The Secrets of Mariko: A Year in the Life of a Japanese Woman and Her Family

Front Cover
Times Books, 1995 - History - 338 pages
The Secrets of Mariko is a remarkably revealing and intimate look at the life of an ordinary Japanese woman at the close of the twentieth century. Mariko and her husband, three children, and aged parents live in a small house in Tokyo. It is a family typical of hundreds of thousands of others in Japan. Mariko is a part-time meter reader and a very full-time wife, mother, and daughter. She spends her days cooking, keeping house, taking care of the children and her parents, working at her job, and stealing an afternoon now and then for herself. Through Mariko we gain a rare insight into the culture of Japan and begin to understand the obligations and desires that drive Japanese society. Like many Japanese, Mariko knew very few Westerners, and was instinctively reserved with anyone outside the family circle. But somehow she broke through her sense of privacy and let Elisabeth Bumiller, a reporter for The Washington Post, into her life for more than a year. Over time, as they grew to know each other, Mariko gradually revealed her secrets. Most are small but deeply personal, and together they yield a nuanced portrait of a life. The Secrets of Mariko speaks eloquently of what it means to be Japanese, and to be an ordinary woman confronting the choices we all must face.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

THE SECRETS OF MARIKO: A Year in the Life of a Japanese Woman and Her Family

User Review  - Kirkus

A levelheaded look at a ``typical'' Japanese life, narrated with grace and savvy. Washington Post feature writer Bumiller (May You Be the Mother of One Hundred Sons, 1990) moved to Japan with her ... Read full review

The secrets of Mariko: a year in the life of a Japanese woman and her family

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

While interviewing in Japan for the Washington Post in 1991-92, journalist Bumiller chronicled through an interpreter a year in the life of Mariko, "an ordinary Japanese woman," and her family and ... Read full review


From a Great Distance
Memories of War
I Forget Im a Housewife

12 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1995)

Elisabeth Bumiller is the author of three books of nonfiction and is a White House
correspondent for "The New York Times."

Bibliographic information