Memoirs of a Geisha is a 2005 American epic drama film based on the novel of the same name by Arthur Golden, produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment and Spyglass Entertainment and by Douglas Wick's Red Wagon Entertainment. Directed by Rob Marshall, the film was released in the United States on December 9, 2005 by Columbia Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures; the latter was given studio credit only. It stars Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe, Gong Li, Michelle Yeoh, Youki Kudoh, Suzuka Ohgo and Samantha Futerman. Production took place in southern and northern California and in several locations in Kyoto, including the Kiyomizu temple and the Fushimi Inari shrine. The film tells the story of a young Japanese girl, Chiyo Sakamoto, who is sold by her impoverished family to a geisha house called an okiya. Chiyo is eventually transformed into a geisha and renamed "Sayuri", and becomes one of the most celebrated geisha of her time. But with this success, Sayuri also learns the secrets and sacrifices of the geisha lifestyle.
The film was released to mixed reviews from western critics and was moderately successful at the box office. It was also nominated for and won numerous awards, including nominations for six Academy Awards, and eventually won three: Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design. The acting, visuals, sets, costumes, and John Williams' musical score were praised, but the film was criticized for casting Chinese actresses as Japanese women and for its style over substance approach. The Japanese release of the film was titled Sayuri, the titular character's geisha name.