Geisha: The Secret History of a Vanishing World

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9780747271062: Geisha: The Secret History of a Vanishing World
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Ever since Westerners arrived in Japan, we have been intrigued by geisha. This fascination has spawned a wealth of fictional creations from Madame Butterfly to Arthur Golden's "Memoirs of a Geisha". The reality of the geisha's existence has rarely been described. Contrary to popular opinion, geisha are not prostitutes but literally "arts people". Their accomplishments might include singing, dancing or playing a musical instrument but, above all, they are masters of the art of conversation, soothing worries of highly paid businessmen who can afford their attentions. The real secret history of the geisha is explored here.

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Review:

'...the accretion of detail in Downer's book gives it the edge on Arthur Golden's Memoirs Of A Geisha' -- Independent

'Lesley Downer... has succeeded in penetrating this intensely secret and rapidly vanishing world and describing it brilliantly' -- Sunday Telegraph

'intriguing, well structured....richly rewarding study' -- Observer

From the Publisher:

The only book on geisha you will ever need to read.
Lesley Downer's book on geisha is a compelling and fascinating read, which combines extraordinary historical detail (eg, that the first geisha were male and that male geisha still exist in Japan today) with pitch-perfect narrative about the reality of geisha in contemporary Kyoto and Tokyo. I know that as the book's editor you might not believe me, but Simon Winchester, author of the brilliant and bestselling Surgeon of Crowthorne, calls it 'exquisite... Geisha deserves to become a classic'. It has also had rave reviews in everything from the Literary Review to the Big Issue. So if you enjoyed Arthur Golden, you'll love this even more, particularly because it's real. Enjoy.

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Downer, Lesley
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