Spirits' Homecoming (2016) - full transcript

Two Korean girls, Jung-Min (14) and Young-hee (15) are kidnapped by the Japanese Imperial Army and taken to a 'Comfort Station' in China. There, they join other kidnapped girls in serving Japanese soldiers as sexual slaves known as 'Comfort Woman'. By the end of the war, only one of the girls survives. Decades later, an elderly lady attempts to reunite with the spirit of her lost friend. Inspired by the testimony of Kang Il-chul.

This film is based on true stories from testimonies of
Japanese Military Sexual Slavery 'Comfort Women' victims.

Yes, so after your confession,

what was the reaction
from people around you?

They all said...that I am brave.

Well I don't think
they think all that much of it.

I feel ashamed myself
but there is not much of anything.

Not much of any reaction at all.

Do you still feel embarrassed?

No I don't feel embarrassed at all.

Then, how long did you suffer under
the brutalities of the Japanese Military?

Taken when I was 17 years old,

I cannot talk about all of it.

Not in such short period of time.

Taken and all the suffering caused
by the soldiers...

How can I list everything?

I cannot express in words...

Women are menstruating but
they continue to abuse us irregardlessly

They didn't care at all.

They drag you like a piece of luggage,
use you as they would like and

when we are broken-sick so to speak,
they trash you or kill you.

So that was the situation...
what can I say?

So how were the rations?
Like food or...

Come out, come out,
wherever you are

Are you ready?

1943, Gyeongsangnamdo Province Geohchang

Not yet.

Come out, come out
wherever you are.

Hey you guys are too much.

I told you it's no fun
if you go too far.

Did you hear?

Uncle Dusik from downtown was taken
by the Japanese Policemen.


My daddy said that he is going to
war to become a soldier...

If you become a soldier,
does that mean you become Japanese?


Just because
a Korean man becomes a solider.

It doesn't mean
he becomes Japanese.

Hey watch what you say.
Remember what our teacher told us? He said

‘We are all Japanese.'

Didn't he?

It's no fun playing like this.
Do you want to make a bet on the game?

What will you wager?

If you guys win

I will give you this

Wow wicked!

What would you guys give me?

I want that, your charm.

No not this.

Yeah, mom said
we should never give this away.

Fine then.

Do you have any idea
how rare these taffies are?

Even if you give
ten of those charms

you can't even trade them for
one of these taffies.

Ok, I will be generous and
give you back one. Here.

Ok, I will be generous and
give you back one. Here.
What about me?
Give mine back too.

What about me?
Give mine back too.

We were told to never give
this away to anyone.

Why not?

That trinket is like
a special protection charm

so it's bad luck to give it away.

Who told you that absurd lie?

My mother repeatedly told me!

Well, I don't really care.

- Sister!
- Jungmin!

Ari-ari-rang Suri-suri-rang



- Oh it's my dear puppy!
- Daddy daddy!

If you hit your head on the carrier,
you will get a bump.

Oh Jungmin,
you are all grown up.

Look on to me,
look on to me, look on to me.

Like you saw a flower blooming
in winter, look on to me!

Ari-arirang! Suri-surirang
Arariga natne.

Did you wait long?

Jungmin you come here.

What's wrong?

You be quiet.

What did you take from Misun?

I didn't take anything.

I won it on a bet.

Give it to me.


Take this and give it
back to Misun.

Ah hurry and
take it to her.

Well, come in already.

What did I tell you about
stealing from the others?

Nothing will work out for you
and you will never get married!

Oh dear.


At that age, they do reckless things.
Don't be too mad.

It's because you're spoiled her
that's why she's so wild.

Oh come on.

Don't you know how scary
the world is right now?

They say the soldiers are coming up
and taking people away.

Rumors say that once they are taken,
you never hear from them again

and they all end up dead.

A young child like her
should be okay...

But you should be careful.

What if they take you, how can we manage?

The world is so...

Right. You are right.


