Hitomi Soga

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Hitomi Soga
Born (1959-05-17) May 17, 1959 (age 59)
Disappeared12 August 1978 (age 19)
Other namesMin Hye-gyeong
Known forKidnapping victim
  • Mika Soga-Jenkins (daughter)
  • Brinda Soga-Jenkins (daughter)
Charles Robert Jenkins
(m. 1980; died 2017)

Hitomi Soga-Jenkins (Japanese: 曽我ひとみ Soga Hitomi, born May 17, 1959) is a Japanese woman who was abducted to North Korea together with her mother, Miyoshi Soga, from Sado Island, Japan, in 1978.[1] She married Charles Robert Jenkins,[1] an American defector to North Korea, in 1980. Charles Robert Jenkins died in 2017, Hitomi currently lives in Japan with her children.

Abduction and life in North Korea[edit]

Soga, a nurse, was abducted from her hometown of Mano-cho, now part of the city of Sado, Niigata, on August 12, 1978,[1] and taken to North Korea to train agents in Japanese customs and language. Her then 46-year-old mother, Miyoshi, disappeared at the same time and has not been heard from since.[1] The North Koreans gave Soga the Korean name Min Hye-gyeong (Korean: 민혜경). She met Jenkins in early July 1980, when he was asked to teach her English, and they married on August 8, 1980. They had two daughters,[1] Mika and Brinda.[2][3][4]


Soga was one of a group of five Japanese abductees whom North Korea allowed to visit their homeland in September 2002. Though the trip was intended to be brief, she, like her four companions, never returned to North Korea. She and many Japanese called on North Korea to release family members who had been left behind. On July 9, 2004, Soga was reunited with her husband and two daughters in Jakarta, Indonesia, which had been chosen as a neutral venue to allay fears that Jenkins would be arrested.[5] The family came to Japan on July 18, 2004.[6]

Jenkins was court-martialed and incarcerated for "desertion" at a U.S. military installation in Japan for 26 days then released. According to media reports, the family settled in Soga's hometown of Mano, on Sado Island.[7]

In October 2012, she reportedly pleaded with the North Korean government for the release of her mother and other abductees.[8][9]


Soga was played by Horikoshi Nori in Saikai ~Yokota Megumi-san no Negai~

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Kirby, Michael Donald; Biserko, Sonja; Darusman, Marzuki (7 February 2014). "Report of the detailed findings of the commission of inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea - A/HRC/25/CRP.1". United Nations Human Rights Council: 299 (Paragraph 940–942). Archived from the original on February 27, 2014. 940. Ms Soga and her mother were abducted from Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture, Japan, on their way home from shopping. The DPRK has acknowledged the abduction of Ms Soga Hitomi, but not that of her mother Mrs Soga Miyoshi. Ms Soga Hitomi was permitted to return to Japan in 2002 after the acknowledgment of her abduction.
    In the DPRK, Ms Soga Hitomi was married to Mr Charles Jenkins, one of the five US Army deserters who crossed over to the DPRK from their posts in the ROK voluntarily after the Korean War. Mr Jenkins - who deserted his post in the ROK in 1965 – reports having lived in close proximity to the three US nationals who crossed over to the DPRK before him, Mr Larry Allen Abshier (1962), Mr James Joseph Dresnock (1962) and Mr Jerry Wayne Parrish (1963). According to Mr Jenkins, the four were closely monitored and managed with their freedom of movement seriously constrained. The four unsuccessfully attempted to escape in 1966 by seeking asylum in the Russian Embassy, after which they were convinced there was no chance they could leave the DPRK. They had crossed voluntarily, but found themselves trapped in captivity. Mr Jenkins and the couple’s two daughters were able to reunite with Ms Soga in Japan in 2004.
    Ms Soga, who was only 19 at the time of her abduction, was detained at the same location as Ms Yokota Megumi during the first year after her arrival. Although the two were closely monitored and prevented from communicating in Japanese together, they became close.
  2. ^ From Hell With Love, TIME, October 24, 2005
  3. ^ Seales, Rebecca (14 December 2017). "US defector's extraordinary N Korea love story" – via www.bbc.com.
  4. ^ "American who defected to North Korea dies". 12 December 2017 – via www.bbc.com.
  5. ^ Japan abductee meets family again, BBC News Online, 9 July, 2004
  6. ^ Alleged deserter arrives in Japan, CNN.com, July 18, 2004
  7. ^ Army deserter leaves Japanese town for first visit to U.S. in 40 years, Associated Press, USA Today, June 13, 2005
  8. ^ 10 years after, former abductees still trying to erase the horrors of North Korea Archived 2012-10-19 at the Wayback Machine, Asahi Shimbun, October 15, 2012
  9. ^ Soga calls for abductees' return, Japan Times, October 8, 2012

External links[edit]