Memoirs of a Geisha Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Memoirs of a Geisha

In 1929 an impoverished nine-year-old named Chiyo from a fishing village is sold by her father to a geisha house in Kyoto's Gion district and subjected to cruel treatment from the owners and the head geisha Hatsumomo. Her stunning beauty attracts the vindictive jealousy of Hatsumomo, until she is rescued by and taken under the wing of Hatsumomo's bitter rival, Mameha. Under Mameha's mentorship, Chiyo becomes the geisha named Sayuri, trained in all the artistic and social skills a geisha must master in order to survive in her society. As a renowned geisha she enters a society of wealth, privilege, and political intrigue. As World War II looms Japan and the geisha's world are changed by the onslaught of history.
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The review of this Book prepared by Citra Kusumadevi

Sayuri begins as a daughter of a poor fisherman and his wife who live a hand to mouth existence with their two daughters. Sayuri's life is filled with the ordinary events of a small village, which are described with great emotion and melancholy. After her mother becomes critically ill, a businessman named Mr. Tanaka takes control of the two sisters' lives and eventually introduces Sayuri into the life of a geisha. Kyoto, the town that she migrates to, is not immediately receptive to her arrival but soon people start noticing her talents and especially to her rare eyecolor that she inherits from her mother. She eventually becomes a very famous geisha, but it was not without challenges. She is, at first, apprehensive about even becomming a geisha then a man, The Chairman, changes that and the only reason for her to become a geisha is to win his heart. There is also an adversary in the scene, Hatsumomo- a beautiful, arrogant, more experienced geisha, who dislikes anybody who shows more prospectus than she does. But for every enemy, Sayuri has a friend- with the help of Mameha- a popular, experienced and highly intelligent geisha who also happens to be Hatsumomo's enemy, Sayuri makes the right connections, meets the right people and makes her way to the top relatively easily.
Influential men come in and out of her life-all but the Chairman are impressed by Sayuri. Men, dinner parties and entertaining into the night until World War II comes around. This changes her life upside down-from riches,she goes to rags. Even after the war, men show significan interest in her and she is relatively popular. But, she wants something more, something that completed her but she didn't have- she gets it: a happy ending for all who survived the war.
The review of this Book prepared by Evert

Sayuri is just a normal little girl in a fishing town in Japan. With a sick mother, and a quickly aging father, it seems as thought Sayuri and her sister, Satsu, may soon be alone in this world. However, a man soon visits their village and takes the sisters away--for a price--and soon they are introduced to a whole new world.
Sayuri and Satsu are separated not long after being removed from their hometown. Sayuri does not know what happens to her sister, but what happens to Sayuri is something she never even imagined. Sayuri is sent to the geisha district of Gion to live in an okiya (a geisha house) so that she may become a geisha someday.
Throughout the book, Sayuri goes through geisha school, the death of her real parents, being tortured by the geisha who lives in her okiya, living as a maid, paying off all her debts by the age of twenty, having her virginity sold to a near-stranger, falling in love with someone whom she cannot have, and much, much more.
The review of this Book prepared by Jen

Sayuri is taken to become a geisha while her mother is dying. She is separated from her sister and has to struggle against Mother and Auntie as well as her the woman teaching her the ways of the geisha. She also has to come to terms with the fact that she cannot be with the man she loves.
The review of this Book prepared by Jen

Chiyo, a small town girl in Japan, is sent to become a geisha in the big town of Gion. Things take a bad turn, however, when she runs afowl of the okiya's chief geisha. Now, Chiyo must face Hatsumomo's wrath, and the busy world of Gion, to become a geisha.
The review of this Book prepared by LyonSabre

Sayuri started life in a small fishing village but was sold to be a geisha in Kyoto and went on to be one of the most sucessful geishas of the time. Rivalry with an older geisha almost destroys her career. Sayuri is tormented and inspired by love for a man who she believes she cannot have. The story covers the period of the second world war - the end of an era for Japan.
The review of this Book prepared by Bryn Colvin

The story of a Japanese girl with unusual grey eyes that is taken away from her poor fishing village at the age of nine to be taken into slavery and be trained to become a geisha. Nitta Sayuri faces the many hardships of the art of becoming a geisha and her rival who adds to her burden. The arts of wearing a kimono, putting on makeup, pouring sake, having her virginity auctioned to the highest bidder. A real well thought and informative story. It really makes you cry. A national bestseller.
The review of this Book prepared by Marjorie Lamperein

We follow the life of Sayuri, who begins as a peasant in a fishing village, as she becomes a geisha. The real interest of this book is in the first half - her training and schooling. After that, the book devolves into a rather standard romance-novel-type plot concerning Sayuri's love for the Chairman, an important figure in her life.
The review of this Book prepared by Ivy

Chapter Analysis of Memoirs of a Geisha

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   upbeat Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Life of a profession:    -   prostitute/stripper/porn Ethnic/Regional/Religion    -   Japanese Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes Ethnic/regional/gender life    -   Yes Woman's story?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   artist Ethnicity/Nationality    -   Japanese


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   6 () Asia/Pacific    -   Yes Asian country:    -   Japan Small town?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   actual description of hetero sex Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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