The Families

Table of Contents

Translation Volunteers

  • Chapter 1: The Yokota family -- Their 13-year-old daughter, Megumi, disappeared on her way home from school. Her family made every possible effort to find her, but in vain. 20 years later, they learned that their daughter had been abducted by North Korea. The family’s new struggle has begun, and Megumi has become the symbol of abduction.

  • Chapter 2: The Masumoto and Ichikawa families -- Rumiko Masumoto and Shuichi Ichikawa were kidnapped during a seashore date on a hot summer day. When the Japanese government finally made contact with North Korea almost a quarter century later, the families were told the cruel fact that the couple had already deceased in North Korea. But who would believe it?

  • Chapter 3: The Chimura and Hamamoto families -- Yasushi Chimura and Fukie Hamamoto were also kidnapped during a date. They returned home after 24 years as a result of a Japanese and North Korean meeting in October 2002. However, Yasushi's mother, who had been long ill, passed away shortly before her son's return. Yasushi wailed at her picture, "Mother, I'm home!" The couple was also heartbroken, since they left their three children in North Korea.

  • Chapter 4: The Arimoto and Matsuki families -- Keiko Arimoto was unacquainted with Kaoru Matsuki. Keiko vanished from Denmark in 1983, and Kaoru from Spain in 1980. One day in 1988, a letter from a third person, revealing their life together in North Korea, arrived out of the blue. They must have taken a huge risk of being caught and placed the letter in a traveler's hand. The letter was folded many times and postmarked in Poland.

  • Chapter 5: The Iizuka and Hara families -- Yaeko Taguch's brother adopted the toddler, whom Yaeko left behind when she vanished, and brought him up as his own son. Many years later when the family found out that Yaeko had been abducted by North Korea, they had to hide the fact to protect the young son. When he became 21, they finally told him the fate of his poor birth mother.

  • Chapter 6: The Hasuike and Okudo families -- Kaoru Hasuike and Yukiko Okudo were also kidnapped during a date, and they were among the five Japanese abductees who were released from North Korea in October 2002. At the airport, Kaoru's father held him tightly to make sure that his son actually had returned home to Japan. It was the end of 24 long, difficult years, searching for the couple, but it was also the beginning of yet another tough time. The couple had to wait for their two children they had left in North Korea.

  • Chapter 7: The Terakoshi family -- Three Terakoshi family members disappeared while fishing in the Sea of Japan, where their empty boat was found floating the next morning. Were they abducted? Two died in North Korea, and the youngest, who was then 13 years old and is still living in North Korea, cannot say that he was abducted. He needs to protect his life and family there.

  • Chapter 8: The Soga family -- Hitomi Soga was abducted from Sado Island in the Sea of Japan 24 years ago, and returned home from North Korea with four other abductees in October 2002. But her mother, who was abducted at the same time as Hitomi, is still missing. Hitomi left her American husband and two daughters in North Korea. Who can reunite the separated family?