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Memoirs of a Geisha

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Rob Marshall
Produced by Steven Spielberg
Gary Barber
Roger Birnbaum
Douglas Wick
Written by Robin Swicord
Arthur Golden (novel)
Starring Zhang Ziyi
Ken Watanabe
Gong Li
Michelle Yeoh
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Dion Beebe
Editing by Pietro Scalia
Studio Spyglass Entertainment
Amblin Entertainment
Red Wagon Productions
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) December 9, 2005 (2005-12-09)
Running time 145 minutes
Country United States
Japan
China
Language English
Japanese
Budget $85 million
Gross revenue $162,242,962

Memoirs of a Geisha is a 2005 film adaptation of the novel of the same name, produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment and Spyglass Entertainment and by Douglas Wick's Red Wagon Productions. It was directed by Rob Marshall. It was released in the United States on December 9, 2005 by Columbia Pictures and DreamWorks. It stars Zhang Ziyi, Ken Watanabe, Gong Li, Michelle Yeoh, Youki Kudoh, and Suzuka Ohgo. Ohgo plays the younger Sayuri in the movie, which was filmed in southern and northern California and in several locations in Kyoto, including the Kiyomizu temple and the Fushimi Inari shrine.

Memoirs of a Geisha tells the story of a young girl, Chiyo, who is sold into the life of a geisha and her struggle as a geisha to find love, in the process making a lot of enemies.

The film was nominated and won numerous awards, including nominations for six Academy Awards, and eventually won three: Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.

The Japanese release of the film was titled "Sayuri", based on the main character who was renamed as Sayuri in the movie.

Contents

Plot

The film, set in Japan during the Showa Era, tells the story of Chiyo Sakamoto (portrayed by Suzuka Ohgo as a child, and by Zhang Ziyi as an adult), who is sold into a life of servitude by her parents when she is nine years old. Chiyo is taken in by the proprietress of a geisha house, Mother (Kaori Momoi), where she works to pay off the debt of her purchase and the soiling of a silk kimono owned by a well-known geisha, Mameha (Michelle Yeoh), which Chiyo was blackmailed into defacing by another geisha, Hatsumomo (Gong Li).

One day while crying in the street, the young Chiyo is noticed by the Chairman (Ken Watanabe), who buys her an iced sorbet (kakigōri) and gives her his handkerchief. Inspired by his act of kindness, Chiyo resolves to become a geisha so that she may one day become a part of the Chairman’s life. Chiyo, now a young woman, is taken under the wing of Mameha, head of a rival geisha house. Under Mameha's tutelage, the girl Chiyo becomes Sayuri, the most famous geisha in all Gion, Kyoto. Hatsumomo becomes Sayuri's rival and seeks to destroy her; however, Hatsumomo ends up destroying herself instead after setting fire to the okiya.

Sayuri, through her work as a geisha, is reunited with the Chairman, whom she has secretly loved since she was a girl, although she is led to believe he has no memory of who she was before she became a geisha. Her prosperous life is cut short by the outbreak of World War II and while the safety of Sayuri and Mameha is ensured by the Chairman, they must endure a life of hard labour. After the war, Sayuri is reunited with Mameha, and they become geisha once more.

The Chairman arranges to meet Sayuri, where he finally reveals to her that he knows she is Chiyo. He tells her that he was responsible for sending Mameha to her so that she may fulfill her dreams of becoming a geisha. Sayuri finally reveals her love to the Chairman, which she has been harbouring for over fifteen years. The film ends with their loving embrace and a stroll through a beautiful Japanese garden with waterfalls and rocks.

Cast

Production

Pre-production

Producer Steven Spielberg had been scheduled to film Memoirs of a Geisha as the follow up to Saving Private Ryan. However fellow DreamWorks executive David Geffen had tried to persuade him not to take on the project as he said I don't think it's good enough for him. Whether or not he was dissuaded from the project, he went on to direct A.I. Artificial Intelligence instead.[1]

The three leading actresses (Zhang Ziyi, Gong Li, and Michelle Yeoh) were put through "geisha boot camp" before production commenced, during which they were trained in traditional geisha practices of musicianship, dance, and tea ceremony.

