Jerry Hays has written:
As you may recall, Paul Murayama, member of the 1964 US Judo Olympic Team and coach of USA Judo Olympic team in 1980 and 1984, wrote a book called Escape from Manchuria: The Rescue of 1.7 Million Japanese Civilians Trapped in Soviet-occupied Manchuria Following the End of World War available on Amazon.
The book deals with Paul’s father and others who were the movers in rescuing 1.7 million Japanese Civilian out of Manchuria and back to Japan.
This book was published in English and a year later translated into Japanese.
Now this book is being made into a two-part TV series in Japan. Here is the announcement:
Announcing the Start of Production of “Doko Ni Mo Nai Kuni” (A Country That Is Nowhere)
Starring Seiyo Uchino as the Main Character
At the end of World War II, there was a group of men who risked their lives to bring about the repatriation to Japan of over 1,500, 000 Japanese who were stranded in the former Empire of Manchuria. This is the story of the desperate struggle of those men to bring about the return to the homeland of their fellow countrymen abandoned by their own country – and it is the story of the love of their wives who supported the men’s efforts. Helplessly tossed about by the complicated situation of conditions of the cold war (following WWII), how did the repatriation (of Japanese) that has been called nothing but miraculous come about?
This postwar secret story that has been hidden from history is set to become a major drama program on a major scale that will include settings in China!
The main characters appearing in the drama
Kunio Maruyama (to be played by Seiyo Uchino)
He went to the United States to study after graduating (in Japan) with a major in political economics. He had planned to pursue a study in political science, but feeling abhorrence to the restriction of free speech under the control of the military, he decided to break new grounds in Manchuria. During the war, he was employed by Manchurian Steel Manufacturing Company in Anshan. Greatly impressed by the book “Utopia” (by Saint Thomas Moore), he works diligently and is not deflected from pursuing the principles he believes in. At the end of the War, he plotted his escape out of Manchuria as he observed the desperate situation of his fellow countrymen.
Mariko Maruyama (to be played by Yoshino Kimura)
A Japanese–American Nisei who married Maruyama while he was studying in the United States. Her American name is Mary Takeda. During WWII, even though she was the mother of four young children, she sent Maruyama off on his escape without any complaint about her own fears, and evacuated with her children to Dalian to seek refuge. After Maruyama’s escape (out of Manchuria), she protected her children with her strong determination and her love.
Shinpo Hachiro (to be played by Taizo Harada)
Due to his great confidence and genius as a businessman, he became the president of Shinpo‐gumi, a construction company that had 17 branches throughout Manchuria. In July, just before the end of the War, he was drafted into the Army in the desperate “uprooting conscription system”; upon learning of Japan’s defeat, he escaped from his army unit and returned to Anshan where his family awaited him eagerly. Invited by Maruyama to join in his escape, his initiative and his material assets are indispensable in the escape effort.
Matsu Shinpo (to be played by Renbutsu Misako)
Shinpo Hachiro’s wife. Mother of two boys. At one time, she becomes desperate, fearing that her husband’s escape had failed, but with encouragement from Mariko Maruyama, she carries on bravely as a mother. While hiding her identity in Dairen, her true identity comes into jeopardy, but the Catholic Church in Dairen comes to her rescue by protecting her (and her family).
Masamichi Musashi (to be played by Mitsushima Shinnosuke)
An employee of Shinpo’s company, Shinpo‐gumi. Fluent in Chinese. And he is devoted to Shinpo. Possessing a fair‐minded character, he is called Wuzan (the Chinese reading of his name) and is adored by the native Chinese. With his fluency in Chinese, he comes up with many clues for their escape. Later, disregarding personal danger, he returns to Manchuria and is suspected as a spy and undergoes brutal torture and hovers between life and death.
Ayao Kishimoto (played by Tsurutaro Kataoka)
Chairman of Manchurian Steel Manufacturing. A former Army four–star general, he became the mayor of Tokyo. At the end of World War II, he strives to insure the safety of Manchurian Steel Manufacturing Company’s employees and their families, but is placed under custody of the Soviet Army and is later placed under arrest of the Communist Chinese Army. When Maruyama reports his plans o escape to Kishimoto from Manchuria, Kishimoto recommends Shinpo as a co–conspirator.
Shigeru Yoshida (played by Kenichi Hagiwara)
A former deputy foreign minister and former Ambassador to Great Britain. At the end of WWII, he was not a government official, but since his predecessor was removed, he filled the Foreign Minister’s position. The next year, he became the Prime Minister. Before the War, while he was the Ambassador to Great Britain, he came to know Maruyama while Maruyama was traveling throughout Europe. When Maruyama appeals for the repatriation Japanese (from Manchuria), Yoshida advises Maruyama that, because Japan under occupation policies had no foreign diplomacy rights, Maruyama should rouse up grass roots support for his cause. Yoshida gives support from the sidelines.
OUTLINE OF THE DRAMA
The former Empire of Manchuria under Soviet occupation. With all assets confiscated, assaulted by pillaging and violence, and with all means of communication with Japan completely severed, the Japanese people were abandoned in desperate darkness. Plotting to find a way out of the extremely desperate situation (in which approximately 2400 were losing their lives daily) were a few unknown ordinary citizens. Kunio Maruyama (Seiyo Uchino) decides for himself that he himself needs to be the messenger who escapes to Japan to appeal about the desperate conditions and move Japan, and move the United States of America, to action. Maruyama was fluent in English. Hachiro Shinpo (Taizo Harada) was an entrepreneur who had personal wealth. Masamichi Musaahi (Shinnosuke Mitsushima) was an energetic young man fluent in Chinese. The three that formed a team left their wives and families behind in Manchuria, and after overcoming several life and death situations, finally succeeded in their escape. The three appealed for early repatriation directly to Shigeru Yoshida (Kenichi Ogihara) and to MacArthur, and the three made an appeal via radio for the urgent need for immediate repatriation, thus greatly rousing up the populace for action. At long last, the repatriation of over one million Japanese left behind in Manchuria became reality. In that number was Maruyama’s wife Mariko (Yoshino Kimura) as well as Shinpo’s wife Matsu (Misako Renbutsu). However, hardly any Japanese left behind in Manchuria had any way of knowing anything about the three men who persevered so hard to save them.
Seiyo Uchino’s Comments
I did not know that, when Japan was defeated, such tragic conditions were taking place in Manchuria. Or that there were those men who rose up to be saviors in those tragic situations. In something as enormous as in the ebb and flow of history or in a superpower super nation, a single individual’s power may be miniscule, but the sense of justice and determination, as well as the ideal and dream of the man named Maruyama who rose to action – I feel that this will be a production from which I can receive an abundance of spirit. In particular, I want to strive to make this drama to be realistic and vivid about an ordinary indistinct person who weaves a once in a lifetime drama adventure; with those deep thoughts, I want to give my all in my acting. I ask you please to look forward to the two nights for this major production.
Feature Drama: “A Country That Is Nowhere”
Part 1: March 24, 2018 (Sat.) NHK General Broadcast at 9 PM
Part 2: March 31, 2018 (Sat.) NHK General Broadcast at 9 PM
Director: Sumio Omori
Origination: From 満州 奇跡の脱出
（Escape from Manchuria) by Paul Kuniaki Maruyama
Overall Production Coordinator: Takashi Nakamura (NHK)