8 Best Books Like Memoirs Of A Geisha Update 05/2022

Books Like Memoirs Of A Geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha is a great book for anyone who wants to learn more about Japan’s history through the eyes of a geisha. If that’s the case, then check out the books on this list.

Chiyo Sakamoto, a nine-year-old sold into Kyoto’s entertainment area during World War II, is our main character. On her way to becoming one of Japan’s most prestigious geishas, the protagonist’s story is told.

It is only after Chiyo has proven herself to be truly deserving of the geisha profession that she is allowed to begin her formal training as a geisha under the new name of “Sayuri.” In order to attract the attention of wealthy men, Sayuri must compete with other young women for their attention, since her virginity is literally up for auction.

Some of the most significant, cultural and horrible historical events in the globe have been depicted in these books by Arthur Golden, whose first novel depicts the tumultuous facts beneath Japan’s cultural history.

Books like Memoirs of a Geisha

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon


The Outlander saga by Diana Gabaldon covers decades of history, from 1743 to the 1960s (and counting), and offers readers a magical retelling of events that took place in the past.

In 1945, Claire Randall, a nurse returning from World War II, is on her second honeymoon in Scotland. She stumbles upon an ancient circle of standing stones while out for a jog and is inexplicably whisked back to 1743 Scotland, a time of clan wars and lairds battling for power.

Her heart is broken when she meets James Fraser, a strong young Scotsman, and she is divided between him and another man and two lives. Claire must decide whether to remain a Sassenach (an outlander) or return to her own time in order to avoid changing the path of history.

In Memoirs of a Geisha, Chiyo’s problem between love, responsibility, and desire was well portrayed. If you like Claire in Outlander, you’ll enjoy Claire’s story and her struggles as well.

You’ve seen and enjoyed this series before, right? Check out our selection of books that are similar to Outlander.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, by John Boyne

It’s a heartbreaking work like Memoirs of a Geisha that describes Holocaust atrocities in concentration camps through the eyes of a kid, allowing us to see both sides of a fence. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

Bruno, the lone child of a German officer, is sent to Aushwitz, or ‘Out-With,’ as he refers to the concentration camp where his family is being held. Shmuel, a boy who lives on the other side of the camp from Bruno and wears the same striped pyjamas as everyone else, is Bruno’s new best buddy.

Their friendship deepens over the course of the story, and Bruno promises to help Shmuel reconcile with his family. As Shmuel had hoped, Bruno makes his way over to Shmuel’s side of the fence, but his good intentions to help his comrade end in tragedy.

Although the story is told from a child’s point of view, the tragedy that unfolds in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is heartbreaking to read.

The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and received a bevy of other honors. To a large extent, Whitehead has reconstructed the history of slavery in America prior to the American Civil War in this work.

We meet Cora for the first time as she is working on a cotton plantation in Georgia, and we follow her journey in search of freedom and safety.

First, she turns to the Underground Railroad, where she and her buddy Caesar escape the plantation together, and then to numerous other states where she avoids every misery imaginable, including the relentless slavery avenging Ridgeway.

Cora’s adventure is similar to that of Gulliver’s Travels, except that the terrors and disappointments that Cora encounters were a plight that many faced and that some are still experiencing now.

Fans and readers of works such as Memoirs of a Geisha will enjoy The Underground Railroad, a haunting and profound look into our shared history.

The Constant Princess, by Philippa Gregory

The Constant Princess, by Philippa Gregory

Historical fiction fans will find Philippa Gregory’s novels to be an excellent complement to works like Memoirs of a Geisha, which has earned her the title of “queen of historical fiction.”

I chose her 2005 novel The Constant Princess because of the parallels between Catherine of Aragon and Chiyo Sakamoto, who, like Chiyo, is divided between love and duty before assuming her rightful place as Queen of England.

Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain had planned for their daughter to marry Prince Arthur of England, but tragedy strikes when Arthur dies suddenly at the age of fifteen, changing their plans.

