The Invitation-Only Zone: The Japanese abducted by North Korea

Robert  Dujarric's picture
January 11, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Asian History / Studies, East Asian History / Studies, Human Rights, Japanese History / Studies


The Invitation-Only Zone: The Japanese abducted by North Korea

Date:Thursday, January 11, 2018
Time: 7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (doors open at 7:00 p.m.)
Venue:Temple University, Japan Campus, Azabu Hall 1F Parliament (access:

Speaker: Robert S. Boynton, Professor of Journalism and Director of Literary Reportage, NYU
Moderator: Robert Dujarric, Director of ICAS
Admission: Free. Open to the public.
Language: English
RSVP:  (RSVP is not required, but encouraged)


NYU Journalism professor Robert Boynton will speak about the eight years he spent reporting on the abduction issue and the challenge of explaining it to an English speaking audience. Rather than focusing on one aspect (history, human rights, diplomacy, activism) The Invitation-Only Zone tells “the story of the story” of how a series of 1970s era kidnappings became the “abduction issue.” Boynton concludes that a sense of loss lies at the emotional heart of the issue, both for the families of the missing, and for the Japanese nation as a whole. Although little progress has been made on an international level, the abduction issue has become a fixture in Japanese domestic politics. Boynton worries that the abductions are being reduced to a symbolic historical grievance, joining the group of international disputes--over the Comfort Women, Dokdo/Takeshima, Senkaku/Diaoyu--that China, Japan and the Koreas routinely sling against each other.


Robert S. Boynton directs NYU’s Literary Reportage concentration. He graduated with honors in philosophy and religion from Haverford College, and received an MA in political science from Yale University. He is author of The New New Journalism and The Invitation Only Zone (2016), and has written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine and many other publications.

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