Sayuri Narration: The heart dies a slow death. Shedding each hope like leaves, until one day there are none. No hopes. Nothing remains.
Chairman: We must not expect happiness, Sayuri. It is not something we deserve. When life goes well, it is a sudden gift; it cannot last forever...
Sayuri Narration: At the temple, there is a poem called "Loss" carved into the stone. It has three words, but the poet has scratched them out. You cannot read Loss, only feel it.
Sayuri Narration: You cannot say to the sun, "More sun." Or to the rain, "Less rain." To a man, geisha can only be half a wife. We are the wives of nightfall. And yet, to learn kindness after so much unkindness, to understand that a little girl with more courage than she knew, would find her prayers were answered, can that not be called happiness? After all these are not the memoirs of an empress, nor of a queen. These are memoirs of another kind.
Sayuri Nitta: She paints her face to hide her face. Her eyes are deep water. It is not for Geisha to want. It is not for geisha to feel. Geisha is an artist of the floating world. She dances, she sings. She entertains you, whatever you want. The rest is shadows, the rest is secret.
Mameha: Water is powerful. It can wash away earth, put out fire, and even destroy iron.
Sayuri Nitta: [turns to see the Chairman standing in front of her] Chairman, where is Nobu-san?
Chairman: He won't be coming.
Sayuri Nitta: Is something wrong?
Chairman: He knows what happened. It is not in his nature to forgive.
Sayuri Nitta: Chairman, what happened on the island...
Chairman: Please, you don't have to explain.
Sayuri Nitta: But I have shamed myself so deeply, past all forgiveness.
Chairman: No! I'm the one who must be forgiven.
Sayuri Nitta: I do not understand.
Chairman: Perhaps... if you had only known the truth.
Sayuri Nitta: The truth?
Chairman: Some years ago, I was on my way to the theater. I saw a little girl weeping by the Sunagawa. I stopped to buy her a cup of sweet ice.
Sayuri Nitta: You knew I was that little girl?
Chairman: Didn't you ever wonder why Mameha took you under her wing?
Sayuri Nitta: Mameha came to me because of you?... I wish you could have told me long ago.
[turns her back to him]
Chairman: What could I do? I owe Nobu my life. And so when I saw that he had a chance at happiness with you, I stood silent, but... But I cannot any longer. I hope... it is not too late. Don't be afraid to look at me, Chiyo.
Sayuri Nitta: [turns around to face him again] Can't you see? Every step I have taken, since I was that child on the bridge, has been to bring myself closer to you.
[finally kiss and embrace, cries in his arms]
Hatsumomo: [entertaining at the teahouse] Sayuri. A name as sweet as she is. I'm afraid these days even the common chambermaid can call herself a geisha. So, it's nice to see such a sincere young maiko, isn't it?
Mameha: [to Sayuri] Surely you would like to thank Hatsumomo for her gracious compliments.
Sayuri Nitta: [serving tea] There is so much I would like to say to Hatsumomo.
Hatsumomo: [laughing] Sometimes the smartest remark is silence
Sayuri Nitta: What better advise to follow than your own.
Sayuri Narration: A story like mine should never be told. For my world is as forbidden as it is fragile. Without its mysteries it cannot survive. I certainly wasn't born to the life of a geisha. Like so much in my strange life, I was carried there by the current.
Mameha: [in voiceover] Remember, Chiyo, geisha are not courtesans. And we are not wives. We sell our skills, not our bodies. We create another secret world, a place only of beauty. The very word "geisha" means artist and to be a geisha is to be judged as a moving work of art.
Chairman: It is too pretty a day to be so unhappy. Did you fall down? Why so shy? Nothing to be ashamed of, we all stumble from time to time. Do you see that enchanting lady in green? Once when she was just a maiko, she fell clean off her wooden shoes.
Geisha in Green: [laughs] It's true, I did.
Chairman: And now look at her, so elegant...
Geisha in Green: Mr. Chairman, shouldn't we hurry? We will miss the beginning.
Chairman: We see the spring dances every year, we can spare a moment. What's your name? Don't be afraid to look at me. Do you like sweet plum or cherry?
Chiyo: You mean... to eat?
Chairman: I like sweet plum myself. Come. None of us find as much kindness in this life, as we should. My children wait for these every spring.
