John Luther Long, “Madame Butterfly”, 1898 was a nautical fiction novel. Navigation is a science that contributed to numerous science fiction stories. The words Marco Polo used for China and Japan were “Cathay” (China) and “Chipangu” (Japan). Marco Polo visited China and was told of “Chipangu” by the Mongol khanate. Christopher Columbus used cartography of maps that labeled Japan as “Chipangu”. The Japanese remained isolated from the West (excluding that Dutch East India was Japan) until Commodore Matthew Perry opened it up for the United States in the 1850’s.
John Luther Long, “Madame Butterfly”, 1898 has as main characters the American sailor “Pinkerton”, and a Japanese geisha “Cho-Cho San”. The protagonist is Cho-Cho San; and like Columbus sailing off for “Chipangu” (Japan) and instead lands in Cuba (Caribbean Sea), our protagonist is doomed. But, the couple Pinkerton and Cho-Cho San get married anyway. Trouble follows for Cho-Cho San when Pinkerton sails away. The family disowns Cho-Cho San and she is pregnant without sailor Pinkerton.
The story ends with our protagonist Cho-Cho San ritually killing her self as an act of Japanese honor. John Luther Long, “Madame Butterfly”,1898 was adapted to an 1904 Opera by Puccini of the same title; and adapted to a 1919 silent film by Fritz Lang.
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