Even if you didn't know exactly who she was and what she had been, you would realise immediately that Mineko Iwasaki is an unusual Japanese woman. Fashions among ladies of her age tend towards the frumpy, but Mrs Iwasaki's clothes - a black trouser suit and red sweater - are expensively simple. She moves with the upright confidence of a trained dancer; when she talks, she looks you in the eye and holds your gaze. At first meeting, you might take her for a successful fashion executive, magazine editor or designer. She lives on the edge of Kyoto, with her artist husband, in a high, elegant house of broad windows and tastefully distressed concrete.
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Many people in the West think of geisha simply as prostitutes. After reading Memoirs of a Geisha , do you see the geisha of Gion as prostitutes? What are the similarities, and what are the differences? What is the difference between being a prostitute and being a "kept woman," as Sayuri puts it [p. Tanaka Ichiro," says Sayuri, "really was the best and the worst of my life" [p.