In 1929, the nine-year-old Chiyo Sakamoto lives with her ailing mother, emotionally withdrawn father, and older sister Satsu in a small fishing village in Western Japan. One day, the wealthiest man in her village, Mr. Ichiro Tanaka, takes notices of Chiyo’s beautiful blue-grey eyes. After striking a deal with Chiyo’s father, Mr. Tanaka sells Chiyo to an okiya, which is a boarding house for geisha. Geisha are women trained to entertain men with conversation, dancing, and singing. At the okiya, Chiyo works as a maid while she trains to be a geisha. The other people living at the okiya are the young apprentice geisha Pumpkin, the greedy and materialistic Mother who runs the okiya, and the beautiful but cruel geisha Hatsumomo. A few months after arriving in the okiya, Chiyo becomes so homesick that she tries to run away to her home village. The doors to the okiya are locked at night, so Chiyo climbs to the roof, but she falls and breaks her arm. Enraged at Chiyo for trying to run away, Mother stops paying for Chiyo’s geisha education. Instead, she tells Chiyo that she will work as a maid in the okiya until Mother sees fit to release her.
Memoirs of a Geisha
Memoirs of a Geisha is a historical fiction novel by American author Arthur Golden, published in 1997. The novel, told in first person perspective, tells the story of Nitta Sayuri and the many trials she faces on the path to becoming and working as a geisha in Kyoto, Japan, before, during and after World War II.