Japanese woman Mineko Iwasaki is known not only in her native country, but also far beyond its borders. Popularity came to her thanks to her activities: at the age of 21, Mineko became a professional geisha. She worked almost seven days a week for eight years, as long as her health allowed: she participated in state-level celebrations, entertained presidents, princes and kings and made millions.
Little Masako was born into the family of a ruined aristocrat Shinzo Tanaka from the Minamoto clan in 1949. Her family was in distress, so the girl and her sisters were sent to live in okiya - a place where they teach the ancient craft of future geishas. The hostess fell in love with Masako so much that she invited her parents to adopt her. They understood that this was a chance for the girl to get a start in life, so they agreed. It was then that Masako received a new name and surname - Mineko Iwasaki.
When the girl was six years old, she was taught traditional Japanese dances, playing musical instruments, calligraphy, the rules of etiquette and the intricacies of the tea ceremony. By the age of 15, Mineko had become a "maiko", that is, reached one of the stages of training as a professional geisha. Even then, Iwasaki began attending meetings with clients, accompanied by a senior mentor. The fame of the capable Mineko, who also has great charisma, spread first in Kyoto, and when she became a geisha at the age of 21, already throughout Japan. She happened to receive US President Gerald Ford, director Elia Kazan, famous actors, members of the British royal family.
In the early 90s, Mineko told the American writer Arthur Golden about herself and her profession. He was fond of the history and customs of the Land of the Rising Sun, he was interested in geisha girls and the peculiarities of their profession. Golden acted dishonestly, firstly, he changed everything in his own way and portrayed the geisha as sex workers, and secondly, he violated the terms of anonymity by publishing Mineko's name in the "Acknowledgments" section.
Iwasaki was in despair, but did not give up, deciding to sue Golden. She won the case and received a decent amount from the author for causing moral damage, and after a while Mineko wrote the book "Real Memoirs of a Geisha", in which she told her real story.
By the way, Iwasaki even went on tour to personally represent the book in different countries. So, in St. Petersburg, Iwasaki said that she did not sell her body, as Golden claimed in his novel! She sold art, which was obliged to her by the profession of a geisha: the art of femininity, Japanese dance, conversation, cooking and many other subtleties that she learned from childhood.
For eight years, Mineko hardly rested, but she earned a lot of money. However, at the age of 29, the girl realized that she no longer wanted to sacrifice her health and personal life, so she decided to quit the profession of a geisha.
Mineko's personal life did not really work out during her work, even though she had a huge number of suitors. For a long time, she was in a secret relationship with the popular Japanese actor Shintaro Katsu, who was almost twice her age and also married. They separated due to the fact that Shintaro did not dare to leave the family and make their relationship with Mineko official.
When the girl left her profession, she met the artist and restorer Jinichiro Sato. In 1982, the couple got married, and a year later they had a daughter, Kosuke.
Today they live in the suburbs of Kyoto and shy away from unnecessary attention. Previously, Mineko owned beauty salons, but now she is engaged in art with her husband: he paints and restores canvases.