The Making of a Geisha

It took seven years and a lot of crying, but the best-selling book is now a movie. TIME got a first look

The girl from a fishing village must learn to be a lady. A special sort of lady: a geisha, one of the "wives of nightfall" who for centuries have entertained Japanese gentlemen with delicacy, wit and performance skills. At 15, Chiyo has these graces only in embryo; but a famous geisha, Mameha, sees how they might flower. She begins the girl's education sternly. "That is a perfect bow. For a pig farmer." "Rise. Not like a horse." And slowly the eager student with the "watery" gray eyes grows into a captivating woman known as Nitta Sayuri. Hatsumomo, another geisha, sees Sayuri's...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!