A year ago, Muriel Jolivet said, "Briefly, the subjects I studied up to now were, first, the social integration of Japanese male students through work. Then I focused more on women, and their social integration through work. I got interested in women and maternity in Japan, and wrote the book 'Japan: the Childless Society?' Then I worked on extended interviews with 60 men in the Tokyo and Kansai areas, who spoke about their families, their worries, their relations to the workplace, their families, their children, their fathers, and society at large." The result was the recently published book "Homo Japonicus," a Picquier edition.

Jolivet is young, a scholar and humanitarian, with many years of inside knowledge of Japanese society. She was born in Belgium to French parents. Her father, an entomologist, took his family traveling, so that as a child she lived far afield in Taiwan and different countries of Africa. When she stayed in Paris for senior high schooling, she went for holidays to visit her parents, who were then in New Guinea.

Inquiring, lively and book-loving, she studied Chinese for three years in high school, so that when she entered the University of Paris she was ready for something else. She decided on Japanese. In 1973, she said, "I had to have some fresh air. I applied for a scholarship to Japan."