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Category: General Book Talk

Poster of Mameha

Hi. I'm reading Memoirs of a Geisha right now and I'm currently at the part where Mameha is being described as a very well known geisha whose pictures was placed on the "Come and Visit the Land of the Rising Sun" poster. CAn anybody give me a website that this poster might be on? I'm curious to know what Mameha looked like. Thanks.

Submitted by Art, posted on Saturday October 04, @03:37PM

Over 100 comments listed. Printing out index only.
Re: Poster of Mameha

I was under the impression that this was fiction.

by Lyndallia Morden on Monday December 15, @10:25PM

Re: Poster of Mameha by Raquel on Tuesday May 18, @11:05AM
Re: Poster of Mameha by kelly on Monday June 07, @06:44PM
Re: Poster of Mameha by Brittany on Monday July 05, @12:03PM
Re: Poster of Mameha by TM on Friday July 09, @09:50AM
Re: Poster of Mameha by Ron on Monday July 12, @09:45PM
Re: Poster of Mameha by Bien Koehler on Saturday January 02, @09:19PM
Re: Poster of Mameha by sophie on Thursday September 29, @08:23AM
Re: Poster of Mameha

!!!...that is what i am looking for as well!...we must remember that the book, though based on some facts, is story of fiction....i hope to find the poster pictures as well, but the name of the geisha might be different than the one the author wrote on in the book!...hope you are well.......sharrice

by sharrice on Tuesday July 06, @03:53PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Yes, what TM said. It is a work of fiction and TM explains it very well in the above post.

by Sharon on Friday July 09, @02:30PM

Re: Poster of Mameha by H on Sunday August 01, @08:28PM
Re: Poster of Mameha by Rebecca on Sunday August 15, @08:18PM
Re: Poster of Mameha

i'm curious too!i started to think that she was just a mere fiction.what about you?but i've came across several websites about sadayako,so i thought maybe mameha,hatsumoto and nitta sayuri did exist.but then,no results.if you know anything about them,please e-mail me.

by wawa on Tuesday September 21, @07:35AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I do not think that there is a poster of mameha as i think the book is fiction although i would have thought that as the characters are based on memoirs of a real geisha (it says so at the front of the book). That aside i did find a fantastic website that has a gallery, the most interesting part being the Miya Odori programs of 1917, very close to the era of the book. there are well over 100 photos of geishas of that period with their names below, some are very similar to the names in the book and if you want to see what the geisha of that time looked like it is probably the closest you could get.

web site is

hope this helps.

by kim on Thursday September 30, @07:51AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I have fallen in love with Sayuri, because she is so real but certainly I got disapointed when I found a mistake in the book. I cannot remember the page, but you see, I am from Chile (south america) and we are in summer in Xmas and in the new year time (i think is from november to march) (just like in japan), and in the book there is a description of a new year-eve with snow (!?). Weird. I didn know what to think, because I thougt it was a real story, and from that page mi doubts about the veracity of the book started to grow in me, so if you want to write a japaneese story, remember that the seasons are changed for you.
(sorry 4 my english, but if there are mistakes, remember that Im a spanish speaker)

by Raimundo Bambach on Wednesday October 06, @06:15PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I just finished the book and was looking for pictures of Geisha / Mameha and to figure out if it *really* was fiction. The author in the end does say that it is, but I couldn't quite belive it.

So found this interview:

oh also the movie is out in Fall 2005.

by Reading on Friday October 15, @05:56AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I definitely believe that "Memoirs of a Geisha" depicts the story of a real geisha during the Depression in Gion, or in Japan generally. It doesn't matter if this is a fiction or not. As we all know, no story is ever written without any figment of reality in it. In addition to this, I would say that one could never smell the fragrancce of an incense until it is lit.

by cherry on Monday November 22, @07:13AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Did the movie for Memoirs of a Geisha ever come out? I just got done reading the book for the 2nd time. I already read it once when it first came out. I would love to see the movie

by Kristin on Wednesday January 05, @11:42AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I think Arthur Golden's Sayuri and Mameha are real. Arthur probably just changed their names so they wouldn't have so much publicity~ I also want to add that I dont want to see the movie because it will destroy the imagery in my head of the characters.

by Person on Sunday March 13, @02:24PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Raimundo Bambach think ur wong: Japan is on the north emispher not on the south so it will be winter on Xmas.

u can check that on this table:

Santiago, Chile 33 28 S 70 45 W

Tokyo, Japan 35 40 N 139 45 E

by D on Tuesday May 24, @12:27PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Raimundo Bambach think ur wong: Japan is on the north emispher not on the south so it will be winter on Xmas.

u can check that on this table:

Santiago, Chile 33 28 S 70 45 W

Tokyo, Japan 35 40 N 139 45 E

by D on Tuesday May 24, @02:38PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I just wanted to say what an amazing book this is!!! And to join the band-wagon, I too thought the book was a real account of Sayuri's life, though when I read the Authors notes at the back of the book I realised it was fiction...and what a well crafted piece it was!!!! I still can't believe that someone could be so tallented as to ensemble such a piece with metaphors and similes that express just the emotion wanting to be released. I found myself anxious, sorrowful, excited and frustrated whenever Sayuri would feel that way.. and i even cried of relief when the Chairman said that Nobu had released Sayuri from him ever becoming her danna! I just hope people appreciate the brilliance of this book.

