Departmental Bulletin Paper オペラ『蝶々夫人』と日本からの応答 : 表象される「日本」への反応の諸相
How Has Puccini's Madame Butterfly Been Perceived in Japan? : The Issue of Representation and Cross-cultural Understanding in Media Literacy Education

片平, 幸

This essay examines how Puccini's Madame Butterfly has been perceived in Japan since the early 20th century. Composer Giacomo Puccini (1858_1924) wrote the opera Madame Butterfly, which premiered in Italy in 1904. The story is about a tragic love between 15-year-old Japanese girl Cio-Cio-san and American naval officer B. F. Pinkerton. The setting is in Nagasaki in the early Meiji period. This story derives from the Western imagination of the 19th century, when great interest emerged in the West toward Japan due in part to international exhibitions of the time and the influence of Japonisme in Europe. Consequently, the Japanese people and customs represented in Madame Butterfly were exotic if not awkward based on a Western fantasy of the 19th century. Madame Butterfly is an opera production of the early 20th century, and eventually very popular, performed on stage all through the 20th century. This means, then, that there were newly directed or interpreted versions of it. Nevertheless, "Japan" in Madame Butterfly has been often represented in a peculiar manner for today's audiences in Japan. So how have Japanese people reacted to the representation of Japan in Madame Butterfly ? The aim of this essay is to investigate how Madame Butterfly has been perceived in Japan. Through this, I will analyze Japanese newspaper articles from the 1910s and onward. In addition, I will argue how Madame Butterfly can be an effective material to study the issue of representation as well as cross-cultural understanding. I also report how Madame Butterfly can be explored in lectures based on my educational practice.

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