considered Japan’s best dancer and maiko.

I was pleased to have found these clips on youtube.

The first clip shows Mineko Iwasaki’s introduction to the okiya – geisha house as a child.

Fabulous picture of Japan's most famous geisha
Fabulous picture of Japan's most famous geisha

Thanks to ImmortalGeisha and Naomi no Kimono Asobi for the photo.

The second clip provides an insight into the problems surrounding the publication of the best-selling book, Memoirs of a Geisha. Iwasaki was interviewed in the process of researching this book and the interview in the second clip discusses the apparent broken promises of the author. In the interview, she explains that this caused her much grief.

Mineko Iwasaki later wrote her own book, Geisha of Gion, and sued Arthur Golden for breach of contract and defamation.

I wonder how many of you have read Mineko Iwasaki’s book?

Geisha_of_Gion
Geisha_of_Gion

For some more photos of Mineko Iwasaki as a maiko and geisha, go to this flickr account.

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51 Comments for “Mineko Iwasaki”

  • Kimonobox says:

    Thank you – good comments

    This comment was originally posted on kimonobox.com

  • s.b says:

    I love these clips, especially the film about mineko’s life –

    - i think the ideas of geisha have changed little despite Mineko’s story, Arthur Golden’s book and the stephen spielberg film have set in stone the stereotype that geisha are little more than glorified prostitutes (we have enough of those here in the united states so its easy to see why this is ‘accepted’ anyway) At the least, you would think that Arthur Golden would have had the same sensitivity he used in writing the characters in his book as he would for keeping in with Mineko’s humility – whose name he obviously had no other reason to reveal than for her fame. its so crass and humiliating to talk about fine details of ANY woman’s personal life out in public.

    This comment was originally posted on kimonobox.com

  • Kimonobox says:

    Thank you for sharing this – much appreciated

    This comment was originally posted on kimonobox.com

  • kimonobox says:

    found some lovely clips of mineko iwasaki http://bit.ly/FTtdW

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • shibuya246 says:

    famous geisha videos RT @KimonoBox: found some lovely clips of mineko iwasaki http://bit.ly/FTtdW

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • kimonobox says:

    @shibuya246 thxs for RTof Japan’s most famous geisha http://bit.ly/FTtdW

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • yumii says:

    I did! I did!! I did read her book! Though i did not read memoir of a geisha, but i think i will not like it! =.=

  • yumii says:

    I did! I did!! I did read her book! Though i did not read memoir of a geisha, but i think i will not like it! =.=

    This comment was originally posted on kimonobox.com

  • kimonobox says:

    tweet thoughts? @jascination Geisha of Gion and Memoirs, regardless of validity is Golden a better storyteller? http://bit.ly/FTtdW

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Kimonobox says:

    Thanks for dropping by kimonobox. Good to hear you read her book. The actress who played her character in the youtube clip is very cute!

    This comment was originally posted on kimonobox.com

  • IH39 says:

    Reading: “Mineko Iwasaki | kimonobox.com” (http://twitthis.com/tlxuf5)

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • AustinOtaku says:

    RT @shibuya246: famous geisha videos RT @KimonoBox: found some lovely clips of mineko iwasaki http://bit.ly/FTtdW

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • aroma_M says:

    RT: @KimonoBox about Mineko Iwasaki, the geisha behind Memoirs of a Geisha and Geisha of Gion http://bit.ly/78Vri

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • aroma_M says:

    RT RT: @KimonoBox about Mineko Iwasaki, the geisha behind Memoirs of a Geisha and Geisha of Gion http://bit.ly/78Vri

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • japansociety says:

    RT @AlexGervais: Nice videos and infos from @KimonoBox about Mineko Iwasaki, the geisha behind Memoirs of a Geisha http://bit.ly/78Vri

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Giancarlo says:

    Read both, and actually prefer Geisha of Gion rather than Golden’s book.
    Living in Kyoto right now, and enjoy strolling by some of the streets Iwasaki might have walked through.

  • Giancarlo says:

    Read both, and actually prefer Geisha of Gion rather than Golden’s book.
    Living in Kyoto right now, and enjoy strolling by some of the streets Iwasaki might have walked through.

    This comment was originally posted on kimonobox.com

  • giancarloflores says:

    Have you read Geisha of Gion? Better than Memoirs of a Geisha. RT @KimonoBox: found some lovely clips of mineko iwasaki http://bit.ly/FTtdW

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • puffdragon01 says:

    RT @KimonoBox: Mineko Iwasaki | kimonobox.com http://bt.io/2MF I remember the movie, but have never read the book.

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • whipcracker says:

    RT @KimonoBox: Mineko Iwasaki | kimonobox.com http://bt.io/2MF I remember the movie, but have never read the book.
    Have’nt kept up with much on this subject. Hope this goes through we’re having sort of a storm at the moment. Thunder lightining and rain. North Tx is in a bit of differt weather patern last week and this one. Have gone from hot and humid to weather I just mentioned. Power has cut off twice so far.

