Long before Puccini wrote his masterpiece, the tale of the poor Japanese girl abandoned by her foreign lover had been taken up by numerous Western writers as part of the wave of Japonisme in late-19th-century Europe. But was there a real Madame Butterfly? Following the tragic trail back to its roots in Nagasaki, Jan van Rij believes he’s found the answer. Opera lovers will delight in the revelation, and learn not only about the cultural forces and personal fixations that inspired this popular work but why many Japanese remain unconvinced. A long-time opera buff, Jan van Rij served as an E.U. diplomat in Japan, highly regarded for his intimate understanding of Japanese-European relations.