by lisa on Wednesday June 08, @07:29PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

i too had doubts whether this book was fiction.however,i try to think its real..very inspiring.i was disappointed though...what ever happened to chiyo's sis,satsu?
im very excited about the movie!!!!

by lozi on Sunday July 03, @12:56AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

i havn't seen the poster with mameha in but i was lookin at a website and came accross a picture wiv the name chiyo under is the link. remember she didn't change her name until she was 13 or 14.

by undisclosed on Thursday July 07, @07:18AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I think the "Memoirs or a Geisha" has to be the best book I have read in a long time. I too found myself believing the Sayuri was in fact real. I was a bit disapointed at the end when I read the Authors notes and felt like I did when I found out the tooth fairy was not real, I am however happy to think that elements of the book were based on real people and their experiances. I shall definatly recomend it, read it again and watch the movie!!

by Sarah Chudley on Saturday July 09, @05:19AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I read the translator's note at the beginning of the book and assumed it to be truth-- meaning that it was a real story, as the note said. I'd heard others say it was fiction, so I was a bit confused. I have to say I felt almost betrayed when I did read the acknowledgements in the back and found it was fiction... I have to say i was suspicious, however, at how magically things worked out for Sayuri when it came to the Chairman-- a bit too good to be true! lol

And, as pointed out above, Japan is in fact in the northern hemisphere, and so is in winter during (our) new year. However, do the Japanese celebrate our same new year, or is it different?

by marcy on Tuesday July 12, @06:26PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

this book is fiction. at the end it gives thanks to references and states that it is fiction.

by s on Sunday August 21, @08:58PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Whether it is real or not it's a great piece of literature and I can't wait for the movie to come out this December (so the rumour goes).

by Kelly on Thursday August 25, @02:39PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Read the "acknowledgments" section at the end of the book. It's states
"Although the character of Sayuri and her story are completly invented..."
Most of his stories' information came from a former geish by the name of "Mineko Iwasaki" who helped him learn the day to day life of a Geisha.

by Jane on Thursday August 25, @03:11PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I think that this book is one of the best books I have ever read.

I have found a page where you can see the picture of Mameha. It is:

Bye, Tanja

by Tanja on Sunday September 18, @08:23AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

The book says right on it that it's a novel. The term "novel" is used for fiction. The book is shelved in the fiction section of all bookstores and libraries. It's a wonderful, gorgeous story, but it's not real.

by Alison on Tuesday September 20, @09:02PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

It is a true story, it says that on the first page
if you just go to and look up Mameha, it will come up witha painting of mameha herslef, have a shot at it and you will see

by maddie on Saturday September 24, @06:48PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I have to agree with those who point out that it is "A Novel" and it is sold on the Fiction shelves at any bookstore where I have seen it. It is a clever device the author uses in the beginning of the book, and apparently has fooled many people. The painting that has been referred to as "proof" that she was real is based on the character of the book. This is no proof whatsoever. I have seen drawings of Tom Sawyer too... but that doesn't mean he was real.

by Sharon on Wednesday September 28, @01:01PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

hey i really really hope "MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA" really is a true story. i think its true partly because mr.golden has mentioned the names of famous people in history. like mameha entertaining ernest hemingway and charlie chaplin!. and isnt there any iwamura electric? there is mistubishi, right? so i hope it is a fact. and the movie's gonna come out on dec. 9. i cant wait!

by tenzom on Saturday October 08, @03:04AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I was also REALLY disappointed when I read the note at the end of the book. I fell for the translators note too! It was beautifully written though. I was surprised to learn that MIneko sued Golden though. I was a bit skeptical too about "happily ever after" things had ended up for Sayuri. I want to see the movie so that I can understand all the articles of clothing.

by licorice on Sunday October 16, @02:47PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I am in the middle of reading the book for the second time and it is just as encanting as the first...I do believe that it is a fictional story based on real events...but I did manage to find a painting on line that claims it is a vintage painting called "Mameha-san"....check it out...I just googled Mameha and it came up...

by Crystal on Friday November 11, @08:23PM

Re: Poster of Sayuri

I've been reading meamoirs of geisha, and I'm curoius what is the real appearance of Sayuri...

by Carlo on Thursday November 17, @03:30PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

hi if anyone wants to know how each character in the book looks like in the movie, here is a website with promotion photos


by frenda on Sunday December 04, @09:57PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

This is in response to a much earlier post about whether of not Memoirs of a Geisha is fiction or not. Golden recreates the memoirs as if they existed. Mameha, Chiyo, Pumpkin, Korin, etc. are all fictional characters. However, Golden weaves in real characters throughout the story as historical references.

I find similarities between Golden's work and Capotes In Cold Blood. Both authors create works that deliberately throw people off balance. Memoirs is a fictional work made to read like it really happened. On the opposite end of the spectrum, In Cold Blood is a nonfictional novel of actual events recreated to sound like a fictional story.