  • whipcracker says:

    RT @KimonoBox: Mineko Iwasaki | kimonobox.com http://bt.io/2MF I remember the movie, but have never read the book.
    Have’nt kept up with much on this subject. Hope this goes through we’re having sort of a storm at the moment. Thunder lightining and rain. North Tx is in a bit of differt weather patern last week and this one. Have gone from hot and humid to weather I just mentioned. Power has cut off twice so far.

    This comment was originally posted on kimonobox.com

  • Guenter says:

    Two months ago I have been to Kyoto and visited the Part of Gion were the Geishas live. Narrow streets with elegant wodden houses, poorly lit. Few people. Only a few big limosines drove by. I was impressed by the athmosphere.A big contrast to the busy mainstreets nearby. Thanks for your blog. I will try to read the recomendet book. It’s not so easy to get it In Germany, I suppose. I have seen the film, not bad, but of course verry much Hollywood.

  • Guenter says:

    Two months ago I have been to Kyoto and visited the Part of Gion were the Geishas live. Narrow streets with elegant wodden houses, poorly lit. Few people. Only a few big limosines drove by. I was impressed by the athmosphere.A big contrast to the busy mainstreets nearby. Thanks for your blog. I will try to read the recomendet book. It’s not so easy to get it In Germany, I suppose. I have seen the film, not bad, but of course verry much Hollywood.

    This comment was originally posted on kimonobox.com

  • Muzachan says:

    Reading: Mineko Iwasaki http://bit.ly/4zrMtj @KimonoBox

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Muza-chan says:

    Superb photo and very nice videos. I learned a lot… Thanks!

  • Muza-chan says:

    Superb photo and very nice videos. I learned a lot… Thanks!

    This comment was originally posted on kimonobox.com

  • kimonobox says:

    @AustinOtaku thanks glad you enjoyed http://bit.ly/FTtdW

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • Kimonobox says:

    Thank you for your comments – Kyoto is a great city to wander through and re-capture a time gone by through finding back narrow streets – I will have to organise another trip again soon

    This comment was originally posted on kimonobox.com

  • Kimonobox says:

    Dear me – hope the power is back on – Good to see so much interest in Kyoto, Geisha and Mineko Iwasaki’s world

    This comment was originally posted on kimonobox.com

  • Kimonobox says:

    Good to hear from Kyoto – where are your favourite places to visit in Kyoto?

    This comment was originally posted on kimonobox.com

  • Kimonobox says:

    Many thanks for the RTs

    This comment was originally posted on kimonobox.com

  • s.b says:

    I love these clips, especially the film about mineko’s life -

    - i think the ideas of geisha have changed little despite Mineko’s story, Arthur Golden’s book and the stephen spielberg film have set in stone the stereotype that geisha are little more than glorified prostitutes (we have enough of those here in the united states so its easy to see why this is ‘accepted’ anyway) At the least, you would think that Arthur Golden would have had the same sensitivity he used in writing the characters in his book as he would for keeping in with Mineko’s humility – whose name he obviously had no other reason to reveal than for her fame. its so crass and humiliating to talk about fine details of ANY woman’s personal life out in public.

  • Kat says:

    I did not know until tonight that Mineko Iwasaki wrote a book… I see that I will be heading to Chapters tomorrow to buy it!! I can’t wait…

  • mikenike101 says:

    Does anyone know where I can get either a Mineko Iwasaki signed autograph or a poster of her?

  • Kat says:

    What I find strange is that people seem to think Memoirs of a Geisha defamed Geisha’s reputation and made them look like prostitutes. When I read the book, I was actually left with a very strong impression that this was *not* how geisha were supposed to be looked at. I thought Golden made it very clear through Sayuri’s narration that Geisha were artists and not prostitutes. Perhaps not everything in his book was accurate, but I do think that anyone who thought geisha were prostitutes after reading it must not have read thoroughly.

  • Kimonobox says:

    Thanks for dropping by kimonobox. Good to hear you read her book. The actress who played her character in the youtube clip is very cute!

  • Kimonobox says:

    Thank you for your comments – Kyoto is a great city to wander through and re-capture a time gone by through finding back narrow streets – I will have to organise another trip again soon

  • Kimonobox says:

    Dear me – hope the power is back on – Good to see so much interest in Kyoto, Geisha and Mineko Iwasaki’s world

  • Kimonobox says:

    Good to hear from Kyoto – where are your favourite places to visit in Kyoto?

  • Kimonobox says:

    Many thanks for the RTs

  • Kimonobox says:

    Thank you for sharing this – much appreciated

  • Kimonobox says:

    Thank you – good comments


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