'I can identify the exact moment when things began to change. It was a cold winter afternoon. I had just turned three.' Emerging shyly from her hiding place, Mineko encounters Madam Oima, the formidable proprietress of a prolific geisha house in Gion. Madam Oima is mesmerized by the child's black hair and black eyes: she has found her successor. And so Mineko is gently, but firmly, prised away from her parents to embark on an extraordinary career, of which she will become the best. But even if you are exquisitely beautiful and the darling of the okiya, the life of a geisha is one of gruelling professional demands. And Mineko must first contend with her bitterly jealous sister who is determined to sabotage her success . . . Captivating and poignant, GEISHA OF GION tells of Mineko's ascendancy to fame and her ultimate decision to leave the profession she found so constricting.
MINEKO reached the peak of her career as a geisha in the 70s and 80s, performing for the likes of the Queen and Prince Charles. Now fifty-two years old (and still stunningly beautiful), she is the mother of one daughter and lives with her husband in a suburb of Kyoto, Japan.