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Eiji Han Shimizu, executive producer for the Japanese publisher Emotional Content (best known for biographical manga such as The 14th Dalai Lama and Che Guevarra), has been working since April on a feature-length Japanese/Indian animated film based on stories told by survivors of North Korea's prison camps. Shimizu, himself of partial South Korean descent, said that he wants to convey the reality of atrocities taking place 1,300 kilometers (about 800 miles) from Tokyo. He added that the film is being targeted for a release in 2012, although he is still seeking funding for the project.
Shimizu provided the following synopsis of the project:
In the repatriation program in the '60s, more than 93,000 Japanese Koreans left Japan to head to North Korea, which was promised by North Korea leaders to be "Heaven on Earth." The main character's family was one of the families who took the voyage to this "Heaven on Earth," to dedicate their lives and wealth for the construction of what was meant to be the greatest nation, and that would promote communist idealism.
Relatively peaceful days in Pyongyang enjoyed by the family abruptly ended with the disappearance of the grandfather, and the main character's forced transfer to Yudok concentration camp. Suffering through years of forced labor, violence, and the loss of loved ones, the main character grows to become a man from inside the concentration camp….
Penguin Books published Emotion Content's manga on the 14th Dalai Lama and Che Guevarra in English earlier this year. Penguin Books is planning two more English adaptations of Emotional Content's biographical manga — one about Mahatma Gandhi and one about Mother Teresa. Manga on Aung San Suu Kyi, Abraham Lincoln, and Anne Frank are also in the works. Including the United States, the biographies have been released in 20 countries and translated into Chinese, Spanish, Tibetan, Russian, and Hindi.
Emotional Content created the following promotional video for the North project:
Source: CNN Go
Image © Emotional Content