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Rosbrow-Reich, S. (1999). An Interview with Arthur Golden, Author of Memoirs of a Geisha. Gender and Psychoanalysis, 4(3):195-224.

(1999). Gender and Psychoanalysis, 4(3):195-224

An Interview with Arthur Golden, Author of Memoirs of a Geisha

Susan Rosbrow-Reich, Ph.D.

Synopsis of Memoirs of a Geisha

The story begins in 1929 when 9-year-old Chiyo, a fisherman's daughter from a small village, is sold into slavery. Bought by an okiya, or geisha house in Gion, the famous geisha district of Kyoto, Chiyo is forced to work as a maid, along with Pumpkin, another slave girl. While treated harshly, they are promised the opportunity to eventually become geishas if they perform well. Several years later Chiyo learns that her parents have died and her sister, also a slave, has run away; she will never see her again. Wandering in the marketplace alone and crying, Chiyo is approached by an eminent businessman, known as the Chairman. Solicitous, he offers assistance, gives her money to buy a sweet ice, and a handkerchief to wipe her tears. Deeply affected by this act of kindness, 12-year-old Chiyo develops an intense wish to become a beautiful geisha who might attract a man such as this.

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