This is my second time reading Memoirs, and I am looking forward to this month's film portrayal of the novel.

Not bad for a dumb 24 year old blonde jock, huh?

by brad on Monday December 05, @11:45PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

The geisha on whose life this book was based actually sued the author of the book and recieved a substanial out of court settlement. This is roughly based and her life. Its more of a warped version really. She wasn't treated badly at her geisha house and NOBU was a lover she had.

by Anna on Tuesday December 06, @09:54PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Hi Y'all,

Like almost everyone on this website, I landed on this website, looking for Mameha's or Sayuri's pic. I'm still readin the book and thought this was a real story due to the author's statement at the beginning of the book. Whether it's a real story or fiction, it is one of the most beautiful and enjoyable story. I'll definitely go see the movie when it's out.

by summthet on Thursday December 15, @10:35PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Why is everyone so diapointed to know that this book is not real?? Doesn't that make it all the more magical? Also, how could you not is stated by the author that "the character of Sayuri and her story are my own inventions".

In any case, this is my favorite book and I sure hope the movie does it justice. It looks like it's been beautifully done.

The fact that the book is fictional (other than Arthur Golden's meticulous attention to historical detail), is astounding. Can you believe what a beautiful writer he is, and how a man captured the essence of women so well? Wow. Can't get over it. This is a book that I want to keep reading over and over.

by Dana on Friday December 16, @06:56PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

o yeah, by the way, if you see the movie memoirs of a geisha, the main actor is an acclaimed CHINESE actor, so don't go around thinking Japanese ppl are hot, cause their not. However Japanese ppl ARE pretty loyal and hard working.

by Zazoo on Sunday December 18, @07:27PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

hello everybody...

here is review with arthur golden about this book... enjoy!

by nick on Wednesday December 28, @02:52PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

japanese people are hot - you need your eyes tested! if you dont believe me then check out takenouchi yutaka mmmmm

and yes it can easily snow at xmas time in Japan - DUH!

anyway love the book - cant wait to see the film later this year.

by Laura (UK) on Thursday December 29, @05:45AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Wonderful Book... Wonderful Film.

by Ramadichi on Tuesday January 03, @05:46AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I just finished the book this afternoon, and can't help but feel exhilarated by it. I spent the day telling everyone I knew about it, and how I was extremely entraced just by the thought that the story, main events, and all the characters were real! Of course, to my dismay I must agree that this is a fictional story. I was very disappointed to learn this. I read the note in the back of it hoping it gave further information as to stats such as Sayuri's death date (etc.), and in an instant wished I had never read it once I learned this book wasn't a real story. This certainly spoiled my good mood. I tried to find reasons contradicting this fact, but unfortunately I also noticed the different names between the author and the translator. I came to the conclusion to search online and find real pictures of Nitta Sayuri and other characters, or anything else I could find to prove that this book was real! (thats how I came upon this page) I will have everyone know who gave websites to help us that I will visit them and encourage everyone else to do the same. Remember, though this story is (and I wish it werent) fiction, it is more than likely based on real facts and geishas. And although the magic while reading it may have seemed to fade now that we realize the truth, the magic and joy it brought to us while reading it should satisfy us enough. It has certainly left an impression on me, whether ficiton or nonfiction. Thank you, and sorry for the long entry!

by Pooh Bear on Tuesday January 03, @04:03PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I was looking for different travel posters. I don't know if this one is around the right time or not. I don't think it is, but this could be where he got the idea of the poster.

Check out address

by Muree San on Thursday January 12, @07:39PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I'm so sorry! I made a mistake with the link in my post the other day. Here it is again - right this time I hope. This website has a link to an audio link to an interview with Arthur Golden the author of Memoirs of a Geisha. They discuss how it was that he made the story seem so real, and they even talk about everyone here discussing if Memoirs of a Geisha is a true story of not! Obviously from this thread, so many people thought it was a true story. Arthur Golden did such a good job. He got to interview a retired geisha. You can hear about it in the interview.

by Hada on Saturday January 14, @04:07PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Its not fiction...

by Bebs on Friday February 10, @03:56PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I just finished this book last night and I agree with what I saw HOUSTON CHRONICLE write about it.."Memoirs of a Geisha is nothing short of astonishing". It couldnt have been put better! I saw the movie recently and although the movies are never better then the book, it was still just as beautiful. If you haven't read this book, you haven't really lived! Haha. Oh and to put the Fiction/Non Fiction debate to rest, this story is in fact fiction. On page 433 "Acknowledgments" the author writes "Memoirs of a Geisha is a novel and the character of Sayuri and her story are my own inventions. The historical facts of a geisha's day-to-day life in the 1930s and 1940s, however, are based on extensive research". He goes on to say that Mineko Iwasaki, one of Gion Kobu's top geisha during the 1960s and 1970s, opened her Kyoto home to him and helped correct any misconceptions he may have used about the life of a Geisha. So although it never really took place, a little part of each of us wish it really had. This novel is truly a materpiece!

