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Returnees Edition「THE WAY Russia ✖️ Japan」(EN)

Updated: Feb 21

THE WAY Returnees Edition introduces women who continue to shine and empower themselves even after returning to their home country by making use of their experiences abroad.

This time we meet Taeko Mano who spent about a year in Russia in April 2021. Her husband was stationed there and her family of four, including their two sons, lived in Moscow. Due to the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, she returned to Japan in March 2022 and is now an editor of a political party newspaper in Tokyo.

Taeko's family has moved around and her current location is their sixth. How has Taeko made choices as a wife, mother, and a woman in the midst of moving around a lot and how did she build her career? She talks about the hardships of building a life from scratch in a new place, the struggles of pausing her career to become a full-time housewife and her short but intense life in Russia.

Marriage, childbirth, raising kids, going back to work and moving abroad

After graduating from university, Taeko worked as an English teacher at a middle school but when her husband was transferred from Tokyo to Fukui Prefecture, she quit her job and became a full-time housewife.

“After the birth of my two children, it was difficult for me to go back to work but I was not at all suited to being a full-time housewife. So, I spent my weekends doing temporary work and taking an English proficiency test in the hope that it would be useful one day.”

She later returned to Tokyo when her husband was transferred back and decided to go back to work just as her oldest son was starting primary school. With the help of a family member, she began working as a clerk for a political party organisation. She thought about going back to teaching but didn’t want to make any compromises. She couldn't picture herself being able to balance teaching and raising kids.

Working for a political party was all new to Taeko and she found the work easy and interesting. All of her co-workers were kind and every day she felt the joy of working.