Study Guide

Memoirs of a Geisha Characters

Nitta Sayuri (Sakamoto Chiyo)

First things first: last name first. In Japanese culture, the family name goes before the given...

Mameha

Every geisha wants to be her, and every man wants to be with her. Fate may often be cruel to...

Hatsumomo

Hatsumomo is the head geisha in charge of the Nitta okiya, and she makes sure everyone knows it....

Chairman Iwamura Ken

Oh, the Chairman! He's the object of Sayuri's love, a man who is nice to her as a...

Toshikazu Nobu

Nobu can mean "trust," "prolong or stretch," or one of the most famous Japanese restaurants in...

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is Sayuri's childhood friend, and by "friend" we mean "person who doesn't treat her like...

Mother, Auntie, and Granny

Mother, Auntie, and Granny remind us of the three fates. Not only do geisha end up in the okiya...

Sakamoto Satsu

If the fate of the two Sakamoto sisters is like a coin, Satsu and Chiyo are on opposite...

Dr. Crab

A man bidding tons of cash for a teenage girl's virginity is creepy enough, but in case you think...

Baron Matsunaga Tsuneyoshi

It seems like anyone who would pay to be a geisha's mate is a jerk. Dr. Crab. Nobu. The Chairman....

Mr. Tanaka Ichiro

If it weren't for Mr. Tanaka, the fish salesman, Chiyo would never have become a geisha. He is...

Chiyo's Parents

Sayuri tells us that, as Chiyo, "Inside this tipsy house I lived something of a lopsided life"...

Other Players

There are a few other players in Sayuri's life we should mention. Arashino is a kimono maker who...