All I want for you is to grow up well

and marry a good man.


No please, it makes no sense!

What is he saying?

How can you just come and take her
without any words in advance?

No, please no.


Are you...



- Take her!
- Yes!

No! Please no!

Without any words in advance!

- Daddy! Daddy!
- Oh dear.

Please spare us.
Please spare us.

Hurry there's no time.

Listen to me.

You see these clothes.

Look, look. Stop crying.

I hid some money
in these clothes.

Now you learned Japanese
at school right?

Use this money in emergency to ask
someone to take you to Geohchang. Okay?

Now what did I tell you
to do with this money?

To ask someone to
take me to Geohchang.

That's right...
That's right...

Oh what will happen to
a young child like you...

She hasn't even been
outside this town...

How will I go on without you...

Listen to me well.

An old parable says

'if you keep your head and don't lose your wits,
you will survive through anything'.


It's not very pretty.

But if you keep this with you,
you will be safe.

And all bad omens
can't touch you.

Keep it on you.

There's no time.
Hurry up.

Don't forget my name, your father's name,
where your home is.









1991, Gyeonggido Yangpyeong Dumulmeori

Such a young visitor.

Is that your mother next to you?


So, who brought you here?

My husband came here once...

Then what of your husband?

He's no longer here.

An ex-convict, released that day,
broke into our house.

And that's when your daughter
stopped talking?

My husband was...

He got tangled up
in a life about to end.

And how about you?

You should have stayed strong.

I will keep your daughter here.


She was born to be a shaman.

She will only be ridiculed
outside of the temple.


My name is Aeri.

What's your name?


- Aeri.

- Yes?

Is everything alright with
Eunkyung these days?


Yes.. ma'am.

Anything difficult?

She often wakes up in the middle of
the night, crying, but she seems alright.

Oh but sometimes.


She mumbles to herself sometimes,
as if she's talking to someone.

Like a lunatic?

Yes! Like a lunatic!



We need to clean all these.

Like this!

Um excuse me...

Are you talking to me?

Are you looking for someone?

No it's ok.

I've seen her
so I am going now.

Do you know her?

Too well.

But dear, who are you?

Excuse me.

An old man asked me
to give you a message.

Are you talking to me?

Yes. An old man in white shirt
and gray pants asked.

White shirt?

He told me to tell you
that he must leave soon.


He said he wrote a message for you
on the inside of the old wardrobe.

He said to read it
before it gets thrown out.


Who said that to you?


Oh father!




My daughter,

my daughter.

I am sorry to put you
through hardships for so long.


Please send my thanks to
your husband.





Does anyone know
where we are going?

I don't know,
they just took me...

Why are you all crying?
You make me feel bad...

I heard we are
all going to a shoe factory.

If that's so then
why aren't they telling us anything?

I am scared.

Where are you from?

From Sangju.

I'm from Geohchang.

Are you ok?

Why are you shivering?

Your body's on fire.

Come here.

What is this?

It's a good luck charm called

My mother made it for me.

Don't touch it.
It's my charm. I will get unlucky.

I envy you.

I don't have a mother.

She died giving birth
to my brother.


How old are you?

I'm fifteen. You?

I'm fifteen too.

Same age.

- Let's be friends?

- Sure.

You know, before I was taken away

I always wanted to travel to
Gyeongsung by train.


I have five younger siblings

and the youngest is only a baby.

I was so sick of them.

I have no siblings.
I am all alone.

Wow! Lucky.

Your parents
must have adored you.

No way!

My dad cherishes me
but my mom was mean to me.

Well I wish
I had a mom to tell me off.


Didn't your mother make
that for you?

Yes she did.

I know.

Every night after she hit me,
she rubbed my legs and said sorry.

I know she cared for me.

She touched my chest when I slept and told me
that I am all grown up and smiled.

Are you crying?


I don't cry.

My mom said if I stay strong,
I will return home.

I envy you.

Here. Just for once...