[hands her the ice and spoon]
Chiyo: [looks at geisha by the tree, smears some of the cherry ice on her lips] Now I'm a geisha too.
Chairman: [laughs] And so you are. How did you come by such surprising eyes?
Chiyo: My mother gave them to me.
Chairman: Generous of her, wasn't it?
Chiyo: As you have been to me.
Chairman: Smile for me, won't you?
[Chiyo smiles for him]
Chairman: There now, that is your gift to me.
[hands Chiyo his handkerchief with the change inside]
Chairman: This will buy your supper. Now promise me one thing, next time you take a tumble... no frowns.
Chairman: That's better.
[leaves with geisha]
Colonel Derricks: [stops Sayuri as she is exiting the hot spring] So, what is the protocol?
Sayuri Nitta: Excuse me?
Colonel Derricks: Suppose I wanted to see you in private.
Sayuri Nitta: I beg your pardon, colonel, but that is not a geisha's custom.
Colonel Derricks: [rubs Sayuri's shoulder] Don't be coy. I mean, if it's a matter of price, I'm sure...
Sayuri Nitta: If there were a price, you could never afford it.
Narrator (Old Sayuri): It is not for Geisha to want. It is not for a Geisha to feel. Geisha is an artist of the floating world. She dances, she sings, she entertains you... What ever you want... the rest is shadows, the rest is secret.
Sayuri Narration: [gazing at a ruined Hatsumomo in the streets] I could be her. Were we so different? She loved once. She hoped once. I could be her. I might be looking into my own future... Until the real future came falling from the air.
Sayuri Narration: [while little Chiyo is on the train to the hanamachi] My mother always said my sister, Satsu was like wood. As rooted to the earth as a sakura tree... But she told me I was like water... Water can carve its way through stone. And when trapped, water makes a new path.
The Baron: [while forcefully undressing Sayuri] Sayuri, I'm only having a look. Any man would do the same.
Nobu: [to Sayuri] Can't you see that I want you for myself? You have ruined me! Before we met I was a disciplined man.
Narrator (Old Sayuri): The winter I turned fifteen I saw the chairman again, but that wasn't the only surprise fate brought me that season. Along with the snow came a most unexpected visitor.
Mother: Why is she here? Chiyo, Chiyo, open the gate!
[motioning for her to open the door and straigtening herself before going to her table]
Mameha: Now that your beloved granny has gone you have no need for a maid.
Mother: I would never question the great Mameha, but you could choose anyone in the Hanamachi.
Mameha: You flatter me, truly.
[bowering her head in compliment]
Mother: I would give you my pumpkin if she weren't already tied to Hatsumomo.
Mameha: Please I would never dream of asking
Mother: Besides, I can always sell Chiyo to Mrs. Tetsuyo.
[smoking her cigerette]
Mameha: With your eye for beauty and nose for talent,surely you can see what a terrible waste that would be.
Mother: If you were not the kind hearted Geisha I know you to be, then I might think that you werescheming against Hatsumomo.
[looking towards the door where Chiyo and Pumpkin are listening]
Mameha: Then I'm grateful Mrs. Nita that you don't have a suspicious mind.
Mother: Perhaps you can pique my interest with... your offer.
Mameha: I will cover Chiyo's schooling, all her expenses, until after her debut.
[proposing as she slides her cup across the table]
Mother: Now I am confident that you are teasing.
[pouring more tea]
Mameha: I could not be more sincere. If Chiyo has not repaid her debt within six months after her debut.
Mother: [scoffing] Impossible, too little time!
Mameha: Then I will pay you twice over.
[uping the offer]
Mother: What...? No Geisha could ever...
[pushing the tea towards Mameha]
Mameha: And I am certain you will not object to one trivial condition.
Mother: Uh yes...?
[puts down pipe, listening intently]
Mameha: If Chiyo erases her debt in the time allowed, You will not have any part in her future earnings.
Mother: [smirks in acceptance]
Mameha: We do not become Geisha to pursue our own destinies. We become Geisha because we have no other choice.
Mameha: [to Chiyo] Your cave is untouched. Men like that. We call this "mizuage". And to become a full geisha, you must sell it to the highest bidder.
Chairman: Please, Sayuri, do not be afraid to look at me.
