03 June 2014

Book Review: Geisha

This book, Geisha by John Gallagher, was my 40th birthday present from my colleagues a few years ago, and they couldn’t have chosen a better present for me!

The book is big and stunningly beautiful, with hundreds of gorgeous photos. The really unique aspect of this book is that there a number of sections in the book made of layered vellum pages, showing the different layers of a geiko’s clothing and makeup. It’s really unusual, clever and creative way of illustrating the complex stages that go into their look.

It took me a long time to work my way through this book, because, unlike many non-fiction books, the text was as interesting and in-depth as the photos.

I only have one complaint about the book, which is that some of the photos did jump out at me as being of women who are not real geiko or maiko, who have just dressed like them to walk around and have their photos taken. It’s not so much that I object to them being shown in the book, but they are not labelled as being such, so it could be a bit confusing to people looking at the photos. To me they just don’t look as polished and perfect as the real thing.

But that is just a small complaint, and generally the book is wonderful, beautiful and very informative. I love looking through it at all the photos, and can’t wait to book another trip to Japan!

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