Author(s): Lesley Downer
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, however, rarely been described. Contrary to popular opinion, geisha are not prostitutes but, literally, 'arts people'. Their accomplishments might include singing or dancing but, above all, they are masters of the art of conversation, soothing the worries of the highly paid businessmen who can afford their attentions. The real secret history of the geisha is for the first time fully and brilliantly explored here by an award-winning writer.