Original Title


  • Release : May-1-2004
    Duration : 81min.


    Cinematography : Kazuyuki Nozawa


In the early twentieth century, Japan colonialized the Korean Peninsula.
Back then, Cheju Island, located on the southern tip of the peninsula and the birthplace of Haruko Kim, was also stricken with severe poverty and racial discrimination.
A regular sevice between Cheju and Japan was opened, and many Koreans chose to sail to Japan to begin a new life there.

This documentary, "HARUKO," portrays the life of a Korean woman who moved to Japan in the pre-war days. Three generations later, the family has learned to adapt to their new surroundings after enduring many hardships along the way.

Her son, a cameraman working for the local North Korean organization based in Japan, had recorded the hard life suffered by his family and his mother on film since the days of the Korean War.

The film documents the era when Shinjuku, currently one of Asia's largest entertainment districts, was still the slums, and has captured rare images of people surviving the difficult times. Haruko, who was willing to go on the wrong side of the law in order to feed her family, can be seen arrested by the police, being released, then being attained again, just so that she could put food in the mouths of her offsprings in a foreign land.

The feature-length version of a documentary previously aired on Fuji Television which won the Galaxy Award for outstanding documentaries.