• Shona McCarthy


(Lady Maiko, 2014, Masayuki Suo, TOHO.)

I'm very excited to tell that this year a part of the Japan Film Festival's online line up is a beautiful film called Lady Maiko (2014). One of the frustrations that many fans of geisha expressed about Memoirs of a Geisha (2005) was how inaccurate the depictions were. That was even setting aside the complaints made about the book the film was based on, where author Arthur Golden seemed to claim famed geisha matriarch, Mineko Iwasaki, as a source, even as he twisted the truth to tell his own narrative. So, since then, other geisha-based films have been created by Japan to better educate people on the truth of Geisha culture. One of these was Maiko Haaaan!!! (2007) which I reviewed earlier this year and highly recommend. But another of these, which has even toured Australia along side true geisha for educational purposes, is Lady Maiko (2014).

JFF 2020 is my first opportunity to see Lady Maiko (2014), so I want to make the most of the experience and have some green tea and Japanese food to eat as I watch it. I've been missing Kyoto so much. Being able to see it again in film form really means something to me. Here is the trailer released by JFF so you can get a feel for what the movie will be like to watch:

The approach to the subject of Geisha and their lives seems to be far from documentarian, but rather fun and joking. The story follows a country girl protagonist as she attempts to become a maiko geisha in Kyoto. So, we get to see accuracy in the setting and costumes, and the approach seems to be more direct and down to earth than that of Maiko Haaaan!!! (2007). Some may dislike it, but I'm glad that both films avoid the staid seriousness of Memoirs of a Geisha (2005) and instead try to make learning about geisha and their lives fun and vibrant, as maiko geisha themselves are usually known to be. The film will soon show next Saturday after this post. You can watch it via this link if you sign up and book for FREE. Yes! Free!!! I recommend visiting the website soon so you can learn exactly when the film will show in your region, since while the Japanese Film Festival is an international event, each country has different times and dates. Highly recommended.

(Lady Maiko, 2014, Masayuki Suo, TOHO.)

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