Effect of Memoirs of a Geisha
The movie Memoirs of a Geisha, based on the Arthur Golden's bestselling novel of the same name, is coming out this week. I have heard that here were some concerns within Japan about how the movie portrays geishas.
Many people have thought that geishas were just high class prostitutes (and some of what was done in the past, like mizuage, or wealthy patrons bidding for the right to deflower a young geisha, could be consider prostitution).
That may have been how it was in the past, but current geishas are supposed to be just performers, so there has been some concern that this movie will negatively portray current geishas.
Now a new challenge has come out, and this one from China. Seems that some in China think the main actresses (who are Chinese, not Japanese) are selling out their people. They are accused of evoking humiliating memories of Japan's wartime atrocities in China by portraying a Japanese geisha.
See this Mainichi Daily article for info.
I guess this is a reflection of how strained relations are between China and Japan right now.