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This review is from: Madame Butterfly: Japonisme, Puccini, and the Search for the Real Cho-Cho-San (Hardcover)We were interested in seeing how historically accurate Puccini's opera, Madama Butterfly was, so we purchased Van Rij's book. However, in his section entitled "How Japanese is it" he speculates that "Surandasico" might be a garbled reading of "zurugashikoi" meaning cunning, an adjective. First of all, he misspelled "sarundasico" as it occurs in the opera librtetto and somehow never discovered that there is a Shinto kami named "sarudahiko" which we found via Google. If this one detail is so far off, how can the rest of the book be much better?
Additionally his assessment of the character, Butterfly, is unbelievably dismissive. It should not take a great deal of imagination to figure out why she would want to marry an American, considering her station and the lack of true and binding marriage rights for women of her station in Japan at that time. Nevertheless, the other parts of the book were interesting and the photographs from the Meiji Restoration Period were helpful in our research.
Regards - Adam and Tami