“It was not the ‘alien’ music that disturbed the Japanese audience” at the Tokyo premiere in 1914 (there had been a Western music school in the city since 1890), “but the threat to traditional hierarchies between men and women. Later, in the 1930s, feminist writers such as Ichiko Kamichika and Akiko Yosano criticised the opera for promoting a ‘victim’ like Butterfly as something of a Japanese ‘paragon’. Somewhat ironically, Butterfly thus proved to be an effective catalyst for the emergence of a new model of womanhood in Japan. Moreover, the Japanese themselves gradually began to find Madama Butterfly exotic and alien.” – History Today

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