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Geisha in Rivalry by Kafu Nagai
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Geisha in Rivalry

by Kafu Nagai

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Geisha, we've often been told, are not prostitutes, but some of Kafu's characters engage in prostitute-like behavior considered shocking enough that the unexpurgated novel was not published until 1947, 30 years after it was written.
added by dcozy | editThe Japan Times, David Cozy (Jan 8, 2012)
 

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kafu Nagaiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Snyder, StephenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It was intermission, and the halls of the Imperial Theater were crowded with people who had left their seats to stretch their legs.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Geisha in Rivalry, first published in 1918, is set against the backdrop of Tokyo's Shimbashi geisha district. The story of three geisha, imperious Rikiji, gaudy Kikuchiyo, and the nalve heroine Komayo, Geisha in Rivalry follows them in their search for a place in a world that offers no easy route of escape from their profession. With a full cast of vivid characters playing out their dramas of illicit love, shady intrigue and unrelenting rivalry, Geisha in Rivalry is the sordid but fascinating tale of Komayo, her lovers, and the women who conspire to steal them from her.
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"Komayo is a former geisha who, upon the death of her husband, must return to the "world of flower and willow" to escape poverty. A chance encounter with an old patron, Yoshioka, leads to a relationship in which both lovers hope to profit: Yoshioka believes Komayo can restore his lost innocence; Komayo plans to use Yoshioka's patronage to compete in the elaborate music and dance performances staged by her fellow geisha." "Yoshioka is eager to ransom Komayo, but as she considers his offer, Komayo falls in love with Segawa, a young actor who promises to turn the talented geisha into the finest dancer in the Shimbashi quarter. Though her feelings for Segawa are genuine, Komayo is eager to use her lover's position to become the lead performer among her peers. Her ambition even temps her to take on a third patron known only as the "Sea Monster," a repellent but wealthy antiques dealer whose deep pockets promise to shoot Komayo to the height of geisha celebrity." "Though she finds herself at the pinnacle of a glittering career, Komayo becomes the target of a bitter rivalry between her three lovers that leaves her thrilled and exhausted, brutalized and redeemed. Nagai Kafu's tale takes readers from the intimate corners of the geisha house to the back rooms of assignation, from the dressing areas of the great kabuki theaters to the lonely country villa of a theater critic and connoisseur of Shimbashi women. His lush depictions of architecture and costumes and his incisive descriptions of urban life and individual motive provide a vivid backdrop for Komayo's struggle to find fame, affection, and financial security in the refined but ruthless theater of Shimbashi."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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