Memoirs of a Geisha



Chiyo is a young nine year-old girl living in the small fishing village Yoroido with her sister, Satsu, her parents and herself.  Chiyo's life is very simple until her mother becomes deathly ill.  Tending for her mother, Chiyo is told to run an errand.  While out, Chiyo accidentally falls and hurts herself.  Fortunately, a family friend, Mr. Tanaka, owner of the Japan Coastal Seafood Company see's Chiyo's accident and tends to her.  After Chiyo is aided to, Mr. Tanaka goes over to Chiyo's house to drop her off and talk to her father.  When Mr. Tanaka and Chiyo's father talk, Chiyo thinks that Mr. Tanaka wants to adopt Satsu and herself after their mother dies.  However Chiyo’s and Satsu’s parents are really selling them as geishas because they need money to pay for their mom’s funeral.

 Mr. Tanaka sends them to a geisha house where Chiyo and her sister get split up, and Chiyo is a maid to Auntie, Granny and Mother.  In Chiyo's temporary home in Gion, there is a Geisha living there named Hatsumomo, who immediately takes a disliking to Chiyo and attempts to make her life there horrible.  At the house, Chiyo meets a young girl about her age who is pending geisha training.  Chiyo then realizes that if she too works hard, she can get the same opportunity.

Since Chiyo and her sister, Satsu, were very close Chiyo starts to worry about her.  A month later, Chiyo starts attending geisha school. As being a maid, one of Chiyo's everyday tasks is to wait until Hatsumomo comes home and greet her.  One day Hatsumomo and a friend demand Chiyo to ruin a very expensive kimono that belongs to Hatsumomo’s enemy, Mameha. For obeying, Chiyo gets severely punished having to pay back everything including food, geisha school and the replacement of the kimono.

A little while later Hatsumomo tells Chiyo where her sister is.  Chiyo is desperate to see her, so she plans an escape to go the brothel where Satsu works.  During Chiyo’s plan, she gets caught.  The mother of the house then explains to Chiyo that she can no longer attend geisha school and she has to work as a maid instead.

 Months later, Chiyo receives word explaining that her mother and father have both died and that her sister returned to Yoroido.  Sad because Chiyo's geisha dreams are ruined, she went outside to sit on a curb on the street.  While sitting there a nice man, known as the 'Chairman' approaches her, comforting her with compliments and money to buy a snow cone.  Later that day, Chiyo goes to the nearby temple to pray that she can somehow become a geisha and meet nice men like the Chair Man.

A few weeks later, Granny gets electrocuted and dies.  Mameha, Hatsumomo’s enemy comes to pay her respects.  While there, Mameha notices Chiyo and makes a deal with Mother that Chiyo may return to her geisha studies with Mameha as her mentor, as long as Chiyo pays back all of her debts before she is twenty. If she does, Mameha will receive her fee, if Chiyo is incapable, Mameha will receive only a fraction of her fee.  

Mean while Hatsumomo mentors a girl named Pumpkin to become a geisha. When Pumpkin receives her honors of being an official geisha before Chiyo, Chiyo becomes very jealous.  Not long to follow, Chiyo becomes and official geisha receiving the name Sayuri.  

Later Mameha takes Sayuri to a sumo wrestling match to meet a client, Iwamura Ken and his business partner, Nobu Toshikazu. To Sayuri's surprise, Iwamura is the Chairman she met and thought about for so many years.  Mameha comes up with a plan to get Nobu and another man named Dr. Crab to bid very high to get Sayuri's virginity.  The Baron, Sayuri's danna (a person who pays a geisha to be his mistress), invites Sayuri to a party that Mameha is unable to go to.  Before the party, Mameha reminds Sayuri to protect her virginity.  A few days later, the bidding on Sayuri’s virginity begins.  At the end of the bidding Dr. Crab pays a record high price and wins.  

After the event is over, with the money paid for Sayuri's virginity, Mother adopts Sayuri which means that Sayuri’s debts are repaid.  Hearing this, Hatsumomo is furious.  

Then Sayuri gets Hatsumomo's room, because of this Hatsumomo's tries to get Sayuri in trouble. One night at a party, Mameha make's Hatsumomo so mad that she attacks someone. Hatsumomo is then removed from the party, and Mother kicks her out of the house. The last Sayuri had heard of Hatsumomo was she is working as a prostitute.  

Sayuri manages to survive the first years of World War II.  However things got worse in Gion, and finally the district has to close. Geisha immediately take action and try to contact men who can help them, because they don’t want to end up in a factory like all the stories described. Then Nobu offers Sayuri a safe home to stay in for a while.  She agrees and returns to Gion, which has just reopened.  A little later, Nobu announces he wants to become Sayuri's danna. Sayuri knows how much he hates the Minister, so she asks Pumpkin to bring Nobu to "accidentally" discover her having sexual relations with him so Sayuri can have the Chair Man be her danna.  
Mean While Sayuri waits for Nobu at the tea-house where they will perform the danna ceremony. Surprisingly, the Chairman arrives and confesses his love for her and how his friendship with Nobu prevented him from telling her earlier.  Because of Pumpkin telling Nobu what had gone on wither her and the Minister, Nobu could not forgive her, so the Chairman could now become her danna.  Near the end of her journey, Sayuri tells how happy life has become after the Chairman became her danna. She visited the United States with him and expressed her desire to live there and open a tea-house. Soon she had a son by the Chairman. A while later the Chairman died, and Sayuri has lived the rest of her life happy, for the fist time ever.