by Brittany on Saturday February 11, @08:43PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I never knew this book even existed till I saw the movie. I fell in love with the movie and then went and bought the book. I too thought it was real, even up till half way through, but discovered that in fact its not. We can all argue over the different opinions we all have from what we have read, but you cannot dismiss his interview where he clearly states it is indeed fiction. While his outlines have been drawn from various real accounts, the story itself, the character is indeed fiction.
I also just wanted to add a thank you to those of you who posted links in your comments, it's helped a great deal for my own personal search as to the truth behind the book.

by Terrance on Tuesday February 14, @05:31PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I have read Memoirs of a Geisha and it is definitely fictional, the acknowledgment page at the back by the auther states that the charater of Sayuri are completely fictiona, but that the historical facts of a geisha's day to day life....a brilliant read....

by Karen on Monday March 13, @05:40AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Although I would love to believe that the image of Mameha on the suggested google site is a true image of her I am afraid that it was omly painted in 2004!!! An artist's interpretation of a fabulously depicted and described character!!! but not an historical image.

by An avid reader on Thursday March 30, @10:17AM

Memoirs of a Geisha

i saw the film before reading the book and thought it was really good so i got my mom to buy the book and was totally amazed. the book is even better.
so who cares whether it is real or not, its great to watch and even better to read..its what you make of the story that counts- why should you look at it differently just because it is fiction???

by de souza (",) on Thursday April 06, @12:37PM

Re: Memoirs of a Geisha

I can't agree more. The book is amazing it shouldn't matter if the characters were real... they feel real when you read the book or watch the film so it doesn't really matter. Just enjoy the story for what it is .. a fabulous piece of literature.

by An avid reader on Tuesday April 11, @07:54AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I saw the movie and I loved it. So I read the book. After reading it alot make sense to me that didnt before. I had to go back and watch the movie after I read the book. As much as I wanted to think that Sayuri was a real person, it is fiction. If you dont believe me just watch the second disk on the dvd. But I didnt care...I still love it!

by andrea on Friday April 21, @02:08AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Noooooooooooooo - it must be real !! I found this page by looking for the poster of Mameha too. And was devastated to find out, first that it is fiction and second what happens with Sayuri and the Chairman - spoiled entirely what I was really really enjoying. I will go on to finish the book as it is one of the most amazing books I have read for a very very long time, and I go through 2 or 3 a month.

Just for the future - stick to the topic and try not to spoil the story for anyone who has not finished yet.

by Joanne on Monday April 24, @04:28AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I read the book before seeing the movie and thought the movie was very poor and lacked the depth of the book, it also misses important information about chiyo/sayuris'thoughts and life. I was even wondering wether the writers and director read the book. It is a shame that the story is fictional.

by Natasha on Tuesday April 25, @07:10PM


i agree that the movie isnt all it could be i mean they do change things that dont need to be changed.. and what happened to the book ending...i guess hollywood wanted to amke it a happily ever after. Typical! }:-[

by de souza (",) on Wednesday May 03, @01:57PM

Fiction or not fiction

Dear Readers,

Please read the acknowledgements.

by Suzanne on Wednesday May 10, @01:20AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I thought this was a true story as well... Until I started reading these posts and went to the acknowledgments in the back of the book... I was very disappointed when i read the very first sentence: "Memoirs of a Geisha is a novel and the character of Sayuri and her story are my own inventions..." I regret coming to this site.

by Alexandria on Saturday May 13, @10:50AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I have read this book ~7 times in the past decade and the first 2 times I read it I skipped the acknowledgements and believed the story to be real. I was both disappointed that it was fiction(only because I had aspirations of meeting these people at some point in the future-even though they would probably have passed on by hte time I could afford trips to NYC or Japan) and at the same time I was amazed at the author's ability to make me believe that it was an actual account of someone's life, especially since the author was a man.

As already pointed out to the person from Chile-Look at the world map and you will see that not only is the country of Japan ABOVE the Equator, it is also above the Tropic of Cancer, so Japan has the same seasons as North America & the rest of the Northern Hemisphere.

I believe the Japanese New Year is the same time as the Chinese New Year (February I believe).

by iljllfe on Thursday June 15, @10:25AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Seeing a pic of Mineko Iwasaki bears a very 'real' & amazing resemblance (according to the authors fictional description {e.g. oval shaped face}) to the story's character Mameha, as well as the actor who starred as Mameha (Michelle Yeoh).

Makes me wonder...Maybe Mameha is Mineko Iwasaki..

Amazing Book!

by rgolatt on Monday July 03, @10:44PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I think the movie was really good, but the book was WAY better. It explained more things and was way more detailed. I thought it might be real too, but the problem was that my book (out of the library) doesn't have aknowledgements. So I didn't realize that the story isn't true until I started resarching about it.

by Wendy on Monday July 24, @01:18PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I don't for sure but it might be a poster of "Come and Visit the Land of the Rising Sun"

by flor on Wednesday July 26, @03:55AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I've only just read the book and fell in the same trap as many contributors to this discussion. At the outset, the translators note successfully led me to believe that the book was a true account based upon the recorded memoirs of Nitta Sayuri , one day however, whilst taking a break from reading the book, I fell upon the acknowledgements page, I was v confused after reading it and kept reading and re-reading both the acknowledgements and translators note. I concluded that with some difficulty that the book is indeed fiction in the sense that the author never did record the memoirs of Nitta Sayuri, but then on the other hand, maybe he did record the memoirs of a real geisha, but simply changed the name. Whatever, the case, I have two points: one is that whether categorised as fiction or not, this book is without doubt based upon real life events because its too heartfelt to be entirely fabricated and secondly, I think the technique used in the translators note is not helpful since it just confuses the reader!

