Sweet Charity meets Madam Butterfly in Yankee Stadium

8 min readOct 20, 2021

A Fortune Teller’s Tales, Episode 4, Part 2 of 3: “Did the Yankees Win?”

Pt 1 of 3: “A Real Madam Butterfly & Pinkerton. All is Fair in Love and War”

Left: Movie poster for “Sweet Charity”, public domain; Right: Original digital art “Sweet Charity meets Madam Butterfly”) by Wanugee.

Satoyan fell in love with the Lieutenant Colonel. She was only 18 when they met. He was older, had power, and charm. It was her first love, and she fell hard. In their 3 years of forbidden love, they brought a daughter into the world, Reiko, now a beautiful toddler. Reiko’s smile eased a small part of the shame Satoyan felt, of being an unmarried mother, the mother of a “Hafu” mixed child, and her country’s shame of being humiliated by their conquerors, who now occupied their country.

He left her after their last dinner adieu, to go fight another war. She waited patiently for him to return to her and Reiko. As the Ginkgo trees turned a golden red and brown, she got a box delivered. Inside was a pair of black patent Baby Jane shoes for little Reiko, and a letter. As she slowly read the letter, a rush of nausea surged from the pit of her stomach to the moisture in her eyes, like a dark ocean wave pounding her body and spraying salt in her tears. He was back in his homeland, not Korea, not Japan, wounded and in a hospital thousands of miles away. He wasn’t coming back anytime soon.

He broke his promise, and her dreams. Like Madam Butterfly, and Pinkerton.

Bewildered, heartbroken, and in denial, she decided to not return home. She would wait some more, for her lover’s return to Tokyo, and back into her arms. She frequented the Jazz Clubs in Tokyo, listening to local musicians covering the BeBop sounds of Coltrane, “Bird”, and Monk, in smoked filled sets in dark clubs. She would get lost in the improvisational jazz, to distract her from her own misery, and her now numb, empty heart.

Reiko had her aunt, grandma, and helpers to watch over her back home. Satoyan had a few connections that were passed on to her, in modeling, and others. She did model, but it wasn’t enough to live off. Feeling depressed and isolated, she found a job at a dance hall. The kind that was popular back then, where American G.I.s would come, buy tickets, and dance with the pretty girls like they did back home in Chicago, Detroit, and New York City. Just like “Sweet Charity” later did on…