Tag Archives: kidnap

Songs for Megumi

19 Aug

Do you know the story of 横田めぐみ (Megumi Yokota)?

She has become a symbol of un-returned Japanese abductees in North Korea.

North Korea has abducted a number of people in other countries, mostly Japan, to train their spies in the language and customs of their countries so that the North Korean spies can assimilate into other countries more easily.

I wrote a post about the Japanese abductees. (Click here to read it. I wrote about the few abductees that were returned to Japan decades after the were kidnapped, and I also wrote about Megumi Yokota and her parents’ struggle to be reunited with their daughter before they die).

横田めぐみ (Megumi Yokota) was taken by North Korean agents in Japan when she was only thirteen years old. She was walking home from school when she was kidnapped and taken to North Korea thirty-three years ago.

At first the North Korean government denied kidnapping any Japanese people. Then, when presented with evidence, claimed that Megumi Yokota had committed suicide years ago…a claim which many in Japan don’t believe.

Anyways, there is a documentary about the 横田めぐみ (Megumi Yokota) story. And it turns out that Noel Paul Stookey of the folk music band “Peter, Paul and Mary” had watched the documentary, and so did the English pop star Peter Frampton.

And both Noel Paul Stookey and Peter Frampton were so moved by Megumi Yokota’s story that they both recorded songs about her.

Noel Paul Stookey‘s song is titled “Song For Megumi” and it’s in English but has a few lines in Japanese:

あなたはどこに?…風の中にあなたの声が聞こえます。

(excerpt of lyrics from the “Song For Megumi”)

Those lyrics mean “Where are you? I can hear your voice in the wind.”

Here is Noel Paul Stookey performing his song “Song For Megumi:

And Peter Frampton has just released a new album titled “Thank You Mr. Churchill”. One song on that album is titled “Asleep At The Wheel” and is about Megumi Yokota‘s story.
And another song is an instrumental titled “Suite Liberte A) Megumi B) Huria Watu“…the first half of the song is dedicated to Megumi Yokota.

Here is “Suite Liberte A) Megumi B) Huria Watu“:

The parents of 横田めぐみ (Megumi Yokota), who have to this day never given up their fight to have their daughter returned, said after learning about these songs that they hope the songs are popular and draw a lot of attention to the abductions in North Korea.

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Recent news of Americans in Japan

10 Oct

First of all, today is the beginning of a three-day-weekend in Japan.
Monday is 「体育の日」 (Sports Day).

Until a few years ago, this holiday was on October 10th (today), and if that day fell on a Saturday (like it is this year), the day off would be “lost”. (If the 10th was a Sunday, it would be observed on the following day, though).

But now the holiday is the second Monday of October…so it’s always a three-day-weekend.
(Click here to read my short FAQ about this holiday).

Anyways, here are few recent Japan-related news items that involve Americans:

  • Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama sent his congratulations to U.S. President Obama for receiving a Nobel Peace Prize, saying in part that he was pleased by Obama’s call for a nuclear-free world and that it must be difficult for the leader of the nation with the most nuclear weapons in the world to make such a statement.

    Japanese survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki also expressed their happiness by Obama’s plan to rid the world of nuclear arms and their support of his Nobel Prize.
    They also reiterated their invitation for him to visit their cities.

  • U.S. President Obama is scheduled to make his first official visit to Japan on (2009) November 12 – 13.
  • An American man was arrested for bringing a handgun into Japan on a flight from America.
    His gun was found by Japanese airport customs officers when he passed through customs at Narita Airport near Tokyo trying to transit to a flight to Thailand.

    It is unclear how he managed to get the gun through U.S. customs at the Dallas / Ft. Worth Airport, where he boarded the plane for Japan.

  • Another American man is in Japanese prison for attempting to kidnap his children from his Japanese ex-wife and bring them back to America.He divorced his Japanese wife in America and the U.S. courts gave him custody of their two young children.

    But his ex-wife (the children’s mother) took the kids to Japan on “holiday” and never returned. So there is an arrest-warrant for her in America…that can only be enforced if she steps foot on U.S. soil again (which is unlikely).
    The Japanese courts, though, granted her full-custody of the children and when their father came to Japan to take the kids back, he was arrested.

    This case shows one of the many differences between American and Japanese culture.
    In America, when parents divorce it is common for both parents to “share” custody.
    But that’s extremely uncommon in Japan. The divorce-rate is still very low in Japan…but it is climbing. And when parents divorce here it is felt that it’s in the children’s best interest to try to keep life as stable as possible by having the father (usually) simply move on and keep out of their lives.

Have you heard about any of these cases? What’s your opinion?