by bookworm on Friday August 04, @04:59AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I'm now 2/3 of my way to finish the book. Although you all argue about it's fiction or not, I would treat this book as non-fiction. The author had to say it's fiction to protect himself by being sued (however he was stupid enough to reveal the lady behind at the other event!!) I would also like to correct the message posted by Iljllfe. The Japanese New Year is always the January 1 (same as the western world), but the Chinese New Year is based on Lunar year. That means it changes all the time, but it's always somewhere around Jan/Feb time in the gregorian calendar. (I know it perfectly because I'm chinese.)
I myself would like to see the poster of Mameha as well. Does anyone have Koizumi's email address??! He is possibly the only person we can ask for help!

by Zoe on Sunday August 06, @11:50AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I lived in Japan for 4 years at the beginning of the 1990s and would like to reply to a couple of posts on this thread. For a start, yes indeed, Christmas/New Year in Japan falls in the winter despite the claims of the Chilean poster. It’s reassuring to know that it’s not only Americans who can be accused of being bad at geography! Also, Japan celebrates New Year on the same calendar as the West; i.e. January 1st. Sure, they celebrate Chinese New Year as much as we do in the United States, but it’s not THE New Year for modern Japan. New Year’s Eve in Japan (December 31st) is celebrated with the ringing of temple bells at midnight, and the consumption of a sweet treat called “mochi” made from a very sticky kind of rice. (The same stuff you might have had on mochi ice cream, but it’s a whole ball of nothing but the sticky rice, and every year several senior citizens in Japan choke to death on New Year’s day eating their celebratory mochi ball!) To the person who made the statement that Japanese people are not good looking, obviously their view of the world is one of generalizations, and they’ve never lived in Japan, or perhaps they’re Chinese since they seemed to think all Chinese are beautiful. Like any other race, there are good looking Japanese, average looking Japanese, and yes, some whose picture could grace the pages of an ugly people website. As for the movie version of Memoirs of a Geisha, I personally I thought it was very poor. I loved the book and so looked forward to the movie, but I was greatly let down by the movie. Very little time was spent on the character development that the book is so good at doing and which has so many people who have joined this forum convinced that the novel is fact rather than fiction. I wonder what Arthur Golden thought of the movie? I can only imagine he was pretty disappointed too. Another thing that got my goat about the movie was that the Chinese accented English was so hard to understand. Why didn’t they just use Asian actors from English speaking countries? Part of the reason why “Memoirs of a Geisha” is so convincing apart from Golden’s expertise in crafting the story, is because of the years he spent researching and interviewing real geishas in the Gion district of Kyoto. As noted above, if you have RealPlayer installed on your computer, you can listen to a very interesting interview with Arthur Golden in which he talks about his lucky break in getting to interview real geishas as background for his book. (Note: the site has a link to the download page for the free version of RealPlayer). Golden also discusses whether or not geishas are prostitutes or not.

by John on Monday August 07, @10:39PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I regret coming to this site as well...I am almost to the end of the book and certainly tempted, yet somewhat unnerved to read the acknowledgements at the back for fear of shattering the well-conceived illusion.

Oi! I actually was obsessed this week at the thought that these characters were real and did a search on google for the poster of Mahema...only to stumble upon this site.

Good grief. What literary geniousness that makes me this disappointed, heh.

by nova on Thursday October 12, @03:20PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Hi everyone.
I love the book. I loved the movie. With that said, like everyone on here i was trying to find out more about the book and the characters. Everyone please read the acknowledgments.......
In the 3rd / 4th sentence it states....
Mineko Iwasaki, one of Gion Kobu's top geisha. That is who Sayuri is. The book is based on a real person named Mineko Iwasaki. The names have been changed to protect these people. So i do believe it is a true storie. In the acknowledgments, it is Mineko Iwasaki who's life he is writing about, if you read closly. If you google the name you will find out more about this person.
Hope this will answer any questions.

by Nakari on Saturday October 28, @11:03AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Yes, it is fiction. I personaly know Arthur Golden's mom, and have met him. The book was a masterpiece and is based on real places and customs, but not on real people. It could have happened, but didn't. When I took a group of students to Japan (including Kyoto) in 2000 the book was required reading.

