Orientalism recognizes the Orient as an antithesis to the West. If the West is advanced, clean, pretty, and sophisticated, then the Orient must be backward, dirty, ugly, and simple. In their book and movie, respectively, Golden and Marshall have planted the colonial seeds that corroborate the Orient as the antithesis of the West. Memoirs of a Geisha reinforces undesirable stereotypes of the Japanese people and culture. When the Orient is engineered by the West and devised as its antithesis, then the Eastern culture will be misrepresented. Golden and Marshall show the Japanese to be silent, stiffly polite individuals, who eat exotic food and slurp noodles. Golden and Marshall also perpetuate stereotypes about geisha as sexually submissive women who aspire to become mistresses, bathe with strange men, rest their necks on special pillows to maintain their hairstyles, play shamisen (musical instrument) made from virgin kittens, and wear facial powder made from a nightingale’s droppings. These misrepresentations reinforce the idea of Japanese culture and geisha as exotic, backward, irrational, dirty, profane, promiscuous, bizarre, and enigmatic. Since Golden’s and Marshall’s target audiences were Westerners, the cultural misrepresentation and misinformation present in Geisha might not have been noticeable to most viewers.
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