45 years later, N.Y. Japanese Korean woman finds lost brother

October 17, 2014
Lee Tae-ki

Fujimoto’s brother Lee Tae-ki in an old photo

By Ham Ji-ha

In New York, an 81-year-old Japanese Korean woman, in increasingly poor health, sought out the help of the Korean Consulate General in hopes of finding her lost brother after 45 years.

It was Fujimoto’s wish to see her younger brother, Lee Tae-ki, before she dies.

The consulate came through — Fujimoto spoke to Lee on the phone for the first time since 1969 Tuesday.

Fujimoto and Lee were born to a Korean father and a Japanese mother. As World War I progressed, the family was separated. While Lee and her father were sent back to Korea, Fujimoto stayed in a Japanese countryside region.

She and her brother kept in touch through letters before completely losing touch.

Before long, Fujimoto married a Japanese man and immigrated to the United States. As she aged and as her health worsened, she longed for her brother — so much that she asked her daughter, Yuki, for help.

When Yuki reached out to the consulate in early July, Consul Park Ki-nam contacted police in Korea, who sent out a long-term missing persons team to look for Lee.

Three months later, good news arrived from Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do Province, where the team found Lee.

The consulate said it would provide help for the two siblings to finally meet in person.

“It’s difficult for Fujimoto to fly to Korea immediately, as her health is not well,” Park said. “Everyone is hoping to get them reunited as soon as possible, and the consulate will continue to cooperate with them.”

3 Comments

  1. MeeYun

    October 17, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    Beautiful. <3

  2. Pingback: After 45 Years, Japanese-Korean Siblings Speak - Voices of NY

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