Goodbye Madame Butterfly, book

Goodbye Madame Butterfly: Sex, Marriage and the Modern Japanese Woman. By Sumie Kawakami.

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  • Washoi!
  • Joint Venture
  • Red Circles
  • Yin Yang Master
  • Purgatory
  • Sex Volunteer
  • The Fix
  • Synchronicity
  • The Mannequin
  • Shinto Priest's Wife
  • Long Distance Love

Read the preface by author Sumie Kawakami.

Book Specs

  • 224 pages
  • hardcover
  • sewn in bookmark
  • beautiful Japanese papers used for the cover, endpages, half-titles and body text
  • 11 intimate, nonfiction portraits of Japanese women
  • slightly larger than a standard paperback but smaller than your average hardcover
  • perfectly balanced in weight and easy to throw (gently, of course) into your bag

About Goodbye Madame Butterfly

Ai is divorced and having an affair with her boss. They make love in city hotels and cuddle as the neon flickers outside their window before he goes home to his wife and she to her sons. Ai’s boss says he’ll never get a divorce, and Ai accepts this. But their passionate affair starts to unravel when Ai tells him about a one-night stand she had with a well-built African American man. “Why me?” the boss moans. “That’s too much. How could you have done this to me …”

Mitsuko has lived half a century but never once had sex. Her first sexual encounters are hardly the stuff of romance novels. While her husband takes refuge at his mother’s house, Mistuko find solace chasing down her favorite Korean pop star.

Emi is rich and beautiful. She carries herself like a film star. She drives fast cars and likes expensive things. But when she gets pregnant, her husband’s mistress calls to harass her. “I got pregnant too. But Soichiro made me get an abortion.”

These are some of the women in Sumie Kawakami’s Goodbye Madame Butterfly, an intimate look at the sex lives of Japanese people from a female perspective. This groundbreaking work of nonfiction will shatter the myth of the pliant, coy Japanese woman and replace her with a complex, erotic, sexually charged and fiercely independent woman who struggles to find her place in a male-dominated society.

Lemony Snicket calls GMB "smart and lively and thoughtful and moving." While Robert Whiting says GMB is "an intelligent and authoritative work. It is at once illuminating and entertaining, credible and so engrossing you will find it difficult to put down."

Book as an Object

1: front cover and sewn in bookmark, 2: chapter header, 3: kimono pattern inspired endpapers, 4: cover and spine

Like all of our books, we spent ages picking out papers, meeting with our printer and poring over design details. The end result is something akin to raising a child — we've put so much love into every inch of this object it's both exciting and terrifying to see it released into the hands of the public.

Goodbye Madame Butterfly was printed and bound in Japan, a country with a printing industry that doesn't compromise on quality. Our printer here has helped us create an exquisitely printed and produced book that sells for the same price as the slapped-together standard fare.

The full-color illustrations on the cover, the endpapers and the table of contents were found in the musty stacks of Japanese used bookstores in the Jimbocho district. Just as we love looking to old books and production techniques for inspiration, we love juxtapositioning exquisite old artwork with modern typography and story.