Arthur Golden• Born in Chattangooga, • Traveled to Asia, spending a Tennessee summer at Beijing• Attended Harvard, receiving University and working in a degree in art history, Tokyo specializing in Japanese art • Earned M.A. in English from• Earned M.A. in Japanese Boston University history from Columbia • Currently lives in Brookline, University Massachusetts with his wife and two children
Golden’s Inspiration• Lived in Japan• Studied Japanese culture• Had connections with a retired geisha• Interested in the secret world of geisha’s lives
Yoroido• The story begins in the small ocean side village of Yoroido.• “This town only had one road leading right to the front door of Japan Coastal Seafood Company”.
Kyoto• In the city of Kyoto there is a district that also makes up most of Kyoto. This district is Gion.• The Shirakawa Canal, runs through Kyoto.• “To shut out the pain… I turned toward the Shirikawa, but cruelly, even its waters glided along with purpose.
Nitta Okiya• The Nitta Okiya is the home of the Geisha: Hatsumomo, Sayuri(Chiyo), and Pumpkin.• Mother takes over the Okiya when Grandmother dies.• Sayuri and Hatsumomo have adjacent rooms in the Okiya.• There are several other rooms such as the Kimono Storage Room, the pantry, the kitchen, and the maids rooms. However those rooms are hardly mentioned in the book.
Gion• The district of Gion in Kyoto is home of many Okiya.• There are many Teahouses in Gion such as the Ichirika Teahouse.
Characters• Chiyo Sakamoto • Pumpkin /Nitta Sayuri • Chairman• Mr. Tanaka • Mameha• Satsu • Nobu• Mother • Baron• Granny • Dr. Crab• Auntie • General Tottori• Hatsumomo Junnosuke
Main Characters NobuChiyo/Sayuri PumpkinThe Chairman Mameha
• Japan was mainly formed by the volcanic activity by the many volcanoes near and on the island.• This volcanic activity also causes most of the earthquakes that bombard the island nation.
• Due to the earthquakes and erosion, the valleys of Japan were formed.• Each valley provides a “nesting” spot for the future cities to be built.• Japan being a mountainous nation however has trouble expanding their larger cities.
• Japan also has many rivers in Japan.• Such as the Shirakawa Canal.
Some Japanese Terms:• Okiya: geisha boarding • Jorou-ya: brothel, place house of prostitution• Danna: A geishas • Mizuage: Sexual patron, somewhat like a initiation of an husband apprentice geisha, her• Geisha: a traditional virginity Japanese artist- entertainer
Cultural Background• Memoirs takes place during • The U.S. bombed Japan in World War II 1945• Japan had already been at • Japan officially surrendered war with China in 1937 to the Allies on Sept. 2, 1945• Japan joined the Axis powers which included Germany and Italy• Japan aimed to dominate Asia• Japan attacked the U.S. at Pearl Harbor in 1941
The Kimono• A bright, outer kimono, two under kimonos, and 11 obis (sashes)• Worn daily by geishas• Different styles on different occasions like tea ceremonies, parties, funerals, and other events.• The type of kimono depends on a geisha’s status.
Quotes• “But this one was a water blue with swirling lines in ivory to mimic the current in a stream. Glistening silver trout tumbled in the current, and the surface of the water was ringed with gold wherever the soft green leaves of a tree touched it. I had no doubt the gown was woven of pure silk and so was the obi, embroidered in pale greens and yellows.”
•“The difference between life at the Tanaka’shouse and life in Yoroido was great as the odorof something cooking and a mouthful ofdelicious food” (31)•… “she wore a soft pink kimono with whiteflowers… the broad obi tied around her middlewas orange and yellow… I’d never seen suchelegant clothing… none of the women inYoroido owned anything more sophisticatedthan a cotton robe…” (32)
Upper Class in Japan“Some nights, wealthy businessmen or aristocrats threw geisha parties just for themselves” (336).
Upper Class Men Dr. Crab NobuThe Chairman The Baron
•“Doctor Crab considered himselfsomething of an aristocrat…” (285)•“But I knew what he meant; hethought of the Baron as a relic of thefeudal age” (291)
Japanese Women’s Place in Society “I certainly can’t afford to have a powerful man upset with me… if a powerful man makes up his mind to destroy me, well, he’ll do it!” (344)
Working Class Geisha WomenProstitutes (being Japanese displayed in a Marriage
•“They wore kimono and hairornaments similar to geisha, but theirobi were tied in the front… a mark of aprostitute” (94)•“We do not become Geisha to pursueour own destinies. We become Geishabecause we have no other choice.”
Before Being a Geisha• Geisha’s typically come from a background of poverty• Some of them have no option• Domestic work in the house first• "I hadnt held a coin of any kind in my hand since coming to Kyoto" (96)
Geisha• Supplies the money for their headquarters or “okiyas”• “…I don’t like to be associated with trash…” (56)• They have to pay back the people that financed them once they start working as geisha.• They will work for the men that offer the highest bid.• The better a reputation a geisha has, the more they’re paid.
The Men• The men are usually very rich.• They do it because it is the popular thing• Danna• They typically don’t geisha• "Youll be very fortunate ever to become a graphics with sufficient statues for a man like Nobu..." (247)
More Economic Factors• Memoirs of a Geisha takes place during WWII and the Great Depression (1932)• The Japanese currency at that time was called yen