Nobu: There is nothing I want more, Sayuri, than to become your danna.
Sayuri Nitta: I already owe you far too much.
Nobu: I will not be refused.
Sayuri Nitta: Please.
Nobu: We are tied to each other. I know you feel it too.
Sayuri Nitta: I never meant to mislead you.
Nobu: [Grabs Sayuri] Sayuri, I do not like things held up before me that I cannot have...
The Baron: [after Sayuri discovers the teapot she is pouring from is empty] I'm sure if there was one drop left in that pot, Sayuri would have gotten it out!
[other male patrons laugh]
Hatsumomo: [slaps Sayuri roughly] I shall destroy you...
Sayuri Nitta: [anguish] I want a life that is mine!
Sayuri Nitta: I am not worthless!
Sayuri Nitta: [to Pumpkin after she led the Chairman to Sayuri and the Colonel] How could you? You don't know what you have done!
Pumpkin: [indifferent] But I do.
Sayuri Nitta: I do not understand. Why did you have to bring the Chairman?
Pumpkin: [cool envious] Because I know how you feel about him.
Sayuri Nitta: [understanding] So Hatsumomo did teach you to be cruel.
Pumpkin: [smiling, joyless] A long time ago, you took something from me... the only thing I'd ever truly wanted... Well, now you know how is feels.
Chairman: Kindness we receive in our lives is not always enough.
Chairman: None of us find as much happiness in this life as we should.
Sayuri Narration: [as Chiyo watches the Chairman leave with geisha] In that moment, I changed from a girl facing nothing but emptiness, to someone with purpose. I saw that to be a geisha could be a stepping stone to something else... a place in his world.
Sayuri Narration: If your honorable sister tells you to cut your leg, you cut your leg.
Mother: Stop crying, your face will run!
Mameha: [while teaching Sayuri] You cannot call yourself a truse geisha until you can stop a man in his tracks with a single look.
Mameha: [about the Baron losing the bidding] No man would bid so much for a thing he had already taken.
Mother: [tallying up little Chiyo's costs, after her fall] Doctor Mora is very expensive. You seem to be racking up quite a debt. Kimono, destroyed. Train ticket, Mr. Bekku, rice and pickles, geisha school, and on top of the money I paid Mr. Tanaka. And for what?... And now I hear your sister has run away. She didn't wait for you and now she can never come back. You must forget you ever had a sister.
[handing her a bundled package]
Mother: We are your only family now.
Auntie: [with Chiyo, folding kimonos] Only reason Mother tolerates Hatsumomo is because she brings in good money. Never forget, it is Hatsumomo who pays for your supper, the clothes on your back. By the time she was twenty, she had already earned back her purchase price. Unheard of! She has been the talk of the hanamachi ever since.
Auntie: Geisha needs an elegant wardrobe, just like an artists needs ink. If she is not properly dressed, than she is not a true geisha.
Mameha: You have a gift for expression.
Hatsumomo: Stay out of my room. Your fingers smell. I can't have you touching my things.
Hatsumomo: How much longer is this bidding going to take? Beside who wants a plum when someone has already had a bite?
[takes a bite out of the plum]
Auntie: You are to become geisha.
Chairman: [to Chiyo] Do you like sweet plum or cherry?
[referring to Chiyo]
Hatsumomo: A pity. She still stinks of fish.
Mother: We do not display our naked feet like monkeys.
Narrator (Old Sayuri): [during the war while young Sayuri is working for the kimono maker] A year without news, except news of death. Rumors of citites evaporating into clouds of smoke. And than another year and another... Nothing. Rice... Work... Rice... Work... Nothing.
Nobu: [to Sayuri, during the sumo match] Three things matter in life: sumo, business, and war. Understand one, you know them all. But why should a geisha care? You spend your time plucking strings and dancing.
Sayuri Nitta: [to Nobu] What is sumo but a dance between giants? What is business but a dance between companies? I would like to know about every kind of dance.
Sayuri Nitta: [to Nobu, after the match is won] I see now why you like sumo, you can never judge a man's power by his appearance alone.
Chairman: You have to savor life while you can.
Mother: [to Chiyo, dressed as a geisha] Hurry up! You're not making money standing there gawking at yourself.