You need to give it back to me
when we get off the train.

No it's okay.

You keep it.

I got separated with so many girls
I've talked with on the way here.

So if we get separated

I think I will regret being
so mean to you.

so hold it.

Okay... Thank you...

Get off quickly!

Hey you, all of you here,
you there you,

you, and you there.

Get out!

Hurry up!

1943, Mudan River Jilin, China


Oh if it isn't you Songhee.

How have you been?

So the bad dream
I had last night foretold of your visit.

You will be in trouble
for teasing a shaman.

The fact that
I am alive is trouble in itself.

I better tease more.

Sister, I am here to be measured
for some new clothes.

You can still sew right?


Where is your son?

He's gone to the market.

By the way, who is she?

She's a new shaman
in our temple.


Would you fit her
a set of clothes too?

There.. all done.

- Her?
- Yes.

Auntie can you measure me too?

Your mother made
no mention of you.

More reason to measure me, too.

Eunkyung gets measured but not me?
I have seniority!

Give me that.

Give it to me quickly.

It's nice to finally meet you all.

This is where you will be
staying from now on.


From now on you will
only speak and hear Japanese.

You will call me Father

and call her Mother.

But.. what is this place?

Uh this is...

Can you speak Japanese?


How old are you?

Sixteen years old.

How old are you?


How old?


Let me go!

What are you doing?

Where are you taking mel!

I am only going to see
if you have any diseases so stay still.

Hey! Hey!

If you keep moving
you might get hurt.

You guys may go back to
your jobs now.

A fourteen year old virgin.


Hail to Great Japanese Emperor
Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!

I love it!

Come sit here.

It's okay.

It's okay.
Come here.

Come here.

Good! That's it.

This is how a real girl
should react.

She certainly has the spirit worthy of
being offered to The Great Imperial Army.

Hey. Is that you?

You asked me
where we were, right?

Why bother worrying over that?

We are all dead already.

This is hell.

Are you okay?
Are you?

Where am I?


Where's Aeri?

So you are okay.
Thank god.

You were in a deep sleep
so Uncle ll-gyu brought you here.

Do you remember
anything at all?

I don't remember a thing.

I see.

What are all these?

They are..

They are called Gwe-bul-no-ri-gae,
good luck charms.

When I touch this I see soldiers
and butterflies.


What kind of soldiers?

Soldiers with knives and guns?

I think.. I saw the Gwe-bul-no-rio-gae
you made in my dreams.

- Yoshio.
- Yes, sir.

Hey Danaka.

- Yes!
- Yes?

- Enemies!
- It's an attack!


Gol Go!


Kill them allll


You filthy Korean Shit!

What are you doing?

I am going to make
a wench wear this.

You idiot.

Who are these bastards?

Now, now,
there'll be a room open soon.

It's my turn.

I will have the best arrangements
for you, soon, sir.

Shut up you bastard!

Yoshimi is dead.
Because of you filthy Koreans!

Okay, okay, go in!

Wear it.

I am sorry, I am sorry.
Please forgive me.

- I am sorry, I am sorry.
- Put it on!

Forgive me.

Wear it!

Put it on!

Fucking bitch!

Okay. Okay!

I will wear it.
Please don't be angry.



Would you please sit there?

Take a break for 10 minutes.

No, I will get in trouble.

It's because of this right?

I will put the coupon here.

To be honest...

I came here because I was curious.

but when I saw you,
all those thoughts disappeared.


You look a lot like my sister.

Many say that.

Some say that
I look like their mother.


That's probably because we are scared
that may die at any moment.

What's your name?


No..not that name...

What's your real name?

I don't know.

There's no time.

Using Korean is banned.

Brother, come here.

Come down.
Come here.

Mr. Kuroda.

You know she's insane.

Please go easy on her.

I will give you
some special service later.

so please let us women
be alone for ten minutes. Please?

Will there be any problems?

You know how long
I have been here.

I assure you nothing will happen.


Don't cause any trouble.