An interesting side note: One of my best Japanese friend's nome is Sayuri Nitta! Of course she was named long before the book or movie. She will not read the book or go to see the movie!

by John Odom on Wednesday November 15, @12:07PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

What a amazing book. I just finished reading it, and I was so convinced that it all really happened... that when I read the notes of the author at the end, I was really confused, I read the first few pages again and there really stood that the story was being recorded and dictated! So I immediatly searched for evidence that it all did happen. And it didn´t!! Still it was a beautifull book and I read it with amazement for the geisha culture. A pleasure to read

by Ithilwen on Tuesday January 09, @12:08PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

As most of you did - I stumbled upon this site after reading the book for a 3rd time. Like many, I saw the film first then read the book. I found the film to be missing quite a few details, as some have mentioned - but understand that it has to be condenced down or we would be sat there for hours.
I truly belive that this is one of the most brilliant books I have ever read and whilst reading through some of the posts on this site, clicked a link which took me to amazon and to the book by the woman that inspired it all "Geisha of Gion" by Mineko Iwasaki.
I was also very disapointed to learn that it was in fact a work of fiction - however the way that Arthur Golden portays it is in deed very very real.
Please everyone enjoy it for what you make it - whether to belive it is fiction or non fiction and I will let you know how the other book goes.


by Rosa Strangwige on Tuesday February 06, @12:06PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I'm reading the book right now and am at the point where the poster of Mameha is being described. I have believed all along that the book is a work of fiction. (And yes, of course it is possible to write fiction that seems/feels very "real" and evokes empathy for the main character(s) - all you need is good imagination combined with knowledge.) Anyway, I have also been under the impression that the book is heavily based on the writer's knowledge of Japanese history and culture. Therefore, it is a combination of fact and fiction. I believe that Gion is a real place, that Yoroido exists (although I haven't looked them up on the map) and that the Japanese traditions and dresses described in the book are real, for example. But I don't believe that there has actually been a Chiyo who has been born in Yoroido and been sold to an okiya in Gion where she has encountered the evil Hatsumomo and so on.

But when I read such a convincing description of the poster of Mameha, I must admit I did start wondering if Mameha and the poster really existed. She might have been real, just as Yoroido and Gion and kimonos, even if the story itself is fiction. You see. Just like the King of Qin is a historical figure whereas the film Hero where he appears is fiction.

Then I googled "mameha" and stumbled upon this discussion thread.

What I'm trying to communicate is that the fact that the book is fiction does not prove that also Mameha is fiction and that the poster of Mameha couldn't exist. That's why I don't understand all the comments mentioning that "the book is fiction". So what? - a lot of things in it, like the descriptions of Japanese culture and places, are factual. If you want to say that Mameha is fiction, don't say that the book is fiction, say that Mameha is fiction.


by kummatus on Monday July 09, @01:18AM

Re: Poster of Mameha


i'm sooooooooooooo dissapointed. Like many of you I thought the book was real! I did wander how did Sayuri manage to remeber so much detail of her life. I mean we all have memories of certain events that are stronger than others, but she described a her life in such a detail, that now I understand the way it was so beautifully put is because it is made by an extraordinary writer.

I didn't finish the book yet and I tried not to read too many comments in order not to spoil the end....

Anyhow, love the book and I can't put it down

by lexi on Friday September 14, @03:01AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

We've already noted the acknowledgements, and that Sayuri is a fictional character. Some people have suggested it's a "true" story and all the names have been changed. But look at this: Mineko Iwasaki is supposedly the geisha Sayuri is "based on".

She sues because he totally warped the story into something it wasn't! It is a completely inaccurate depiction. It's convincing, and believable, but it's not true.

by XiaoGui on Monday September 24, @12:39PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

yah first i wish to tell that my english is not so good to understand thoroughly the gist the story conveys, but in my opinion that the story can be considered as a bridge which will give us another look on the society in Japan then, and which makes Japanese people so intent and very aimfull in their lives, otherwise, we should have another aspect at the gheisha career something like packaged girls in countries. first to vindicate why we have the concept that"eating chinese foods, staying in western houses, marrying japanese wives" through the story of the memoirs of a gheisha we found out that to become a gheisha most girls must undergo through very strict terms and hard training lessons, and they became the models of attractive girls in Japan then, otherwise japanese conceptions are very strict they are so conservative that restrain girls and women from developing independent so the only responsibility of women is to entertains men and taking care after children, now it is changed in some kinds but still effected by the ancestrial rules

by tuongquan nguyen on Saturday October 13, @09:27AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

my.... i thought it was a true account though i was surprised by all the tiny details that was told in the book.i dont think anyone can, after 60 or 70 years, remember such tiny details especially that of one's childhood.

by jack on Wednesday October 17, @04:48AM

Poster of Mameha

fiction or not it's a great piece of work that we should's one story i'll never forget and frankly i was touched by sayuri

by yasiin on Monday December 10, @02:50AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Just go throug Wikepedia - Memoirs of Geisha is a fiction - and also read Mineko's autobiography , one will know the difference . Nevertheless author deserves kuddos for having our attention till the end of the page. I suppose no would have skipped lines in between.

by mirra on Tuesday January 22, @01:02AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Why argue over if it's fiction or not. It's a great book, thats all that matters. I too looked for pics of Mameha and Hatsumomo.. just to see what they looked like.. Any book that I read, and can picture it all in my head as I'm reading, is real enough for me. Great Book.

by Shawna on Sunday February 10, @11:50AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I looked at some of the movie pictures ( and it sort of killed of how I pictured mameha. in the movie and pictures, she looks so old. when I picture her, she looks younger, as if she was in her late 20's/early 30's. otherwise, a VERY good book. I'm reading it for the second time right now. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I think I will. sooner or later. :)

by Jai on Friday February 22, @08:54PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