Production

The orange gateways at the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, used in a scene wherein a young Sayuri runs through them

Production of the film took place from September 29, 2004 to January 31, 2005. It was decided by the producers that contemporary Japan looked much too modern to film a story which took place in the 1920s and '30s and it would be more cost-effective to create sets for the film on soundstages and locations in the United States, primarily in California. The majority of the film was shot on a large set built on a ranch in Thousand Oaks, California which was a detailed recreation of an early twentieth-century geisha district in Kyoto, Japan. Most interior scenes were filmed in Culver City, California at the Sony Pictures Studios lot. Other locations in California included San Francisco, Moss Beach, Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge, Sacramento, Yamashiro's Restaurant in Hollywood, the Japanese Gardens at the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino, Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, and Downtown Los Angeles at the Belasco Theater on Hill Street. Towards the end of production, some scenes were shot in Kyoto, Japan, including the Fushimi Inari Taisha the head shrine of Inari, located in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto.

Post-production

In post-production one of the tasks of the sound editors was to improve upon the English pronunciation of the international cast. This sometimes involved piecing together different clips of dialogue from other segments of the film to form new syllables from the film's actors, some of whom spoke partially phonetic English when they performed their roles on-set. The achievement of the sound editors earned them an Academy Award nomination for Best Achievement in Sound Editing.

Reception

In the Western hemisphere, the film received mixed reviews. In China and Japan, responses were sometimes very negative due to various controversies that arose from the film's casting and its relationship to history.

Western box office and reviews

The British reviews for Memoirs of a Geisha were generally mixed. The New Statesman criticized Memoirs of a Geisha 's plot, saying that after Hatsumomo leaves, "the plot loses what little momentum it had and breaks down into one pretty visual after another" and says that the film version "abandons the original's scholarly mien to reveal the soap opera bubbling below".[2] The Journal praised Ziyi, saying that she "exudes a heartbreaking innocence and vulnerablity" but said "too much of the characters' yearning and despair is concealed behind the mask of white powder and rouge".[3] London's The Evening Standard compared Memoirs of a Geisha to Cinderella and praised Gong Li, saying that "Li may be playing the loser of the piece but she saves this film" and Gong "endows Hatsumomo with genuine mystery".[4] Eighteen days later, The Evening Standard put Memoirs of a Geisha on its Top Ten Film list.[5] Glasgow's Daily Record praised the film, saying the "geisha world is drawn with such intimate detail that it seems timeless until the war, and with it the modern world comes crashing in".[6]

In the United States, the film managed $57 million during its box office run. The film peaked at 1,654 screens,[citation needed] facing off against King Kong, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Fun with Dick and Jane. During its first week in limited release, the film screening in only eight theaters tallied up a $85,313 per theater average which made it second in highest per theater averages behind Brokeback Mountain for 2005.[citation needed] International gross reached $158 million.[7]

Overall, the American reviews were mixed. Illinois's Daily Herald said that the "[s]trong acting, meticulously created sets, beautiful visuals, and a compelling story of a celebrity who can't have the one thing she really wants make Geisha memorable".[8] The Washington Times called the film "a sumptuously faithful and evocative adaption" while adding that "[c]ontrasting dialects may remain a minor nuisance for some spectators, but the movie can presumably count on the pictorial curiosity of readers who enjoyed Mr. Golden's sense of immersion, both harrowing and esthetic, in the culture of a geisha upbringing in the years that culminated in World War II".[9]

The film scored a 35% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes[10] and 54/100 on Metacritic, meaning "mixed or average review."[11]

Casting controversy

Controversy arose during casting of the film when some of the most prominent roles, including those of the geishas Sayuri, Hatsumomo and Mameha, did not go to Japanese actresses. Zhang Ziyi (Sayuri) and Gong Li (Hatsumomo) are both Chinese, whereas Michelle Yeoh (Mameha) is an ethnic Chinese from Malaysia. More notable is the fact that all three were already prominent fixtures in Chinese cinema.

The film-makers defended the decision, however, and attributed "acting ability and star power" as their main priorities in casting the roles and director Rob Marshall noted examples such as Irish-Mexican actor Anthony Quinn being cast as a Greek man in Zorba the Greek.[12]

Opinion in the Asian community was mixed. To some Chinese, the casting was offensive because they mistook geisha for prostitutes, and because it revived memories of wartime Japanese atrocities. The Chinese government canceled the film's release there because of such connections, and a website denounced star Zhang Ziyi as an "embarrassment to China."[13] This was exacerbated by the word "Geigi" (芸妓?), a Japanese name for geisha used in the Kansai region, which includes Kyoto. The second character () can be understood by some to mean "prostitute", though it actually had a variety of meanings and there was a clear distinction between geisha and prostitutes which were called "Yūjo" (遊女?) in Japan. The character 妓 means "prostitute" in Chinese, and the correct translation into Chinese of the word "geisha" is 艺伎 (traditional Chinese: 藝伎), which does not use it. Some Japanese have expressed offense that people of their own nationality had not gotten the roles. Other Asians defended the casting, including the film's main Japanese star Ken Watanabe who said that "talent is more important than nationality."[14] Other Asian actors such as Sandra Oh have in the past also defended inter-Asian acting