Yes sir.

You imbecile.

You will be the death of me.

What happened to her?

She's a poor little thing.


One day another unit that her
own brother was in, came to the station.


Brother! Let me go!


No! Brother! Brother!!

Apparently, she calls every soldier
she sees her 'brother'

and gets all excited thinking
they are her brother.

That's too bad...

Well, but isn't
the weather great today?

Nice and cool.

What nonsesel

That wench will live happy
wherever she goes.

Nice and cool' my ass.

Hey, it's better than
dark rainy days.

Save your mouths for eating.

What's next, then?

You just had to fart here!

Take a dump
while you are at it.

You wench.

Did you eat eggs or something?

Gees, smells terrible...

Oh it's freezing!

Weren't you at a courtesan house
back at Pyeongyang?


Then sing us a song
while they are not around.

Listen well.

Would you go

Would you go without me

Would you go and
leave me here alone

How could I live on my own,
if you leave me here alone

What should I do

Would you go

Would you go without me

Would you go and
leave me here alone

If I hold you down here,
you might not ever come back

What should I do

Now my love

I'll let you go

At last report,

we broadcasted the story of Haksun Kim,
a Comfort Women victim.

There's a new policy that
the Government has prepared for victims.

Reporter Minjung Kim.

To arrange measures for victims forcibly
taken during Japanese colonial era,

To arrange measures for victims forcibly
taken during Japanese colonial era,
the government will start accepting
registration from victims as of today.

the government will start accepting
registration from victims as of today.

Victims can register at
any country office, country wide,

and at the Korean National Red Cross,
from today until June 25th...

How can I help you today?


I am here to make a report.

What report?
Change of address?

That's not...um...

We need to report the results of
numbers of Comfort Women,

but there are none coming forward
in our jusrisdiciton.

Well, yeah,
it's a bit...to be honest...

I knew there will be none.

Who would reveal such past unless you are
an insane lunatic or something, right?

What's wrong?

Can I help you with something?



That insane lunatic!

So what are you gonna do?!l!


Are you okay?

Ah, my tummy hurts.

You ate too quickly...

Hold on.

I will go and find medicine.



Who's there?

What do you mean?

Aren't you Damako?

It's me Natsue.
Get a hold of yourself.

Hey! Look.

They are already
swarming like a pack of dogs.

All done. Get out.

Move faster.




But I..I told you
I am on my period today..

Come on.

Do you want other girls
to die because of you?

How is it? How is it?

Hey you guys!

I am going down
to the camp for a minute.

Don't you all dare cause
any troubles and stay put.



Are you okay?
Hurt anywhere?

Gosh you are all alive!

Are you okay?
Were you hit a lot?

This is nothing compared to
what you look like.

I don't see Manduk.

So the girl who tried to
escape before, she died?

There was a gun shot
that night.

That was the sound of her death.

How do you know that?

Mr Godama told me..

Oh that gorilla who likes you?

He's not gorilla.
It's Godama.

He's alright.

No reason to have
feelings for animals.

He's one of Japanese
that trampled us.

No Mr Godama is different.

He said he will take me to his home
and marry me when the war is over.

You idiot! As if!

Don't listen to him.

The war will be over soon.

Don't trust anyone but us.

We should find a way
to get out of here.

A way? How?


Break it up over there.


What's wrong with her?


Can you distinguish the differences?
Of first and not?

At first. I wasn't able to tell
difference of girls having first period.

But time fixes all.
You can tell by seeing it often.

Doctor! Please come quickly!

My little girl is all grown up.

on becoming an adult.

Mommy Mommy!

I will show you how to wear
this when you wake up

and how to wash with it salt.

Mommy... Mommy

Look at you...

Calling mommy mommy like
a calf looking for its mother.

You are no longer a child.


I told you to
keep your eyes on her!

Well, we have no choice.

I have to go report
so clean up here.

Yes, sir.

Please come in.

How are you doctor?