If you look at the acknoledgements at the end of Memoirs of a Geisha, the author tells us that the characters are created by him. Sayuri is not a real geisha but based on much research and interviews with a particular geisha that was famous in the 1960's and 1970's.

by Ashley Smith on Friday March 21, @11:11PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

the book is fiction but the story isnt and im quite sure that the woman on the cover with the wonderfull icey blue eyes is sayuri somehow....because none of the actress compare to that beauty.but i think they casted hatsumomo quite not sure if that poster would still be around anywhere but im just saying i think thats what sayuri looked like because it says at the start of the book in the translators notes which are really good!

by shorty on Saturday April 12, @08:31PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

first things first, you're an idiot for thinking that the person on the cover of the book "is really sayuri." the person on the cover of the book is the actress who played the role in the 2005 film of the same name. as for your comment about how no other could possibly match her beauty, well OBVIOUSLY the actress doesn't really have blue eyes. ever heard of colour contacts? however, i'll agree whole heartedly about the casting of hatsumomo. so perfect, she has got to be the most beautiful japanese actress i've ever seen, and great at acting like a bitch!

by Kate on Monday April 28, @02:02AM


You will find this written at the end of the book "Memoirs Of A Geisha" on page 500, written by Arthor Golden himself.

..."Memoirs of a Geisha is a novel and the character of Sayuri and her story are my own inventions. The historical facts of a geisha's day-to-day life in the 1930s and 1940s, however, are based on extensive research."...

Therefore,the characters in the story ARE in fact, fictional.

by Billie on Monday July 14, @07:47PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I absolutely love this book but i'm confused.

The translators note at the begining says he new Sayuri and recorded her,
yet at the back in the acknowledgments, he says they are all his own inventions?
i did believe it was real, and would still liek to believe it, but this has just made me confused.

by Steph on Tuesday July 15, @05:35AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

it is fiction unfortunately

by dd on Friday August 22, @08:44AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

i know the book came out a long time back but i just laid my hands on it. can anybody tell me who is the girl on the cover of the book. i am talking of the balck and white picture towards the top left side. i guess it was the first edition. please reply.

by alok on Wednesday September 24, @10:09PM

Re: Poster of Mameha



All of the characters are MAKE BELIEVE.

If you open the first page of the book, it says: "A NOVEL by Arther Golden"


by Cal on Monday October 13, @09:55PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I was devastated to learn that the book was fictional. I took every spare moment to read this captivating book, experiencing every emotion as Sayuri describes what I had believed were facts. I had relayed to friends and colleagues, the inspiration of Sayuri, a real-life person,(not her we now know)
on reading the Acknowledgements at the end, I could not for one moment believe that an author could betray the reader so. And what about the characters of 'real people'who are mentioned, including political people, named.
All of the fascination and the emotion I held for the characters, was present because 'it was real' Now all evoked emotions, are void as I understand we have been duped!

by sharon on Wednesday November 12, @04:47AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I have not seen any posters of Mameha. The book is fiction, but the author did interview Sayuri. Her real name is Mineko Iwasaki she wrote her own book to dispel the story told in 'Memoirs' if you google her u will see her true likeness.

by LaQuinta on Thursday November 13, @12:14AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

This book is not fiction. If anyone took the time to read the Translator's Note in the beginning of the book, you would know this.

by Megan on Wednesday November 26, @10:31AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

at the moment i'm reading the book, still on, but i really curious about the geisha itself, particularly how sayuri was look like, then i found this site.., i truly disappoint n sad if the story was a fiction. Why should i searching before i finished reading it? (still expecting the existence of sayuri was true..:(...) if any clue about this, pls dont be hesitate to contact me, then telling me the truth include the evidences..thanks.

by ainhawadaa on Wednesday December 17, @08:17PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Im currently reading the book and it is not fictional it is an accounting of sayuris life hence the word "memoirs" what part of that word does nobody understand

by rosie on Tuesday January 06, @01:41PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Beautifull book! I've just finished it .. but it MUST BE A TRUE STORY!!! If not, why did the translator write about Sayuri .. about his luck when he meet her, when he says that everything is TRUE but some names are changed .. why? I don't mind if this isn't true but it would be weird if not ..

by Jana on Tuesday January 20, @06:12AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Actually, the book is a complete work of fiction.

Reason 1:
On the cover of Memoirs, right below the titles, is says “A novel by Arthur Golden”. Incase anyone doesn't know the definition of a novel is, allow me to explain. A Novel is a form of literature that is fictional, where various depictions of life and events that occur in life (whatever type of life that may be, Geisha life included) are described in writing. Key word: fictional.

Reason 2:
The acknowledgments in the back of the book. Arthur Golden states that Sayuri and her story are his own inventions. But the historical facts of geisha life during that time period are accurate, he explains, as he did a lot of extended research on the matter. This is proved at the beginning of the book, before the Translator notes. There is an impressive list of Golden’s immense education on Japanese art and history, as well as a statement of time he spent working in Tokyo. Also, during the acknowledgments, Golden discusses his interviews with the geisha Mineko Iwasaki and her family, and the many things she told him about geisha life (routines, living arrangements, finances, etc). Therefore, his intense knowledge and understanding of geisha life is reasonably, for lack of a better term, backed-up.

