Memoirs of a Geisha

Synopsis: In the 1920s, 9-year-old Chiyo gets sold to a geisha house. There, she is forced into servitude, receiving nothing in return until the house's ruling hierarchy determines if she is of high enough quality to service the clientele -- men who visit and pay for conversation, dance and song. After rigorous years of training, Chiyo becomes Sayuri, a geisha of incredible beauty and influence. Life is good for Sayuri, but World War II is about to disrupt the peace.
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director(s): Rob Marshall
Production: Sony Pictures
  Won 3 Oscars. Another 27 wins & 44 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
145 min



A story like mine

should never be told.

For my world is as forbidden

as it is fragile.

Without its mysteries,

it cannot survive.

I certainly wasn't born

to the life of a geisha.

Like so much in my strange life...

...I was carried there by the current.

The first time I knew

my mother was sick...

...was when my father threw the fish

back into the sea.

That night we went hungry.

"To understand emptiness,"

he told us.

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.

Stop here.

These are the girls from Tanaka?

Sisters, yes, from Yoroido.

This one, maybe.

The other one, no.

- No, no, Chiyo! Chiyo! Chiyo!

- Satsu! Satsu!

- Chiyo!

- Satsu!

Show your respect for Mother.

You must not speak.

I will answer for you.


And head down.

Never look her in the face.

- How old are you?

- She is Year of the Rooster.

Only 9.

Where is my sister?

Let me see those eyes.

Look at me.

Too much water.

But, Okasan, a little water

is good to guard against fire.

You won't have to worry

about the okiya burning...

...losing all your kimono.

These country girls.

Too late to send her back now.


Pumpkin. Keep her quiet.

Mother is downstairs.

Let me go!

Let me go! Let me go!

Let me go!

- Stop that.

- Let me go!

Mother will hear you.

She's got a bamboo stick.

I want my sister! Satsu!

I cried too at first.

You know, it is easier

if you just forget everything...

...that happened before

you came to the okiya.

If you impress Mother

and do exactly as she says...

...she will send you to school

to be a geisha.

A what?

A geisha. Like Hatsumomo.

You will get to drink sake

and sleep until noon.

Where is my sister?

Probably in another okiya

in the hanamachi.

Your family sold you to this house.

You live here now.

Outside, you wear these.

Inside, these.

We don't display our naked feet

like monkeys.

It's not flesh we're selling here.

This is a geisha house.

Remember to always honor

this okiya.

You listen, you learn.

Now get to work.

Be quiet. Hatsumomo is sleeping.

Pumpkin, when can I go outside?

Outside the okiya?

You can't. It's not allowed.

How will I find Satsu?

You can't just walk up to every house

in the hanamachi.

Do you know how many there are?



Chiyo. Chiyo-chan.

Come. Two nights ago, Hatsumomo

had to stay at the teahouse until dawn.

That's what she told Mother. But she

was really here with a man the whole...

Why can't you be quiet?

So this is the new arrival.

A pity she still stinks of fish.

Stay out of my room.

Your fingers smell.

I can't have you touching my things.

Only reason Mother tolerates

Hatsumomo... 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 20...

...she had already earned back

her purchase price.

Unheard of.

She has been the talk

of the hanamachi ever since.

These are all hers?

Certainly not.

They belong to the okiya.

A kimono like this,

made of Tatsumura silk... would take a lifetime to earn.

A geisha needs

an elegant wardrobe...

...just like an artist needs ink.

If she's not properly dressed,

then she is not a true geisha.

Nobody told me what a geisha is.

You will find out soon enough.

I have news for you, child.

Mother has determined

it is off to school with you.

You are to become geisha.

Chiyo! Pumpkin!

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Robin Swicord

Robin Stender Swicord (born October 23, 1952) is an American screenwriter and film director. She is known for literary adaptions.In 2008, her screenplay for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was nominated for Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay. She wrote the screenplay for the film Memoirs of a Geisha, based on the novel of the same name by Arthur Golden, for which she won a 2005 Satellite Award. Her other screenplay credits include Little Women, Practical Magic, Matilda, The Perez Family, and Shag. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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