In defense of the film, Zhang spoke:

A director is only interested in casting someone he believes is appropriate for a role. For instance, my character had to go from age 15 to 35; she had to be able to dance, and she had to be able to act, so he needed someone who could do all that. I also think that regardless of whether someone is Japanese or Chinese or Korean, we all would have had to learn what it is to be a geisha, because almost nobody today knows what that means--not even the Japanese actors on the film.

Geisha was not meant to be a documentary. I remember seeing in the Chinese newspaper a piece that said we had only spent six weeks to learn everything and that that was not respectful toward the culture. It's like saying that if you're playing a mugger, you have to rob a certain number of people. To my mind, what this issue is all about, though, is the intense historical problems between China and Japan. The whole subject is a land mine. Maybe one of the reasons people made such a fuss about Geisha was that they were looking for a way to vent their anger.[15]

Film critic Roger Ebert pointed out that the film was made by a Japanese-owned company, and that Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi outgross any Japanese actress even in the Japanese box office.[16]

Chinese responses

The film received some hostile responses in China, including its banning by the Chinese government. It is important to note the modern political context between China and Japan when Memoirs of a Geisha debuted in 2005. Relations between the two nations were particularly tense due to three main factors: Japan had recently revised its history textbooks, which downplayed its wartime atrocities against China; secondly, Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made a number of visits to Yasukuni Shrine, which honors all Japan's war dead, including some who were convicted war criminals, which was denounced by China’s foreign ministry as honoring them; and lastly, China helped to ensure Japan did not receive a seat on the UN Security Council.[17] Female writer Hong Ying argued that “Art should be above national politics”;[18]. Nevertheless, the release of Memoirs of a Geisha into this politically charged situation added to cultural conflict within and between China and Japan.

The film was originally scheduled to be shown in cinemas in the People's Republic of China on February 9, 2006. The Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film and Television decided to ban the film on February 1, 2006 considering the film as "too sensitive". In doing so, it overturned a November decision to approve the film for screening.[19]

The film is set in Japan during World War Two, when the Second Sino-Japanese War was taking place. During this time, Japan captured and forced Chinese women as “comfort women” for their men.[20] Controversy arose in China from an apparent confusion of equating geisha with prostitution, and thus the connection with, and reminder of, comfort women being used in Japan at that time.

Newspaper sources, such as the Shanghai-based Oriental Morning Post and the Shanghai Youth Daily, quoted the fears that the film may be banned by censors; there were concerns that the casting of Chinese actresses as geishas could rouse anti-Japan sentiment and stir up feelings over Japanese wartime actions in China, especially the use of Chinese women as forced sex workers.[21][22]

Japanese responses

On a visit to Tokyo to promote the film, Zhang Ziyi received a mysterious parcel and letter, revealed to have been sent by an elderly Japanese woman who had once worked as a geisha. In her letter, the woman stated that she had been touched by the trailer of the film and expected the movie to bring back fond memories for her and her friends. Inside the parcel were several exquisitely worked antique kimono. Zhang Ziyi was moved to tears by the gesture and sent the woman an invitation to the film's Japanese premiere. She also promised to wear one of the kimono to the event as a sign of her gratitude.[23]

Awards and nominations

Oscar

  • Won: Best Achievement in Art Direction
  • Won: Best Achievement in Cinematography
  • Won: Best Achievement in Costume Design
  • Nominated: Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
  • Nominated: Best Achievement in Sound Editing
  • Nominated: Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Golden Globe

  • Won: Best Original Score - Motion Picture (John Williams)
  • Nominated: Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama (Zhang Ziyi)

National Board of Review

  • Won: Best Supporting Actress (Gong Li)

Satellite Awards

  • Won: Outstanding Screenplay, Adapted (Robin Swicord)
  • Nominated: Outstanding Motion Picture, Drama
  • Nominated: Outstanding Director (Rob Marshall)
  • Nominated: Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama (Zhang Ziyi)
  • Nominated: Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role, Drama (Gong Li)
  • Nominated: Outstanding Art Direction & Production Design (John Myhre)
  • Nominated: Outstanding Cinematography (Robert Elswit)
  • Nominated: Outstanding Costume Design (Colleen Atwood)
  • Nominated: Outstanding Original Score (John Williams)