Reason 3:
Though this is most likely the weakest reason, the dedications at the back of the book are another form of a fictional prose. The book is dedicated to the author's wife and children. Now, if the memoir was a complete recording of someone else's life, wouldn’t you, if you were the one relaying the information, write something along the lines of “In the Memory of Nitta Sayuri and Her Passionate Life”, since the Translator states that she died before release?

I rest my case.

The book is fiction, beautiful and captivating, but completely fictional.

The Translator portion of the novel is a brilliant piece of work on the Author's end: he wanted you to believe Sayuri had lived, he wanted you to feel her pain, her joy. He wanted you to walk in her shoes, to know what it was like to live the life of someone coveted and almost unbearably beautiful, so much so that it was harmful. He wanted you to see, to become, to experience.

Something similar happens at the beginning of the novel What Dreams May Come, by Richard Matheson, but that's a different story for a different time.

by Daniellle on Wednesday January 21, @07:54PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Dudes, the book is fictional, Sayuri is NOT based on anybody else, the author only interviewed the other geisha, to find out about her life. Furthur proof of this is the book that the famous geisha wrote called "Geisha, A life" which actually IS based on her life, and is completely different from the life of Sayuri.

by frustrated person. on Tuesday April 07, @11:10AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Okay, didn't anyone read in the front before the book starts? It is nonfiction, the accounts of the woman's life are real, given by her. Some of the names of the other people were changed. (ex. Mr.Snowshowers, Dr. Crab) They were changed to protect the identities of the people. Nitta Sayuri asked that the book not be published until she and the others in the book died, which was in 1995, when she herself died in New York, where she came to live after she severed all the ties to her homeland, Japan. If you read in the front of the book before her story is told, all of this information and more is told to you by them man who interviewed her for the information.

by liz on Wednesday April 15, @01:00PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I found a mistake: P. 463 (paperback) says that they saw bananas and pineapples growing on the trees. Pineapples grow on the ground, not on trees.

by Heather on Thursday April 30, @10:39PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

sorry folks but is definetaly fiction (sorry about my awful spelling).

Check the back pages AFTER the story has finished. :'( i wanted it to be real, but alas it is not. :'(

by Anonymous on Thursday May 14, @11:38PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

Mameha never exsister the book is a work of fiction written by a MAN

by Jade on Friday September 18, @03:52AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

IThe book is called memiores of a geshia (pease exuse my spelling) it a memior is dectated sto someone else by the actual person there for the translators notes are part of the story a work of fiction Arthur gloden has said so himself and any nove/book/work of fiction has to be researched it's a bit like phillippa gregory who wrote the other boylen girl writing about the tudors without knowing anything about them,

by Jade on Friday September 18, @04:01AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I know that in the beginning it states that it is real, and he interviewed her and so on. BUT THAT IS PART OF THE STORY, PART OF THE BOOK. When the story is over, it is then stated that he made it all up and it is fictional. The beginning part is just the opening to the story and therefore is also part of the story... Its like the Princess Bride book, when the author recalls his grandad reading the book to him as a kid and all the interuptions of the princess bride story to return to the him and his grandfathers conversations, were all made up as well and were a part of the story.

by sara on Wednesday December 30, @04:48PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

I know that in the beginning it states that it is real, and he interviewed her and so on. BUT THAT IS PART OF THE STORY, PART OF THE BOOK. When the story is over, it is then stated that he made it all up and it is fictional. The beginning part is just the opening to the story and therefore is also part of the story... Its like the Princess Bride book, when the author recalls his grandad reading the book to him as a kid and all the interuptions of the princess bride story to return to the him and his grandfathers conversations, were all made up as well and were a part of the story.

by sara on Wednesday December 30, @04:49PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

If you want to read a book about a real-life Geisha, Mineko Iwasaki,(the one this book was supposedly based on), it's called "Geisha, A Life," by Ms. Iwaski herself. It was printed by Washington Square Press in 2002

by Lisa on Friday February 05, @03:46PM

Re: Poster of Mameha

It says at the back of the book that the character of Sayuri and the story is fictional. But what about the translator's (Jakob Haarhuis) note at the beginning of the book? He said he interviewed Nitta Sayuri at her Waldorf Towerss suite. I'm confused. Is this character real or not?

by Ting on Monday June 28, @06:16AM

Re: Poster of Mameha

People,IT IS A FICTION! A wonderful story,but it is not real! The painting,with Mameha on it,is a work of a young artist,from 2004!

by ana bolena on Thursday July 22, @03:49AM

Re: Poster of Mameha


1. There is no such place called Yoroido
2. In the acknowledgments, Arthur Golden clearly states, "Memoirs of a Geisha is a novel and the character of Sayuri and her story are my own inventions."
3. Did you guys read the Translator's Note? It is also fiction. Arthur Golden was clever.

by Samantha on Sunday November 21, @05:25AM

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