The Geisha

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Geisha The geisha has been the subject of innumerable books and films focusing on the myth of the profession and the culture in which she represented. Various portrayals of the geisha have focused on different aspects of their lifestyle and the different versions also have varying degrees of accuracy in their depictions. In three different films and one book, four different groups try to explain exactly what it was like for people who lived as geishas or alongside these women. Some versions of the story portray the geisha life as a very pleasant one where the role of geisha was an honored title. Others, like Memoirs of a Geisha paint this existence in a more unpleasant life, equating geisha with high class prostitution. Some tell the fantasy version of geisha-hood through a modern and decidedly western sensibility and use the profession as a form of othering the Japanese people, while the others tell a far more realistic and eastern perspective of the same topic. The films to be discussed are: Madame Butterfly, the Barbarian and the Geisha, and Memoirs of a Geisha. The book is an autobiography of a real life geisha, written by Sayo Matsuda. In one of the first films to portray a geisha, Madame Butterfly tells the story of a young geisha who falls in love with an American who marries her and impregnates her, only to abandon her to marry a proper, white wife. This marriage, unlike the one to the geisha Cho-Cho San is the one that counts for the American, named

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