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Memoirs of the Orient

Anne Allison
The Journal of Japanese Studies
Vol. 27, No. 2 (Summer, 2001), pp. 381-398
DOI: 10.2307/3591971
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3591971
Page Count: 18
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Memoirs of the Orient
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Abstract

Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha-the fictionalized memoirs of a geisha set in the Gion district of Kyoto between the 1930s and 1950s-became a bestseller in the United States immediately following publication in 1997. This essay examines two issues: what accounts for the mass popularity of Memoirs in the United States, and is either the text or the interest (in Japan/geisha) it spurs orientalist? Commonly enjoyed by fans as a "trip to an exotic land" that is also "authentic" in its (re)presentation of Japan, the book is widely read as a fantasy, the essay argues, that engages readers in a world that is enticingly other.

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