Have you been well?

So how am I?

Am I getting worse?

If you look here, the tumour
got a little bigger than last time

At this point,
surgery is pointless..


How long do I have left?

I know it's a weird question
from such an old woman...

No, no. I will prescribe medicines
so please take them.

And if you feel unwell,
come back at any time..

Have a sit dear..

Must you make an old woman like me.
come all the way here?

What's up?
You should have called me..

I just wanted to see you.

Oh, this is so heavy.

Where are the kids?

Eunkyung? Aeri?

Look at you!
Calling Eunkyung first.

Well I am not sure
where they are.

Do they ever fight?

No way!
They are like sisters.

Good for them.

What's wrong?
You have a family too.

Well yes...I have a son.
An adopted son..

Is there something wrong?


So there is.

Oh, I know that look.

I told you to not to use
your psychic powers on me.

It's just that I am reminded of my
old friend when I see Aeri and Eunkyung.

Are you talking about
back then?

It's not like you to
talk about the past.

I have a favor to ask.

- Did you come alone?
- Yes.

Thought I'd never see you again.

This is a simple map.


It may seem quiet but
there are eyes watching everywhere.

We will live.

We will not die but live.

Oh.. but..
Will Bunsuk really help us?

Don't worry.
Just follow me.

Just wait.

- What's up?!
- Hey come over here.

A Korean bitch has gone mad!

Are you crazy?
Shut up!

Shut up!

Shut up!

Hey Noriko.

Where is this Katsko girl?

We'll find her
around here somewhere.

So then you don't know
where she is?

- Go find her!
- Yes sirl

Catch the escapee!

Where is Okboon?

Where did she go?

Where did we lose her?

I thought she was right behind me.

Sister!! Okboon!!

Did you escape alone?

Answer mel!

I came alone.

Let's head back for now.
There may be enemies soldiers around.

Okay, we will return for now.

I will go back and check.

What are you talking about?

Okboon will die
if we leave her here alone.

But Jungmin...
We will all die if we go back.

You said you have
many siblings to take care of.

So just go

And you?

Don't you miss your parents
who are waiting anxiously for your return?

I am...


Is it true that
there are escapees?

Yes, sir.

We have been searching but it has gotten
too dark so we might stop searching for now.


Report any movements
right away.

I am returning
to my quarters.

Yes, sir.

Some commander..

I could smell alcohol
on him from a mile away.


We found her
lying in the woods.

We believe she had accomplices
but she won't talk.

- Accomplice?
- Yes.

We think
there are other escapees.

Get out! Hurry up!

What is happening?
What is the meaning of this?

This bitch was caught escaping

and I know
there is an accomplice in here.


So tonight.
Until I find the accomplice.

I'm gonna have some fun
with all of you.


Did you know
that bitch was escaping?

No I didn't.

Wrong answer.


I didn't,
please I really didn't.

Wrong answer.

Did you know or not?

I had no idea.

Look at this.

How dare you speak Korean?


- There is one missing.
- Which one?

The one that was
at the lieutenant's quarters.

- Hey Ryuske.
- Yes, sir.

Tourture these bitches all night
and don't let a single one inside.

And for this escapee, lock her up and
do not give her even a single sip of water.

Yes, sir.

Everybody up!

Hey, take them off.

Take off quickly!

Hurry up and take it off

You take it off tool!

You tool Filthy bitch!

You guys are
not even human beings.

But only bitches for
the Imperial soliders.

If this happens again.

I will kill you all.

- Let's head back.
- Yes, sir

Where are they going?

That Chinese girl was always sick
so she couldn't even take in soldiers.

They are going to get
medical treatment.

Says who?

I heard
they couldn't be treated here

so they are being
transferred to a bigger unit.

Let's go! Hurry up!

Where are we going now.

I don't speak Chinese...

Do you want to know
where we are going?

I am getting too far away
from home... What do I do...

I never thought you would
the source of my strength.

Walk faster.

