Logan “Wolverine” Howlett and Mariko Yashida have a long and complex history within the Marvel Comics universe, their relationship acting as a pivotal narrative for the Wolverine character development.
Mariko Yashida, the daughter of Shingen Yashida, met Logan when the X-Men returned from the Savage Land and were asked to help Japan, which was under the threat of the terrorist, Moses Magnum. Logan and Mariko encountered each other in a private moment, and this encounter blossomed into a mutual attraction. Mariko would frequently visit the United States to see Logan, marking the start of their romantic relationship.
However, their relationship hit a major roadblock when Mariko was forcibly married to Yakuza gang leader Noburu-Hideki by her father to strengthen his ties to the Japanese underworld. The marriage was marked by brutal domestic abuse. Noburu-Hideki manipulated Wolverine into participating in an assassination of a rival, deepening Mariko’s disgust for Logan upon witnessing Logan go berserk in battle. Eventually, Mariko realized her father’s evil actions, and she planned to kill her father and then commit seppuku. However, Logan killed her father before she could, in what was considered a fair battle of honor. This resulted in Mariko presenting the family katana to Logan as a token of her approval, accepting him as an honorable warrior.
Mariko became Logan’s fiancée, but the wedding was interrupted by the supervillain Mastermind, who used a mind control device on Mariko. When the control was lifted, Wolverine and Mariko resumed their romantic relationship but did not reconsider marriage. Mariko felt honor-bound to rectify her father’s criminal legacy before committing to Logan fully.
Tragedy struck their relationship when Mariko was poisoned by the assassin Reiko. To avoid a painful death and preserve her honor, Mariko asked Wolverine to kill her. Wolverine complied and vowed to avenge Mariko’s death by harming her killer, Matsu’o Tsurayaba, annually on the anniversary of her death.
In the comic series, Mariko was offered resurrection by Phaedra, an agent of the Hand, as a bargain to spare Phaedra’s life. However, Logan refused, understanding that Mariko would not accept life if it meant allowing someone as evil as Phaedra to live.
Mariko’s soul was later used to torment Wolverine when he was captured by the Devil and taken to Hell. Wolverine intended to rescue Mariko, but she asked to be left behind, encouraging him to return to Earth and reclaim his life.
Much later, in the “Old Man Logan” series, Mariko was resurrected by the Hand to serve as their weapon, the Scarlet Samurai. With Logan’s help, she was freed from the Hand’s control. As Logan prepared to return to his own timeline, he asked Mariko to look after a young girl who would have been his wife, trusting her to keep the girl safe.