Deeply moving. The characters are tastefully & intricately portrayed such that the viewer can easily be enchanted by the pain, melancholy, hopelessness, bitterness, resolution & determination of the characters which transcend beyond film to the culture & actual history upon which the film is based & inspired.
An extremely moving moment for me was Sayuri in the Baron's home; the Baron luring her there with the pretext of bestowing a lovely kimono to her, & undressing her against her will for a look at the beauty beneath her kimono. He was resolute to undress her, she was resolute to protect herself, & in such warring moments, even a seemingly harmless act of satisfying the lust of the eye for the Baron sliced through the innocence of a girl; leaving her exposed, cold & dishonored.
The gritting image of Sayuri is deeply imprinted in my mind. An act against the will introduces vulnerability.
Oh, one more thing... 15,000 yen to expose the dignity of a girl, just for a night. Sad.
Now, here's an excerpt from Wikipedia on a controversial issue from the book by Arthur Golden - Memoirs Of A Geisha:
After the novel was published, Arthur Golden was sued by the geisha Mineko Iwasakiwith whom he worked, for defamation and breach of contract. According to the plaintiff, the agreement was supposed to be total anonymity for the main character of his story. This was because there is a code of silence among the geisha community and breaking that code is a serious offense. Additionally, Iwasaki claims that Golden's fictional novel portrayed geisha as high class prostitutes. For example, in the novel Sayuri's virginity is auctioned off to the highest bidder, a concept that particularly offended Iwasaki. She stated that not only did this never happen to her, but that no such custom existed at all in Gion. By basing his character, Sayuri, on Iwasaki and implying that she herself was a prostitute, Iwasaki claims that Golden broke his agreement and caused great dishonor and shame to herself and the geisha world. After Iwasaki's name was printed in the book, she received numerous death threats and requests of censure for dishonoring her profession. In 2003, Iwasaki and Golden settled out of court for an undisclosed sum of money.