Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States
|Writing period:||20th Century|
Arthur Golden (born in 1956 in Chattanooga, Tennessee) is the writer of the bestselling novel Memoirs of a Geisha.
A member of the Ochs-Sulzberger family (owners of the New York Times), Golden was educated at the Baylor School (a private coeducational school for both day and boarding students) in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He attended Harvard College and received a degree in art history, specializing in Japanese art. In 1980, he earned an M.A. in Japanese history at Columbia University, and also learned Mandarin Chinese. After a summer at Beijing University, he worked in Tokyo. When he returned to the United States, he earned an M.A. in English at Boston University. He currently lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.
After its release in 1997, Memoirs of a Geisha spent two years on The New York Times bestseller list. It has sold more than four million copies in English and has been translated into thirty-two languages around the world.
The novel Memoirs of a Geisha was written after interviewing a number of geisha, principally Mineko Iwasaki, for background information about the world of the geisha. The work is a novel and as such is entirely a work of the imagination. Given his family history in journalism, Golden chose to create a fictional world as close to the truth as he possibly could and strove diligently to get the details right.
After the Japanese edition of Memoirs of a Geisha was published, Arthur Golden was sued for breach of contract and defamation of character by Iwasaki. The plaintiff claimed that Golden had agreed to protect her anonymity, if she told him about her life as a geisha due to the traditional code of silence about their clients. The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
In 2005, Memoirs of a Geisha was made into a feature film starring Ziyi Zhang and Ken Watanabe, and directed by Rob Marshall, garnering three Academy Awards