ABDUCTION: The Megumi Yokota Story

A 13-year-old Japanese girl was kidnapped by North Korean spies in 1977. Her parents battled for 30 years to bring her home.

Film Signature Image
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
June 19, 2008
90 minutes
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2006 Austin Film Festival-Documentary Film Award
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    2006 Omaha Film Festival-Audience Award
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    2006 Slamdance Film Festival-Audience Award
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    2006 San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival-Jury Prize
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    2006 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival-Top 10 Audience Favorite
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    2006 Asian Film Festival of Dallas-Best Documentary
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    2009 duPont Awards-Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award
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    Chris Sheridan

    Chris Sheridan is an award-winning journalist whose work has been featured on broadcasts across the world—PBS, CBS, Nat Geo, Al Jazeera, BBC, among others. ABDUCTION screened at the U.N. in support of an international treaty outlawing enforced disappearances. Chris also produced Emmy-nominated films Almost Sunrise and Give Up Tomorrow.

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    Patty Kim

    Patty Kim co-directed BBC’s ABDUCTION (executive produced by Oscar-winner Jane Campion), which won multiple honors, including the duPont-Columbia Award. Patty executive produced the Emmy-nominated Almost Sunrise and Beirut Dreams in Color (The Guardian), and produced Give Up Tomorrow, which won major prizes at the Tribeca Film Festival.

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    The Film

    On a cold night in 1977 in Niigata, Japan, Sakie Yokota looked at the clock on her wall and noticed that it was getting late. Her eldest child, 13-year-old Megumi, hadn’t yet returned home. Megumi usually walked straight home from school. Sakie panicked and ran to the school, but no one knew where her daughter was. For the entire night, Megumi’s parents and her two younger brothers frantically searched the beach near their home. The police got involved and searched for weeks, but it led to nothing. A year went by with no word. Five, ten, fifteen years passed. Finally, 20 years after Megumi’s disappearance, a journalist knocked on the Yokotas’ door and revealed something that shocked the family and the rest of Japan: Megumi had been abducted to North Korea. North Korean leader Kim Jong Il would later admit that Megumi and 12 other Japanese citizens had been kidnapped from the shores of Japan by North Korean spies. ABDUCTION: The Megumi Yokota Story begins the day Megumi disappears and follows her parents on their 30-year search to learn the truth about what happened. Initially considered wacky by some Japanese political commentators, and labeled liars by the North Korean government, the families of Megumi and others taken by North Korea had little support at the outset, forcing them to become ever more aggressive and determined. Their stubborn refusal to give up eventually won them public support. Executive produced by Oscar-winning director Jane Campion, ABDUCTION is a tale of mystery, intrigue, and love, using archival footage and exclusive interviews to tell what happens when ordinary people are thrust into extraordinary circumstances.