Pinkerton and Butterfly’s characters embody their respective cultures. Some of their conspicuous characters are dictated by their respective cultural norms, gender and their own individuality. From the opera’s introductory scenes, it is clear that the Americans were portrayed as being capitalistic in nature. In the opera’s first scene, Pinkerton boasts of his newly purchased home and goes ahead to describe his Japanese wife (Butterfly) as if she was a possession. Just like the American capitalist perception, Pinkerton sees the world in terms of business and profits. Butterfly on the other hand embodies the culture of honor which was revered in Japan. Despite the fact that it was obvious that her husband had deserted her, she refused to remarry. Lastly, when it became apparent that her husband had married another American wife, she decided to die an honorable death by taking her own life with a sword.
The image that I have chosen to discuss is the picture of western traders at Yokohama transporting merchandise by Sadahide (1861). This image portrays ships from different nations such as the U.S.A, Russia, the Netherlands and Germany sailing into a Japanese harbor. This aspect is shown by the flags attached to the ships. A keen analysis of the image shows that the image’s artist wanted to show the welcoming attitude of the Japanese people. In this image, not only were the Japanese depicted as welcoming people but were also shown to work with the other nationals on the left side of the print. Moreover, the use of traditional Japanese art style and bright colors on the print showed the peaceful interactions of multiple nationalities working together without evoking any sense of xenophobia or violence. This image accurately depicts the Japanese bakumatsu period during which the country was opening up to more foreign influence than it had ever done before.