BAFTA Awards

  • Won: The Anthony Asquith Award for Achievement in Film Music (John Williams)
  • Won: Cinematography (Dion Beebe)
  • Won: Costume Design (Colleen Atwood)
  • Nominated: Best Actress in a Leading Role (Zhang Ziyi)
  • Nominated: Production design
  • Nominated: Make Up and Hair

Screen Actors Guild Awards

  • Nominated: Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role (Zhang Ziyi)

NAACP Image Awards

  • Nominated: Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture (Zhang Ziyi)

Soundtrack album

Memoirs of a Geisha OST
Soundtrack by John Williams
Released November 22, 2005
Genre Soundtrack
Length 61:02
Label Sony Classical

The Memoirs of a Geisha official soundtrack featured Yo Yo Ma performing the cello solos, as well as Itzhak Perlman performing the violin solos. The music was composed and conducted by John Williams.

  1. "Sayuri's Theme" – 1:31
  2. "The Journey to the Hanamachi" – 4:06
  3. "Going to School" – 2:42
  4. "Brush on Silk" – 2:31
  5. "Chiyo's Prayer" – 3:36
  6. "Becoming a Geisha" – 4:32
  7. "Finding Satsu " – 3:44
  8. "The Chairman's Waltz " – 2:39
  9. "The Rooftops of the Hanamachi " – 3:49
  10. "The Garden Meeting " – 2:44
  11. "Dr. Crab's Prize " – 2:18
  12. "Destiny's Path " – 3:20
  13. "A New Name... A New Life" – 3:33
  14. "The Fire Scene and the Coming of War" – 6:48
  15. "As the Water..." – 2:01
  16. "Confluence " – 3:42
  17. "A Dream Discarded" – 2:00
  18. "Sayuri's Theme and End Credits" – 5:06

Interviews

References

  1. ^ Interview with Spielberg, Stephen J. Dubner, Steven Spielberg Interviews, ISBN 1-57806-113-X
  2. ^ Lyttle, John. "The Eastern Affront: This Depiction of Oppression Is Decorously Polite." New Statesman 16 Jan. 2006: 47.
  3. ^ "Memoirs of a Geisha." The Journal (Newcastle, England) 13 Jan. 2006: 20.
  4. ^ "Dazzled by the Tricks of an Exotic Trade." The Evening Standard (London, England) 12 Jan. 2006: 34.
  5. ^ "Critic's Choice; Top Ten Films." The Evening Standard (London, England) 30 Jan. 2006: 40.
  6. ^ "GLAD TO BE GEISHA; Beautifully Shot and Brilliantly Acted, This Is an Oscar Favourite MEMOIRS OF A GEISH A ***** 12A." Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland) 13 Jan. 2006: 46.
  7. ^ "Memoirs of a Geisha". The Numbers: Box Office Data. http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/2005/MEMOI.php/. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 
  8. ^ Defiglio, Pam. "Memorable Epic Takes a Beautiful Look Inside a Mysterious World." Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) 16 Dec. 2005: 48.
  9. ^ "'Geisha' Rises to Exotic Best; Faithful Book Adaptation Portrays Rivalry of Women." The Washington Times 16 Dec. 2005: D08.
  10. ^ "Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. http://uk.rottentomatoes.com/m/memoirs_of_a_geisha/. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 
  11. ^ "Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/memoirsofageisha. Retrieved 2007-04-15. 
  12. ^ BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Geisha film-makers defend casting
  13. ^ USATODAY.com - China cancels release of 'Memoirs of a Geisha'
  14. ^ Watanabe defends casting in 'Geisha' - Boston.com
  15. ^ http://www.helloziyi.us/Articles/interview-magazine-july2006.htm
  16. ^ :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews :: Memoirs of a Geisha (xhtml)
  17. ^ Britannica Online Encyclopaedia/China's Relations with Its Neighbours/Year in Review 2005>
  18. ^ CHINA:'Memoirs of a Geisha' Lost in Political Din
  19. ^ China bans Memoirs of a Geisha | News | Guardian Unlimited Film
  20. ^ World History Connected/Vol.1 No.1/Yoshiko Nozaki: "I'm Here Alive": History, Testimony, and the Japanese Controversy over "Comfort Women".
  21. ^ http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060117/ennew_afp/afpentertainmentchinausjapanfilmgeisha_060117120127 - Yahoo! News
  22. ^ "Lee slates China 'ban' on actress". BBC News. 2008-03-20. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7287318.stm. 
  23. ^ http://www.star-ecentral.com/news/story.asp?file=/2005/9/18/music/12045815&sec=music

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Memoirs of a Geisha is a 2005 film about Sayuri, a Geisha working in Miyako before and after World War II.

