Memoirs of a Geisha

Mother/Ms. Nitta Character Analysis

Greedy and completely self-serving, Mother runs the okiya where Sayuri, Hatsumomo, and Pumpkin live. She only cares about the people in the okiya as much as they can help her make money. Mother tries to hide her physical unattractiveness with heavily applied makeup and a colorful silken kimono. Mother adopts Sayuri after Dr. Crab pays a record amount of money to take Sayuri’s virginity.

Mother/Ms. Nitta Quotes in Memoirs of a Geisha

The Memoirs of a Geisha quotes below are all either spoken by Mother/Ms. Nitta or refer to Mother/Ms. Nitta. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Memoirs of a Geisha published in 1999.
Chapter 3 Quotes

I found myself wondering if my sister was standing before some other cruel woman, in another house somewhere in this horrible city. And I had a sudden image in my mind of my poor, sick mother propping herself on one elbow upon her futon and looking around to see where we had gone. I didn't want Mother to see me crying, but the tears pooled in my eyes before I could think of how to stop them.

Related Characters: Sayuri Nitta / Chiyo Sakamoto (speaker), Mother/Ms. Nitta, Satsu Sakamoto, Mrs. Sakamoto
Related Symbols: Sayuri’s Eyes
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Chapter 7 Quotes

Auntie took Hatsumomo by the arms and held her from behind, while Mother began to pull open the seams of Hatsumomo's kimono at the thigh. I thought Hatsumomo would resist, but she didn't. She looked at me with cold eyes as Mother gathered up the koshimaki and pushed her knees apart. Then Mother reached up between her legs, and when her hand came out again her fingertips were wet. She rubbed her thumb and fingers together for a time, and then smelled them. After this she drew back her hand and slapped Hatsumomo across the face, leaving a streak of moisture.

Related Characters: Sayuri Nitta / Chiyo Sakamoto (speaker), Hatsumomo, Mother/Ms. Nitta, Auntie
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proid

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Mother/Ms. Nitta Character Timeline in Memoirs of a Geisha

