Destiny: The Secret Operations of the Yodogō Exiles

Steinhoff, Patricia G. GND; North, Scott

In 1970, nine members of a Japanese New Left group called the Red Army Faction hijacked a domestic airliner to North Korea with dreams of acquiring military training in order to bring about a revolution in Japan. The North Korean government accepted the hijackers ̶ who became known in the media as the Yodogō group ̶ and two years later they announced their conversion to juche, North Korea’s political ideology. A superb example of investigative journalism, Destiny: The Secret Operations of the Yodogō Exiles offers Kōji Takazawa’s powerful story of how he exposed the Yodogō group’s involvement in the kidnapping and luring of several young Japanese to North Korea, as well as the truth behind their Japanese wives’ presence in the country. Takazawa’s careful research was validated in 2002, when the North Korean government publicly acknowledged it had kidnapped thirteen Japanese citizens during the 1970s and 1980s, including three people whom Takazawa had connected to the Yodogō hijackers. Embedded in his pursuit of what truly happened to the Yodogō members is Takazawa’s personal reflection of the 1970s, a decade when radical student activism swept Japan, and what it meant to those whose lives were forever changed. This talk will trace the story of the Yodogō exiles to North Korea, Kōji Takazawa’s involvement in their story and his work of investigative journalism.