Directed by Rob Marshall. Written by Arthur Golden and Robin Swicord.

Contents

Narrator (Sayuri as an elderly woman)

  • A story like mine should never be told. For my world is as forbidden as it is fragile; without its mysteries it cannot survive.
  • At the temple, there is a poem called "Loss", carved into the stone. It has three words...but the poet has scratched them out. You cannot read "Loss"... Only feel it.
  • The heart dies a slow death, shedding each hope like leaves... Until one day there are none. No hopes. Nothing remains.
  • It is not for Geisha to want. It is not for Geisha to feel. Geisha is an artist of the floating world. She dances. She sings. She entertains you. Whatever you want. The rest is shadows. The rest is secret.
  • My mother always said my sister Satsu was like wood; as rooted to the earth as a sakura tree. But she told me I was like water. Water can carve its way even through stone...and when trapped, water makes a new path...
  • A year without news, except news of death. Rumors of cities evaporating into clouds of smoke. And then another year, and another. Nothing. Rice...work...rice...work. Nothing.
  • I could be her. Were we so different? She loved once. She hoped once. I could be her. I might be looking into my own future. Until the real future came falling from the air... [referring to the war]
  • Now I understood the thing I´d overlooked; the point wasn´t to become a geisha but to be one. To become a geisha...well, that was hardly a purpose in life. But to be a geisha... I could see it now as a stepping-stone to something else.
  • To a man, Geisha can only be half a wife. We are the wives of nightfall. And yet to learn of kindness, after so much unkindness... To understand that a little girl with more courage than she knew, would find that her prayers were answered...can that not be called happiness? After all, these are not the memoirs of an empress, nor of a queen. These are memoirs of another kind.

Mameha

  • Remember Chiyo, geisha are not courtesans, and we're not wives. We sell our skills, not our bodies. We create another secret world, a place only of beauty. The very word "geisha" means artist, and to be a geisha is to be judged as a moving work of art.
  • You cannot call yourself a true geisha until you can stop a man in his tracks with a single look.
  • We don't become geisha to pursue our own destinies. We become geisha because we have no choice.
  • No man would ever bid so much for a thing he had already taken.

Chairman Iwamura

  • None of us find as much kindness in this life, as we should.
  • [When he first meets Chiyo by the river] Where did you come by such surprising eyes?
  • Smile for me, won't you?
  • I owe Nobu my life. So, when I saw he had a chance at happiness with you, I stood aside and... But I cannot any longer. I hope it is not too late.

President Nobu

  • Three things matter in life... sumo, business, and war. Understand one, you know them all. But why should a Geisha care? You spend your time plucking strings and dancing.
  • I do not like things held up before me that I cannot have.

Sayuri

  • Not every geisha uses that kind of currency.
  • I humbly beg to differ. What is sumo but a dance between giants? What is business but a dance between companies? I would like to know about every kind of dance.
  • I see now why you like Sumo, you can never judge a man's power by his appearance alone.
  • I want a life that is mine!
  • Can't you see? Every step I have taken, since I was that child on the bridge has been to bring myself closer to you.

Hatsumomo

  • Besides, who wants a plum when someone has already had a bite?
  • A pity, she still stinks of fish.
  • Why can't you be quiet?
  • Stay out of my room. I can't have you touching my things.
  • I can just hear my General now. "Why Hatsumomo. You used to smell of jasmine... What's this new perfume...? Blowfish?"
  • At least you don't smell as bad as your sister. You know, she was here.
  • [threateningly] What did you say, Kaorin?
  • You're just jealous somebody cares for me!
  • It's that kimono. She remembers how you destroyed it. Now, she wants to get even.
  • I shall destroy you.
  • Why Sayuri...look what I found. You've been hiding your love for a long time... The sacrifice every geisha must make!
  • [as Hatsumomo is getting her Kimono tightened] Tighter!
  • [as Mother mocks her relationship with Koichi, about to call her a common prostitute] Don't say it!

