This is the true story of the most celebrated geisha in Japan, Sadayakko.She circled the world when most Japanese had never left the country, became a famous actress when Japanese women weren’t supposed to act and became the real-life model for Puccini’s Madame Butterfly.Sadayakko (1871-1946) was the ultimate geisha, so exquisite that the prime minister of the day paid a fortune to deflower her.Bu...
File Size: 769 KB
Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Endeavour Media (August 18, 2015)
Publication Date: August 18, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
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Good biographies not only tell the story of someone's life, but of the period of time in which the person lived. This was superbly done. Sadayakko lived during The Belle Epoque, but she was born in 1871 and died in 1946. She traveled the world and ha...
lso a rebel and, in 1899, set out for the West with her actor-husband.From San Francisco to New York, Paris and Berlin, audiences thrilled to her mesmeric acting and exquisite dancing. In Washington she danced for President McKinley, in London for the Prince of Wales, in Vienna for Emperor Franz Josef and in St Petersburg for Tsar Nikolai II. Picasso painted her and Rodin wanted to sculpt her. She was a sensation. But in Japan she suffered the stigma of being an ex-geisha and an actor, both professions at the bottom of society.In the end she was forced to make a terrible choice — between respectability and love.Geisha, actress, mistress — this is the story of a life lived passionately.Praise for Madame Sadayakko:‘An extraordinary adventure story.’ Sunday Telegraph‘Downer is an agile and evocative writer who treats this sensational tale with consistent elegance.’ The Times‘Lesley Downer’s emphatic account will restore the memory outside Japan of the first Japanese woman to win fame abroad, but it will do more: by setting Sadayakko so meticulously in context, we can see the influence that her times still have in Japan today.’ Independent on Sunday‘A comprehensive, intricate portrait of a woman whose fame was shaped in equal parts by her will and her time.’ New York Times‘Downer tells a fascinating story.’ New Statesman‘A delicious book, a vivid recreation of Meiji Japan and Belle Epoque Europe.’ Toronto Star‘A perceptive biography.’ Independent‘It’s a remarkable life, full of contradictions, oddity and sadness.’ Sydney Sunday Herald‘A colourful tale … well-written and researched.’ Glasgow Sunday Herald‘Sadayakko’s long-buried story has everything going for it: politics and sex, artistic innovation, human tragedy, worldly triumph, and ultimately — that supremely Japanese virtue — heroic surrender to dreary convention … Downer’s passion for her subject, and her energy in uncovering the history of Madame Sadayakko’s private life yields a super-rich cache of material on the early encounter between Japan and the West, as well as the testament to a passionate, barrier-breaking life.’ ScotsmanLesley Downer lived in Japan for more than ten years and speaks fluent Japanese. As well as writing for newspapers such as the Sunday Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, Lesley has presented television programmes for Channel 4, the BBC and NHK. Her previous books include Geisha. The Secret History of a Vanishing World, The Brothers and On the Marrow Road to the Deep North, which was shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Travel Book of the Year award and made into a television documentary entitled Journey to a Lost Japan. She lives in London and New York.