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Memoirs of a Geisha

This exotic fable is about a young, innocent girl named Chiyo (9 years old in 1929) who lives in a poor fishing village in Yoroido with her older sister Satsu, her father and sick mother. Since Chiyo’s mother is going to die soon and her father can’t do much to support their family, he sells his two daughters into slavery to a renowned geisha house. Chiyo has unusual blue-gray eyes, which later helps her capture peoples’ attention, especially men’s.

Unfortunately, her sister is taken to a different district and from this time on, little Chiyo lives her life in agony because she has no family left and she’s a maid serving a notorious geisha named Hatsumomo. Hatsumomo can also be referred to as a witch because she does anything like spreading false rumors to make Chiyo’s life miserable. One day while running an errand for the house that she lives in, Chiyo falls down on a stone near a river and starts to cry for she can no longer endure the pain and hardships she is going through at such a young age.

Luckily, the Chairman of a wealthy electric company comes across her while he’s walking with his business associates. He takes notice of her and goes up to see what is the matter with her. As he lifts her chin up and looks into her eyes, he is marveled by the beauty her eyes posses. All he can do is stare. He gives her a handkerchief and a few compliments and tells her not to worry because everything will be fine. The Chairman then leaves but he never leaves Chiyo’s thoughts or dreams.

He is the only person who has been kind to her all her life and for the past years, all she dreams about is meeting this wonderful man again and getting to know him. To make a long story short, the Chairman never forgets Chiyo and how beautiful she is, so he goes to a well-known geisha by the name of Mameha and asks her to adopt Chiyo as her younger sister so she can train her to become a geisha too. The Mother of the house where Chiyo lives is a wicked woman and when Mameha comes to arrange Chiyo to become her younger sister, Mother agrees but knows that Chiyo won’t ever succeed.

Hatsumomo tells people lies about Sayuri (her named changed from Chiyo to Sayuri after she became an apprentice geisha) so she can ruin her career because she is jealous. Mameha, on the other hand, is Hatsumomo’s enemy so she introduces Sayuri to popular men so she can wins their hearts and attention. This is the next time Sayuri meets the Chairman but now she’s all grown up; she doesn’t know if he remembers her. The Chairman’s partner, Nobu likes Sayuri and he wants to become her danna – having Sayuri as his mistress. Years after years of struggling to be with Sayuri, he never succeeds.

During this whole time Sayuri is in love with the Chairman but he never seems to pay attention to her. Finally, the Chairman and Sayuri tell each other how they feel towards one another  and he becomes her danna (sort of like a husband, but not exactly). They travel to the United States on business trips and after a few years, Sayuri moves to New York City from Gion, Japan to make her living as a teahouse owner and an artist—geisha. Sayuri is able to find her way out from becoming the mistress of a few men who are interested in her.

All her life of living in misery comes to an end the day the Chairman comes to talk to her and tells her how much he likes her and has liked her ever since he laid eyes on her by the river when she was just a little girl. Sayuri tells him that he is what she’s wanted all her life and they finally are able to be together. They travel together and she settles in New York City and opens a teahouse where men go there and engage in a conversation with geishas. The Chairman dies after Sayuri moves to New York City but he lives on inside her heart.

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