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 with his wife, Trudy Legee (Married
since 1982), 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
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.