This is the true story of the tragic life of Okichi Saito who became the pawn to placate Townsend Harris, the first American Consul to Japan in the turbulent mid 1800’s. This poignant story takes place during a period in history when the “Black Ships” arrived in Japan and changed many lives, especially those of Okichi and her fiancé and lover, Tsurumatsu. Like a butterfly, Okichi was beautiful but fragile, easily tossed about and bruised by the stronger forces of political wheeling and dealing.
The story takes the readers on a journey from the wild windswept fishing village of Shimoda to the colorful world of the geishas Okichi was literally sold into, then onto the awesome stage of politics and power and finally to a lonely outcast who walked into the icy waters of the Shimoda Bay one cold grey March morning….
Review: Rosalie Whitney says, “…author and journalist Rei Kimura has put yet another tear in the veil of mystery that still surrounds early Japanese-American relations.” She goes on to add, “Butterfly in the Wind” is a complex layering. The particular period of this history – when the ‘Black Ships’ were arriving in Japan and causing upheaval in so many lives – is excellently painted. This is a wrenching, beautifully written story and one very worth reading.”