Tonight I attended a special screening of Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story at the ImaginAsian Theater. The documentary tells the story of Megumi Yokota, a Japanese schoolgirl who disappeared in 1977, and of her family’s long, heartbreaking struggle to find her.
Decades after she vanished, a North Korean defector revealed that Kim Jong Il’s henchmen had abducted more than one dozen innocent Japanese citizens. They were transported across the Sea of Japan and forced to teach North Korean spies how to speak, look and “act” Japanese. Taken at the age of 13, Megumi was their youngest kidnapping victim.
While the abductions have made headlines and caused governmental upheavals in Asia, they are little known in the rest of the world. In fact, I wasn’t aware of them until I saw this award-winning film.
Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story is the first effort from husband and wife directing team Chris Sheridan and Patty Kim. They appeared onstage for a question and answer session and described how reading a small article in the Washington Post inspired them to put Megumi’s story on film.
Also present was Noel Paul Stookey, the “Paul” of the legendary folk music group Peter, Paul and Mary, who performed his Song for Megumi. He explained that he wrote the song because folk music traditionally tells stories of struggle and injustice.
He sang, “Return to me, Megumi, across the waves of the sea. Send me your spirit. My heart will hear it. And lead you home to me.”