From the Shadows – Documentary Reveals Japanese State-Supported International Parental Kidnapping

FROM THE SHADOWS – Documentary Film

Directed by Matt Antell, David Hearn 2012
At the Philadelphia Film Festival 2012

Run time: 90 min. | Japan, USA | Language: English

This documentary follows the heart-wrenching stories of five different parents whose children have been abducted by their other parent to Japan, a country whose government has been widely criticized for treating  abduction and brutality towards children as  “family matters” rather than as crimes. The film demonstrates ways in which the government of Japan is in league with a network of child abductors.


Parental abduction to and within Japan is one of the most talked about social issues in the country today, and one of the top five bilateral issues between the US and Japanese governments. Japanese immigrants from around the world kidnap their children to Japan because of their inadequate family court system and lack of punishment for such acts, giving the parents left behind  no chance of regaining custody.

From the Shadows follows five parents going to the greatest lengths to reunite with their children. It includes interviews with actual children who have been abducted, and perspectives from psychologists, lawyers, lawmakers, and other experts on the subject.
Don’t miss the documentary that’s been talked about on CNN, ABC News, and the Today Show, as well as screened on Capitol Hill. It’s a compelling film that will also educate you on this alarming social issue.

2012 Philadelphia Film Festival
5:00 PM Tue, Oct 23
Prince Music Theater
7:35 PM Sat, Oct 27
Ritz East – Theater B

From the Shadows

If you or anyone you know is in the Philadelphia area, or will be at that time, PLEASE urge them to attend the screening and bring as many friends and family members as possible! Support this film if you can!

6 thoughts on “From the Shadows – Documentary Reveals Japanese State-Supported International Parental Kidnapping

    1. Because the Japanese state by its family law practice essentially produces the complete separation of parents and children and the ruin and destruction of their bonds in divorce. If access to the other parent were encouraged, then the current law encouraging, condoning and supporting child abduction would no longer be necessary. The current law puts fear into the hearts of parents that if they allow access, they may lose their child to the other parent. If the law, on the other hand, firmly put into place the provisions necessary to guarantee both parents have access to the child, where *preventing access* was the crime that would bring about the increased risk of losing custody rights to the child, this would be a far more just and protective structure, rather than as it is now, where “allowing” access is what makes parents feel at risk. It is not difficult, if there is the will, to protect children from having ONE parent be given 100% life or death decision-making power over the other parent’s access to the child, and the child’s access to his or her other parent. It’s quite simple, and is what exists now throughout the United States (which is not by any means an ideal legal system! But in this case, it has a principle that is correct and is there to be utilized). The Japanese law very nearly forces lack of children’s access onto all of its divorcees. The numbers are in circulation; something close to 60 to 70 percent of Japanese children of divorce have NO meaningful access to their parent. It’s the law’s fault. It’s the system’s fault. It is an induced condition that has conditioned the responses and decisions of Japanese people to feel that it is justifiable to do this to children, despite its having been the practice for 40-something years.


  1. Congratulations on making a documentary about the countless children abducted to and within Japan. I would like to buy a copy or even better yet, have it screened here in Japan.
    There’s not a day that goes by for Brian and all the others…..that don’t think of what their children might be doing. We are all being robbed of sharing in our childrens lives.

    I will continue to support all those who need help within Japan to locate their children or need any documentation of cases etc.

    My Son Kai Endo lives in the same neighborhood Narita, Chiba. His mother continues to deny me access and her (Japanese Govt.) allows her to do so!

    All these children abducted and alienated in Japan need to know they are truly loved and that we wish we could be there with them and be loving nurturing parents.

    I’m glad there is a documentary to present this to the Global media and wish it tremendous success.

    Tim Johnston Narita,Chiba Japan
    Father of Kai Endo Narita,Chiba Japan
    (Alienating Mother) Keiko Endo Narita,Chiba Japan


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