The timeline below shows where the character Mother/Ms. Nitta appears in Memoirs of a Geisha. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Sayuri says that she inherited her mother’s translucent blue-grey eyes. Fortunetellers had told her mother that their blue eyes, a rarity among... (full context)
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...herself as Chiyo, her name at the time) remembers that when she was seven, her mother came down with a terrible illness. Over the course of the next two years, her... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
...has anything else to tell her, hoping that he would say something comforting about her mother’s condition. But her father says nothing, and slowly raises a single finger, a sign that... (full context)
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
To escape her worries about her mother, Chiyo runs as fast as she can down a path to the village. Slipping on... (full context)
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
...her house. On the way she feels a mix of emotions. She worries about her mother’s health, but also feels a pleasant sensation when she thinks of Mr. Tanaka. Chiyo clutches... (full context)
Chapter 2
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
...give them to her older sister so that she can make a tea for their mother. Chiyo responds that since Satsu isn’t very good at making tea, Chiyo will make the... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
...Tanaka, Chiyo begins to find comfort in fantasizing that he will adopt her. Whenever her mother groans in pain that week following the encounter, Chiyo wishes she could escape the house... (full context)
Chapter 3
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...his head heavily to the door and nods. Before the girls leave, Chiyo hears her mother cry out in pain from the back room. (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...she can be a geisha too. Auntie then says that two women, whom she calls Mother and Granny, will soon come down the stairs to look at Chiyo. She instructs Chiyo... (full context)
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...to leave Yoroido – Chiyo keeps her eyes downcast and bows low in front of Mother and Granny. Mother asks her to come closer so that she can get a better... (full context)
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Mother approvingly says that Chiyo’s beautiful blue-grey eyes mean that she has a lot of water... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...than her family and home. Chiyo copes with her misery by acting obedient, hoping that Mother will send her to geisha school – where she hopes to find Satsu training to... (full context)
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
...Chiyo stumbles out of the room and falls to the ground. Seeing Hatsumomo slap Chiyo, Mother calls Chiyo into her room. Mother scolds Chiyo, saying that she must work harder to... (full context)
Chapter 6
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...from Granny’s room. The light reminds Chiyo of how the light would stream through her mother’s window. With a pang of sadness, Chiyo wonders if her mother is still alive. (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
...themselves in a room. All the maids know what they’re doing, but no one tells Mother or Granny, for fear that Hatsumomo will take revenge on all the maids. Though geisha... (full context)
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
The next day, after Chiyo returns to the okiya from school, Mother and Granny tell Hatsumomo and Chiyo that they had a visit from Mameha. Before Mother... (full context)
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Growing Up Theme Icon
Auntie explains that Granny adopted Mother and Auntie with the hopes that they would become geisha. Mother was good-looking as a... (full context)
Chapter 7
Growing Up Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
...They hug, and Satsu strokes her hair in a way that reminds Chiyo of their mother. As Chiyo begins to cry, Satsu says she can’t live in this place any longer.... (full context)
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
...again. After stuffing the money into Chiyo’s kimono, Hatsumomo looks down at Chiyo with a motherly gaze. But before Chiyo can react, Hatsumomo viciously grabs Chiyo’s hair and shouts at her,... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Waking up all the maids, Hatsumomo bangs on Mother’s door until she comes out. Hatsumomo says she saw Chiyo selling Hatsumomo’s emerald brooch to... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
Mother then turns to Hatsumomo and accuses her of having her boyfriend over. When Hatsumomo denies... (full context)
Chapter 8
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
To stop Chiyo from leaving again, Mother has the maids lock the front door gates every night. With the doors locked, Chiyo... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...morning a doctor comes and sets Chiyo’s broken arm. In terrible pain, Chiyo goes to Mother’s room. Mother says that she won’t invest any more money in a girl who might... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...isn’t even there. All that winter, she wonders what happened to Satsu and if her mother and father are still alive. During this time, Chiyo’s only comfort comes from imagining herself... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...us all.” Mr. Tanaka then writes that six weeks after Chiyo left for Kyoto, her mother died, followed soon after by her father. Mr. Tanaka writes that he knows Chiyo will... (full context)
Chapter 10
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
...of an okiya usually adopts her best geisha as a daughter. Mameha says Ms. Nitta (Mother’s real last name) would never adopt Hatsumomo, because then Hatsumomo would have complete freedom to... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...to find out what day would be most fortuitous for bringing up the subject with Mother. An almanac is a book of complicated charts that people use to read their fortunes.... (full context)
Chapter 11
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
...few weeks after Chiyo’s encounter with Mameha, Mameha arrives at the okiya to speak with Mother. Chiyo cleans outside the reception room where Mother entertains guests so that Chiyo can overhear... (full context)
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Shocked that Mameha shows interest in one of her maids, Mother asks why she would want to take on Chiyo as her apprentice. Mameha says that... (full context)
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Persuaded by Mameha’s confidence in Chiyo’s ability to bring in money, Mother suggests a deal. She says that the okiya will pay Mameha only half of what... (full context)
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
...to do an errand. When Chiyo comes back, Mameha is already gone. Chiyo goes to Mother’s room, where Mother asks her why Mameha would want to be her older sister. At... (full context)
Chapter 13
Growing Up Theme Icon
In the spring of 1934, after Chiyo has been training for two years, Mother decides that it’s time for Pumpkin to make her debut as an apprentice geisha. Dressed... (full context)
Chapter 20
Growing Up Theme Icon
...as an older sister. Pumpkin says that at least some good has come from it: Mother has decided to adopt Pumpkin. Sayuri feels sick at these words, because she was hoping... (full context)
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Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
...perhaps they can still start a bidding war. If the price gets high enough, then Mother might consider adopting Sayuri instead. They go to a confectionary shop where they buy two... (full context)
Chapter 23
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
...begun on her mizuage. Back at the okiya three days later, Auntie tells Sayuri that Mother wants to see her. As Sayuri goes to Mother’s room, she sees Pumpkin coming out... (full context)
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Growing Up Theme Icon
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Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
Mother suddenly pulls hard on Sayuri’s earlobe and says that now Sayuri is a very expensive... (full context)
Chapter 24
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
...Mameha’s apartment, Sayuri tells Mameha what happened at the okiya. Mameha says that she knew Mother would adopt Sayuri, because yesterday the bidding ended with Dr. Crab agreeing to pay 11,500... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
Mother formally adopts Sayuri the following week. As Mother’s daughter, Sayuri takes on the last name... (full context)
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Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
Before Sayuri’s mizuage, Mother didn’t care that Hatsumomo was causing Sayuri trouble in Gion, since Hatsumomo was the only... (full context)
Chapter 25
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Three weeks after Sayuri turns the collar, Mother tells her that at this time next month Nobu will become her danna. Since making... (full context)
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Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
The next day, Sayuri goes to Mameha’s to tell her what Mother said. Mameha says she should be proud to have a man as successful as Nobu... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...the time has finally come for her to collect her winnings from her agreement with Mother. Mameha says she’s already waited long enough to collect them. Several days later, Mother, Mameha,... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
After the accounts are settled, Mameha asks Mother about how the search for a danna is going. Mother says that she is in... (full context)
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Mameha tells Mother that with the war in Manchuria, it could be helpful to have a military man... (full context)
Chapter 26
Sex and Love Theme Icon
...danna, Nobu ceased inviting her to parties. Sayuri assumes that Nobu must feel betrayed that Mother picked the General over him. Sayuri feels that she played a part in wronging a... (full context)
Chapter 27
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
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During the summer of 1938, Mother tells Sayuri that in the last six months she has earned more than either Pumpkin... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
...a diary of her experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Hatsumomo threatens to give the journal to Mother, but as she leaves the room with it, she steps on a piece of broken... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...is preoccupied with her foot. Sayuri hides the journal and then goes straight to see Mother in Mother’s room. Sayuri puts the emerald on her table and says that this is... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...journal, and Hatsumomo goes to Sayuri’s room, frantically searching for the journal to no avail. Mother and Sayuri follow Hatsumomo into the room. Mother tells Hatsumomo to stop lying and to... (full context)
Chapter 29
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth Theme Icon
...night she dreams of Gion, but Sayuri doesn’t feel free to return to Gion until Mother summons her. Mother and Auntie survived the war years selling contraband on the black market... (full context)
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Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
...but the decision isn’t hers to make. When she says that she is waiting for Mother to reopen the okiya, Nobu responds that he will take care of Mother. Nobu then... (full context)
Chapter 30
Sex and Love Theme Icon
...the war, Sayuri thinks of her often, feeling sorry that she stole Pumpkin’s spot as Mother’s adopted daughter. After the war, Pumpkin pleaded with Mother to take her back into the... (full context)
Chapter 33
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
A month or so later, Mother informs Sayuri that Nobu has proposed himself as her danna. Mother also says that Nobu... (full context)
Chapter 35
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
...geisha. This way Nobu would not have to see her around Gion. The Chairman pays Mother a considerable amount of money each month so that Sayuri can end her career. Sayuri... (full context)
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...but fears that she would be disturbed by all the changes. She says that after Mother died, the okiya was torn down and replaced with a concrete apartment building. Eight hundred... (full context)