American anthropologist Liza Dalby is famous for being the first Western woman to have ever trained as a geisha. In this classic best seller, Liza Dalby, the first non-Japanese ever to have trained as a geisha, offers an insider’s look at the exclusive world of female. Geisha are exotic even in their homeland. At the same time, geisha are the most Japanese of Japanese. In this book, Liza Dalby examines these intriguing.

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There are descriptions of ceremonies, status levels in The Flower and Willow World, t Great look inside world of geishas – women of art, “owners” of those feminine characteristics not considered in Japanese culture as owned or shouldn’t been showned by wives like sexiness.

Women Ethnic Studies Sociology Sociology: Dalby’s account is straightforward and precise, though I don’t want to give the impression there’s nothing here that would give the reader a sense of personal experience; far from it.

This is her unique insight into the extraordinary, closed world of the geisha, a world of grace, beauty and tradition that has long fascinated and enthralled the West. Apprentices, known as maikoare trained in the traditonal Japanese arts, as well as in social skills such as tea-serving and conversation.

Although primarily a look at the various Geisha communities opperating in Japan Dalby also makes observations on other aspects of the culture as they relate to the Flower and Willow world.

Preview — Geisha by Liza Dalby. She barely touches on the way in which the powerful patriarchy of Japan limits all women, even those with the most freedom: A pity though that the book was written in It strikes the perfect balance between travelogue and dissertation–yes, there is plenty of fact and history and pondering of culture, but also plenty of humor, tragedy, and personal experience which serves to lighten the whole piece.


In it, Dalby examines the history and many aspects of geisha life such as dress, ritual practice, initiation, shamisen playing and zashiki geisha parties. She performed at ozashiki without charging money, and, from the teisha, formed friendships and relationships with geisha in the district.

Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation. Oct 07, Regina Ibrahim rated it really liked it. In an interview with Salon.

Liza Dalby, the blue-eyed geisha – Telegraph

It seems more honest to take away any pretence that there is no bias on the part of the author; the reader can clearly perceive the anecdotal nature of the study. Jun 03, Lorna Collins rated it really liked it. Feb 13, Abigailann Abigail rated it really liked it. Extremely detailed anthropological account of her time there in the late 70’s. Want to Read Currently Reading Read.

Liza Dalby, the blue-eyed geisha

As an anthropological study, it is well constructed, and probably reworked for the general public–moving the statistical parts to a separate section etc.

We visited Kyoto often during our 31 Months there, and Liza’a insight helped inform our experience.

If you truly want to understand geisha–their culture, their daily life, their history, and their place in modern Japanese society, this is the one-stop shop. It’s a really interesting insight not just into the geisha life but its cultural context as well – the history, politics, literature, class structure.

May 30, Cherese rated it really liked it. It was amazing that she, as a foreign woman, was allowed to train to bec I loved the book Memoirs of a Geisha as a fictional account and it was my first introduction to the Geisha lifestyle.


Anyone who is fascinated by geisha, Japan, history or other cultures. The next book, Kimono is about traditional Japanese clothing and the history of the kimono. Photos courtesy Liza Dalby. New York Times Book Review. She herself valby only acting as a geisha for less than a year. But in Kyoto, the sense of shared community was very strong.

The only thing that bothered me yeisha the book was that at times it felt like she was taking pains to tell us what an awesome geisha she had been.

And if we can connect that to the geisha, the traditional term for the geisha world is the flower and willow world. Dalby has written a VERY thorough book covering all aspect of geisha life, yet it’s never dry or boring. Liza Dalby brings so much information and personal experience to this anthropological study of Geisha.

And to think this was Lisa Dalby’s thesis. Would that be a good thing? Customers may come and go, but your sister geisha are going to still be there. D studies at Stanford Universitywas presented in her dissertation, and became the basis for her first book, Geishaabout the culture of the geisha community. Read this 25 years ago while living in Japan. It forcussed mainly on geisha arts and c This book was brilliant.

And of course, the Western women are very curious. Saturday 29 December

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