the true story of


Hay Algo Alla Fuera, Chile

Interview with Francisco Aravena, (There is Something Out There), October 18, 2016

The New York Times Book Review

“Boynton . . . gives us a riveting portrait of these bizarre kidnappings . . . His musings about Japan’s reaction to the abductions, ‘Japan’s 9/11,’ and the sudden realization ‘that the world was more dangerous than it had thought’ are cogent. His study of the ordeal that the abductees went through is moving.” — NYT

The New York Post

“One of the wildest plots of the 20th century was underway, one not even the most ardent conspiracy theorist could’ve conceived: North Korea, as part of a government program, was kidnapping young people by the thousands, housing them for decades in a barbed-wire compound known as the Invitation-Only Zone.” — Maureen Callahan

Mother Jones

“Boynton’s narratives… will remain with you long after closing this book.” – Becca Andrews

Foreign Affairs

“In dealing with North Korea, Japanese policymakers focus as much on what they call “the abductee issue” as on the issue of nuclear weapons. In the 1970s and 1980s, North Korean agents seized an unknown number—perhaps hundreds—of Japanese citizens from beaches and city streets, smuggling them to North Korea to serve as language instructors, potential spies, and in other roles that apparently were not well thought out. Some may have been killed so that their identities could be assumed by North Korean agents. Boynton vividly describes the bizarre experiences of some of the victims, who were forced to feign loyalty to the North Korean system—and in some cases actually came to support the regime of Kim Il Sung. So far, Pyongyang has allowed five abductees to return to Japan with their children and has identified eight who it claims have died of natural causes. This accounting has done little to satisfy Japanese public opinion, which is anxious about Japan’s vulnerability to its neighbor’s unpredictable acts. For its part, North Korea points out that during World War II, Japan abducted a far greater number of Korean citizens to serve in mines, on farms, and in factories, and many of them died or remain unaccounted for.” –Andrew J. Nathan

A look into North Korea’s ‘Invitation-Only Zone,’

March 24, 2016

Publishers Weekly

“Boynton has done his homework well, converting the suffering inflicted on a few dozen individuals into an eye-opening and surprisingly moving narrative.” – Publishers Weekly

Library Journal

“The book’s narrative switches back and forth between the life stories of individual abductees and the history of Japanese-Korean relations since the 19th century, helping to place the abductions in a larger context… An excellent work that is an optimal choice for both North Korea and Japan watchers.”

Interview with Columbia’s Weatherhead East Asia Institute

Robert S. Boynton Discusses His New Book About North Korea’s Abduction Project – Link

An Asia Pacific Memo “Behind the Book” interview

The APM’s editor Hyung-Gu Lynn sat down virtually Robert Boynton to ask some questions on the process of research and writing his book. – Link