Stop there.

- Bring them quickly!
- Go!

Kneel down.

Hurry up.

Kneel down!

Put your hands behind
your head.

Hurry up.


Hirose, Matsuda, Danaka.

Come forward.

Guns up!




- Burn him with them.
- Yes, sir.

Are you okay?

I'm only telling you this but

this illness is
actually just made up.

It's nothing compared to
what happened to me before.


Would you be
my granddaughter until I die?

I don't recognise a thing.

The tree there.

And field here.. all gone.


I shouldn't have come.

This is no longer my hometown.

I bought a camera.
I will take a photo of you.

No I don't take photos.

Come on. Just one photo.

I said nol!

But it's a picnic.

Photos will be
the only memories left.

Memories left?

Not disappearing?


Let's take
photos Eunkyung, let's.


Say Kimchi!

Are you okay?

Sister! Sis!
Are you okay?!

Something's wrong.

We need to get out of here.

But they said not to move.

No I saw it all.

The soldiers are not fighting.
They are retreating.

There are no guards either.


Come outside.


Is there something wrong?

Orders from the Command!

- Get them on the truck!
- Yes, sir

- Get off the truck!
- Hurry! Hurry!

Quickly! Quickly!

Hurry! Hurry!

Where are we going?

No! Please!
I will take care of her!

Gol Go!

Hang in there.
Come with me.

Together, okay?


Sis, you know
what this is, right?

If you have this,
nothing bad will ever happen.

It's not a lie, sis

Sis, hold my hand.

Hello dear

Dead spirit

You better listen to what I'm saying

Nobody was born in this world by own will

Only by the grace of all Mighty

born with father's bones and mother's flesh

But died away from home

and regained new life under the grace

from Buddha in Jeseok Temple






Fight back.

Charge forward!

- Yoshio! dispose of women!
- Yes, sir!




Did we survive?

Did we escape?

You filthy bitches.

I will drag you to
hell with me.

Prepare to be damned!

- Are you okay?
- You are okay right?

Yes I am fine.

Let's.. let's go home.

Let's go back home.

Good bye sister.

Jungmin!! Jungmin...

Get up!

Jungmin. Get up...

Please, open your eyes.

Don't shut your eyes!!

You are hurting my ears..

It's all over.
Let's go home.

I will follow...a little later.

No..Let's go together.

Get up. Get up...

Get up I said!!!



I...I returned alone.

I am so sorry...
so very sorry... Jungmin.

It's okay.
I am here now.

Since the day
I left you there and till now.

I... I was there too.

My body may have returned.

But my heart never did,

It will all be over soon, right?

I am just thankful that
you called me here... to come home.

I got so old, didn't I?

You look just the same...
As you were.

Thanks to Gwe-bul-no-ri-gae
you gave me.

I was able to hide without
being seen by anyone.

Sis, you can come out now.

Can I really?

I can't find you...
wherever you are.

Just wait.

I will finish my picnic here
and I will come to you soon.

Don't rush.

Eat plenty of wonderful food,
do fun things, then come.

Are you going to sleep?

Why am I so sleepy?

Lying here makes me so drowsy.

Are you asleep?


Are you asleep?


Are you?

Let us start.

It's the spirits' homecoming ritual.

She's making
the path for spirits to return.

Go and tell everyone.

Get some water, quickly!

Wake up.

It's time to go home.

A-ri-rang A-ra-ri-yo

A-ri-rang, you're going over the hill

Leaving me here alone,
my dear

You will get troubles before going far

A-ri-rang A-ra-ri-yo

A-ri-rang, you're going over the hill

You here now?

Yes I am here.

Come and eat.

Let's eat!

We dedicate this film to all the victims of
Japan Military Sexual Slavery 'Comfort Women'.

This movie was produced through support from 75270 people.

The pictures following are drawn by
Japanese Military Sexual Slavery 'Comfort Women' victims

during Art Psychological Theraphy held at The House of Sharing