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I am INFURIATED at authors today. (1 Viewer)

krazyklassykat

Senior Member
Specifically, James Frey and Arthur Golden. You can find my opinion on the Frey scandal in Stacy's post. As for Arthur Golden... so I see a commercial for a movie about geisha. I'm already obsessed with Japan, and it looked very enticing. So I saw it. Great movie, as far as I'm concerned. Then I read the book. (Shame on me, I know, I usually read the book first.) Also very good. Now I don't want any arguments about the quality, because that's not what I'm mad about. No, today, in hopes of finding out if the famous artist Golden mentioned was real, I did some research. Instead I found myself facing an article about a lawsuit, and that geisha do NOT in fact sell their virginity, and never did. It's not to say I had a bad idea of geisha for it, but now to find out that it's not true, I'm ashamed to have believed it! Grrrr I thought you could trust writers... the style is quite beautiful.. such a shame....
 

Stewart

Senior Member
As I recall, Memoirs of a Geisha was explicit in saying that the whole thing was fiction at the end of the book. Philip Roth's The Plot Against America also does this.

James Frey is a different kettle of fish, as he claims the book he's hawking is his story when, in fact, it's a piece of over embellished and imagined stuff. He goes into the Dan Brown school of writing: claims everything is correct when it's all made up, half-researched nonsense.
 

Dephere

Senior Member
You can't expect everything you read to be 100% accurate. Asking that is ludicrous. I could see why you would be mad if you believed in it and found out your information was false, but you can't blame the author.
 

bobwriter

Senior Member
I haven't had an opportunity to read 'Geisha' yet, but I'm looking forward to it. In doing research for my novel--some of which is set in Japan--what I found was that Geishas didn't sell their flower, but many had been so sold before they began training. Virginity was a valuable asset in 'pleasure houses' and sold for a premium, so it was not unusual that before advancing, young girls sold into prostitution (usually by their family) were deprived of their most lucrative asset early on.

Hope this helps, and I hope Golden was informative on this point.
 
Dephere said:
You can't expect everything you read to be 100% accurate. Asking that is ludicrous. I could see why you would be mad if you believed in it and found out your information was false, but you can't blame the author.

There's a difference between not being 100% accurate and outright lying about the facts...
 

Mike C

WF Veterans
Fiction!

Geisha the movie has run into criticism also for using chinese actors to portray japanese characters... but it's FICTION!

Same goes for Frey. Someone once said all authobiography is fiction, and all fiction is autobiography. He blurred the edges, sold a lot of books. So what? Has he done anything bad, other than make Oprah look stupid? Has he damaged anyone's life?

Bet his next book hits the bestseller lists too, whether fact or fiction.
 

krazyklassykat

Senior Member
Connor Wolf said:
As I recall, Memoirs of a Geisha was explicit in saying that the whole thing was fiction at the end of the book. Philip Roth's The Plot Against America also does this.

James Frey is a different kettle of fish, as he claims the book he's hawking is his story when, in fact, it's a piece of over embellished and imagined stuff. He goes into the Dan Brown school of writing: claims everything is correct when it's all made up, half-researched nonsense.

At the end of the edition I have, it says that the story and characters are fiction, but that all 'facts' about geisha and lifestyle are accurate. That's what got me mad. I mean, I love fiction just fine. But if you made it up, be clear about it! Geisha selling their virginity was a big thing to embellish...
 

krazyklassykat

Senior Member
bobwriter said:
I haven't had an opportunity to read 'Geisha' yet, but I'm looking forward to it. In doing research for my novel--some of which is set in Japan--what I found was that Geishas didn't sell their flower, but many had been so sold before they began training. Virginity was a valuable asset in 'pleasure houses' and sold for a premium, so it was not unusual that before advancing, young girls sold into prostitution (usually by their family) were deprived of their most lucrative asset early on.

Hope this helps, and I hope Golden was informative on this point.

This matches what I heard in the articles concerning his lawsuit... However, I have the newest edition of the book, with the picture of Sayuri from the movie on it. In the acknowledgments it says:

"Memoirs of a Geisha is a novel and the character of Sayuri ad her story are my own inventions. The historical facts of a geisha's day-to-day life in the 1930's and 1940's, however, are based on extensive research. I am indebted to one individual above all others. Mineko Iwasaki, one of Gion Kobu's top geisha during the 1960's and 1970's, opened her Kyoto home to me during May 1992, and corrected my misconceptions about the life of a geisha. . ."

Obviously, she did not correct enough, for the book was published in 1997. The acknowledgments do not say what matters Iwasaki supposedly cleared up for him.
This is from a Wikipedia article:
"After the novel was published, Arthur Golden was sued by the geisha (Mineko Iwasaki) with whom he worked, for defamation and breach of contract. According to the plaintiff, the agreement was supposed to be total anonymity for the main character of his story. This was because there is a code of silence among the geisha community and breaking that code is a serious offense. Additionally, Iwasaki claims that Golden's fictional novel portrayed geisha as high class prostitutes. For example, in the novel Sayuri's virginity is auctioned off to the highest bidder, a concept that particularly offended Iwasaki. She stated that not only did this never happen to her, but that no such custom existed at all in Gion. By basing his character, Sayuri, on Iwasaki and implying that she herself was a prostitute, Iwasaki claims that Golden broke his agreement and caused great dishonor and shame to herself and the geisha world. After Iwasaki's name was printed in the book, she received numerous death threats and requests of censure for dishonoring her profession."

It is true that you can't expect everything you read to be true... but cases like this just make me sad. -sigh-
 
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