Madame Chrysanthème (novel)

Madame Chrysanthème is a novel by Pierre Loti, presented as the autobiographical journal of a naval officer who was temporarily married to a Japanese woman while he was stationed in Nagasaki, Japan.[1] It closely follows the journal he kept of his summer 1885 affair with Kiku (Chrysanthemum) née Kane a few blocks north of Glover Garden in the Jūzenji (十善寺) neighbourhood; modern day Jūninmachi (十人町), whence she fled to hometown Takeda due to xenophobia.[2] Originally written in French and published in 1887, Madame Chrysanthème was very successful in its day, running to 25 editions in the first five years of its publication with translations into several languages including English.[3] It has been considered a key text in shaping western attitudes toward Japan at the turn of the 20th century.[4] It is known in Japan under the title of お菊さん (O Kiku-san), which is a direct translation of the French name.

Madame Chrysanthème
AuthorPierre Loti
Set inMeiji Japan
Publication date
Two standing men in white and a sitting woman in kimono.
Pierre Le Cor, Pierre Loti and Okane-San, photographed in 1885.

André Messager's 1893 opera of the same name is based on it, as are some aspects of Puccini's 1904 opera Madama Butterfly.[5]



  1. ^ "The Original Story: John Luther Long and David Belasco". New York City Opera Project: Madama Butterfly. Columbia University. Archived from the original on 2 June 2017. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  2. ^ Miskow, Catherine. "The Chrysanthemum and the Butterfly: What, if Anything, Remains of Pierre Loti in the Madame Butterfly Narrative". UFLR 2011. Utah Foreign Language Review. p. 15. Retrieved 2016-05-30.
  3. ^ Van Rij 2001, pp. 34–35
  4. ^ Reed 2010, p. 1
  5. ^ Van Rij 2001, p. 29


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