She holds a Ph.D. in Japanese literature, with research interests covering the literature, art, and culture of medieval and early modern Japan. Teaching at Rikkyo, she happened to meet Madame Minako, and decided to film her. The Last Geisha Madame Minako is her first documentary and has screened all over Japan.
Total running time: Approx. 59 minutes. / color
Being the last geisha in Yoshiwara, the only licensed pleasure quarter in megalopolis Edo, which became present-day Tokyo, means she stood at the end of a 400-year-old lineage of women entertainers. From childhood she trained daily in the traditional arts of music and dance, and though she had to sacrifice the kind of domestic bliss most Japanese girls longed for, she built an incredibly full, fiercely independent career before, during and after WWII, "all for the best." The Madame is sharp—sharper than most of the men she performs in front of—and we're lucky to have her and the age she outlived together on film. by Robert Campbell, Professor of Japanese Literature, University of Tokyo