Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Madame Sadayakko

I recently finished reading Lesley Downer's Madame Sadayakko: The Geisha Who Bewitched the West. The book tells the true story of a geisha named Yakko (1871-1946) who gave up her promising career to become an actress and brought the craze for all things Japanese to the West.
最近Lesley Downer著”マダム・サダヤッコ:西洋を魅了した芸者”を読み終わりました。

Born into a good family that had fallen upon bad times, Yakko was adopted into a geisha house as a child and quickly rose up to become Japan's most popular geisha by her mid-teens. Yakko married actor Otojiro and ended her career as a geisha. Together with their acting troupe, Yakko and Otojiro began a rocky journey to revolutionize Japanese theater. Plagued by poverty, illness, racism, and classicism, the group traveled America and Europe and broke through to wide acclaim. Yakko became a muse to artists, musicians, and actors and made proper Victorian women ditch their lace gowns for western "kimonos." At home, however, success was far more fleeting.
Though the book often reads like a textbook, this is the only comprehensive biography of Yakko and includes several pages of rare photos. It is an excellent resource.

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