In the latter part of the novel, the setting describes the dawning of the 20th century. Overall, Golden echoed the cultural, social, and political historical events in the East Asia through the memoirs of a typical entertainer. This essay functions as a review of Arthur Golden’s Memoir of a Geisha through an in-depth analysis of the novel’s literary elements and historical explorations on Japanese culture.
Around 1600, until the late period of 1700s, geishas were men who used to perform and sang theatrical and artistic presentations.1 They were known then as professional entertainers and disciples of the visual arts. Later on, women entered into the world of geisha and became more prominent entertainers than men. Female geisha apply distinctive make up, wear elaborate hairstyles and fine-looking silk kimonos, and abide by the doctrines of obis and rules of propriety. They live in the abode of whoever bought them and finance their education. Their education and artistic training includes performing tea ceremonies, serving food and beverages, playing music and singing, conversation, and dancing. A geisha community has staffs who manage booking appearances and performances of geishas on private gatherings. In the advent of modernism, geisha has been becoming a remnant of Japan’s old society. Most female Japanese are now interested to and preoccupied by emerging career opportunities than becoming heirs of and perpetuating cultural traditions.
In writing the Memoirs of a Geisha, beside from his academic studies on Japan’s cultural traditions and arts, Golden crucially used the information he elicited from a legendary geisha. He gathered such personal and historical details to bring a fictional novel into birth. That novel is now considered as a historical fiction because it tells a story of a fictional person from a far flung era, which is entirely