Documentary - Completed 2008

Megumi is a poetic and affecting account of tragic loss and the power of hope after the abduction of the 13-year-old Japanese girl Megumi Yokota to North Korea in 1977 and her parent´s search for her.

    • Year of production
    • 2008
    • Genres
    • Documentary, Historical, Family
    • Countries
    • JAPAN
    • Languages
    • Duration
    • 62 mn
    • Synopsis
    • On November 15, 1977, a young schoolgirl was snatched from the coast of Japan and taken by ship to North Korea. Along with several other Japanese citizens, she was kidnapped for the purpose of teaching North Korean spies to speak fluent Japanese. Yet, what became of her remains unknown.
      Director Mirjam van Veelen’s film—part documentary, part drama—investigates one of the most bizarre episodes in recent Japanese memory. Travelling to the coastal town of Niigata, the filmmaker revisits the site of thirteen-year-old Megumi Yokota’s disappearance. Family and acquaintances, some 30 years later, are still in disbelief. Although the North Korean government alleges that she had committed suicide, the parents of Megumi are not convinced. They, in fact, believe their daughter may very well still be alive.
      Using a variety of documentary and feature techniques to lend their case credibility, Van Veelen attempts to shed light on the context surrounding the strange circumstances of the event. Dramatic re-enactments bring the shadowy figure of Megumi to life. Interviews with her parents, brothers, and former headmaster convey not only their unwavering love for the beloved Megumi, but also their unshakable faith that truth will prevail. It is hard not to be affected by their emotions, as van Veelen discovered for herself in making this film. With the same sense of hope shared by those who knew her, the filmmaker incorporates the dramatic elements and real-life clues to suggest an alternate ending to the mystery and that Megumi’s story is not over just yet.