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An American naval officer, Lieutenant Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton, arrives in Japan to take up his duties on a ship docked in Nagasaki. On the suggestion of his friend Sayre, he takes a Japanese wife and house for the duration of his stay there. His young bride, Cho-Cho-San, is a geisha whose family were strongly in favor of the marriage until Pinkerton forbade them from visiting.
John Luther Long (1861–1927) was an American lawyer and writer best known for his short story "Madame Butterfly", which was based on the recollections of his sister, Jennie Correll, who had been to Japan with her husband—a Methodist missionary.