memoir of a geisha Fiction read-a-likes
The Teahouse fire, Ellis Avery
An intriguing, historical, and evocative tale about Japan in the nineteenth century when it was facing radical change and westernization. A famous tea house owner adopts a young American girl whose life becomes entwined with a young Japanese girl. This book like Memoirs of a Geisha focuses on the detailed characters and setting and the relationships and lives of women in Japan, who like geisha, depend upon the secrets of tea houses.
Buddha in the ATtic, Julie Otsuka
Six mail-order Japanese brides find themselves during WWII in San Francisco. There these women face grueling migrant work, cultural differences, rebellious children, and the threat of facing internment camps. This is a complex, character driven story with a measured pace similar to Memoirs of a Geisha.
The Commoner, John Burnham Schwartz
In 1959 a commoner marries the Crown Prince of Japan in which the protagonist faces adversity for not having been born into the world of aristocracy. Then once her son has grown, he too marries a commoner, and his mother, the empress, helps the young bride learn to survive in the palace and simultaneously gets revenge for the cruel treatment of her. The Commoner is a vivid, political, and character driven story similar to Memoirs of a Geisha.
Snow Country, Yasnuri Kawabata
Like Memoirs of a Geisha, this is a romantic tale with a detailed setting about a mountain geisha's tragic affair with a wealthy Japanese dilettante. Yasnuri Kawabata is a Nobel Prize winning author who tells a tragic tale about the struggles and trials of the geisha's life and their relationships with their dana.
Rivalry, Kafu Nagai
Nagai is considered one of Japan's greatest writers and finally in 2007 a complete English translation was published. The story focuses on Komayo who receives the offer from the man Yoshioka to buy her freedom from her okiya. Instead, she uses her infatuation with an up and coming Japanese actor, to decline his offer. Then another jealous geisha swoops in and takes Yoshioka's offer. This is a dramatic, thought - provoking, and evocative read like Memoirs of a Geisha that also examines the rivalries that can build between geisha.
Memoirs of Geisha Nonfiction read-a-likes
Women of the pleasure quarters, Leslie downer
This book is written to explain the rituals, customs, and practices of geisha to a Western audience. Women of the Pleasure Quarters was written to allow people to meet the "real geisha" (Publishers Weekly, 2001). Similiar to Memoirs of a Geisha, Women of the Pleasure Quarters journeys through the lives of geisha and all that it takes to become one.
Autobiography of a geisha, Sayo masuda
This autobiography tells the story of a rural geisha in 1925 named Masuda. Like Sayuri, Masuda was sold into the lifestyle at a young age. A great complementary read to Memoirs of a Geisha, for its correlation to the life Sayuri lived to show how lifelike Golden's characters really are.
GEISHA, LIZA CRINFIELD DALBY
Like Arthur Golden's discussion of women in Japan, Dalby looks at the female role in modern Japan, specifically the geisha. As an anthropologist, Dalby explores the social interactions geisha have with men and how the geisha lives and relationships are at home in the okiya.
Geisha of Gion, Mineko Iwasaki
Geisha of Gion offers a unique perspective from the leader of an okiya Madame Oima. When Madame Oima meets a young girl named Minkeo, she knows she has found her successor. Mineko joins Oima's okiya and begins her training as a geisha. This is a memoir about Mineko's life and her entrance into the geisha world.
Geisha: The Life, the voices, the art, Jodi Cobb
Another option for examining the lives and training that geisha undergo. This is a great addition to this list because it discusses preparation for the dances and performances, which is one of the major functions of being a geisha.