Mother

  • Doctor is very expensive. You seem to be racking up quite a debt. Kimono, destroyed. Train ticket, Mr. Bekku, rice and pickles, geisha school, all of this, on top of the money I paid Mr. Tanaka. And for what? And now I hear your sister has run away! She didn't wait for you, and now she can never come back. You must forget you ever had a sister. We are your only family now.
  • Only nine? These country girls always cost more then they're worth. Too late to send her back now.
  • [To Hatsumomo] Don't exaggerate! For years, we put up with your ungracious manner, your foul temper. Why, throwing yourself at that Koichi like a common prostitute!
  • [On the phone] Do you think I am a sucker?
  • Hurry up! [chuckling] You're not making money standing there gawking at yourself!

Auntie

  • Only reason Mother tolerates Hatsumomo is because she brings in good money. Never forget, it is Hatsumomo who pays for your supper, the clothes on your back. By the time she was twenty, she had already earned back her purchase price! Unheard of! She has been the talk of the hanamachi ever since.
  • Geisha needs an elegant wardrobe, just like an artist needs ink. If she is not properly dressed, then she is not a true geisha.
  • [Sparking flint behind Sayuri] For luck!

Dialogue

Chairman: He would never tell you himself; he is far too modest. We were fighting in Manchuria together. There was an explosion. He protected me from the worst of it. As you might imagine, I owe him quite a debt. Nobu has taught me a great deal - patience, for example. And I in turn have tried to teach him: you have to savor life while you can.
Sayuri: The lesson of the cherry blossom!
Chairman: That is why Nobu likes you. We must not expect happiness, Sayuri. It is not something we deserve. When life goes well, it is a sudden gift; it cannot last forever!

Hatsumomo: "Sayuri"... A name as sweet as she is! I'm afraid these days even a common chambermaid can call herself a geisha. So, it's nice to see such a sincere young maiko, isn't it?
General: [laughing]: Why yes!
Mameha: [to Sayuri]: Surely you would like to thank Hatsumomo for her gracious compliments?
Sayuri: There is so much I would like to say to Hatsumomo.
Hatsumomo: Sometimes, the smartest remark is silence.
Sayuri: What better advice to follow than your own?
Mameha: Sayuri...
Hatsumomo: Ah, a maiko. I was one myself, once.
Sayuri: Of course... But it's been such a very long, long...long, long...time. [Everyone laughs]

Baron: If there had been any tea in that pot, I believe Sayuri would have gotten it out! [other men laugh]
Mameha: Don't tease, Baron. It is her very first time.

Mameha: Now that your beloved Granny is gone, you have no need for a maid.
Mother: I would never question the great Mameha. But...you could choose anyone in the hanamachi!
Mameha: [laughing]: You flatter me.
Mother: I'd give you my Pumpkin, if she were not already tied to Hatsumomo.
Mameha: Please, I'd never dream of asking.
Mother: Besides, I could always sell Chiyo to Mrs. Tatsuyo...
Mameha: With your eye for beauty and nose for talent, surely you can see what a terrible waste that would be?<
Mother: If you were not the kind-hearted geisha I know you to be, then I might think you were scheming against Hatsumomo!
Mameha: Then I'm grateful that you don't have a suspicious mind, Mrs. Nitta.
Mother: Perhaps you could pique my interest with...
Mameha: Yes?
Mother: Your offer.
Mameha: [pauses]: I will cover Chiyo's schooling, and all of her expenses, until after her debut.
Mother: Now I am certain, you are teasing.
Mameha: I could not be more sincere. If Chiyo has not repaid her debt within six months after her debut...
Mother: Impossible! Too little time!
Mameha: Then I will pay you twice over.
Mother: What...? [pause] Why...no geisha could ever...!
Mameha: I am sure you will not object to one trivial condition?
Mother: Yes?
Mameha: If Chiyo erases her debt in the time allowed... you will have no part in her future earnings.

Mother: It's too good to be true. Mameha is up to something.
Auntie: She isn't in it for the money, that much is for certain. Rumor has it, ever since the prime minister bought her mizuage, she's been rich!
Mother: That so? Absurd to think she noticed Chiyo!
Hatsumomo: It's that kimono. She remembers how you destroyed it. Now, she wants to get even.
Mother: An odd picture, isn't it? Hatsumomo sweeping to teahouse after teahouse with our little Pumpkin, and Mameha with our maid!

Cast

External links

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