Although Arthur’s brother Henry had promised her he would marry her, Catherine endured years of betrayal, hardship and battle before finally proving she had never consummated her marriage with Arthur and become Queen of England.

The Constant Princess is a must-read if you enjoy stories about strong female protagonists who defy the obstacles.

The Constant Gardener, by John le Carré

In our upcoming novel, we’ll have everything from Constant Princesses to Constant Gardeners. The Constant Gardener, by the late great John le Carré, is one of the few books on this list that is based on real events.

After learning of his wife’s death in Africa, British diplomat Justin Quayle sets out to find out what really happened, and he discovers a truth far more horrifying than the tragedy itself. When Quayle’s wife uncovered the fact that a pharmaceutical company was testing new pharmaceuticals on Africans without their permission or knowledge, she was outraged.

When Quayle pursues the trail of corruption, he realizes how far people will go to hide their misdeeds, which is uncomfortably near to home.

Fans of Memoirs of a Geisha’s first-person perspective and memoir-like story will love The Constant Gardener, even though it is not historically significant in the same way as many of the other works on this list.

Geisha, a Life, by Mineko Iwasaki

Despite the fact that Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha is a work of fiction, he conducted research on the real-life Mineko Iwasaki and is reported to have drawn inspiration from things she told him privately. Only one biography, Geisha, a Life, has made it onto this list.

It’s reported that Mineko Iwasaki, a geisha who has been in the business for 25 years, is one of the most successful geishas of her generation.

Iwasaki began her career as a geisha at the tender age of five, and by the time she was 29, she had captivated and entertained kings, princes, wealthy and well-to-do businesspeople, until she decided to retire and marry.

If you enjoy works like Memoirs of a Geisha because of a love for Japan, then Geisha, a Life is a must-read.

The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd

The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd

Sue Monk Kidd’s award-winning novel The Secret Life of Bees is the next book we’ll be reading that explores our familial ties and the strength and power of female communities.

Lily Owens’s life is characterized by the untimely and mysterious death of her mother in this coming-of-age story. Rosaleen, the household’s black maid, serves as a mother figure for Lily, who is now living with her abusive father.

When Lily and Rosaleen are fed up with their father’s violent outbursts and the racist and closed-minded townfolk, they make an escape for a town named Tibourn, where they are taken in by three black beekeeper sisters who hold the answer to her mother’s past and her demise.

The Secret Life of Bees, which takes place in 1964 in South Carolina, examines religion and the prejudices and unfair treatment that led to the Civil Rights Movement.

No, I haven’t read it yet. See our list of additional books like The Secret Life of Bees!

The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant

On this list of books like Memoirs of a Geisha we have covered the Holocaust, medieval Britain and racism as well as other wars and Scottish clans and now we handle religion in The Red Tent which expands on Dinah’s story in more ways than one.

The Prince of Shechem, whom Dinah loves and is eager to marry, is assassinated by two of her brothers in a homicidal rampage. Pregnant Dinah flees her family, finding consolation in Egypt, in the midst of her grief.

Most of the chapters in the Book of Genesis are devoted to her father Jacob and his numerous sons, leaving little room in the narrative for Dinah. As told from her point of view, we acquire an understanding of how biblical women were treated; the rituals, the turbulence, and the title tent denote the refuge where women had to remain during their menstrual or childbirth periods.

It’s like Anita Diamant’s The Secret Life of Bees in that it’s a meditation on womanhood, our interconnections and life in general, but with a focus on the bible’s women.

No, I haven’t read it yet. We’ve compiled an extensive list of novels that are similar to The Red Tent.

The incidents depicted in the novels listed above can be disturbing at times, and you may ask why we continue to commemorate such horrific acts from our collective past.

Reading historical works like Memoirs of a Geisha help us reflect, mourn, and strive to do better in the future so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes again.

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