“My son absolutely loved Japan. He used to say he wanted to become a bridge connecting Korea and Japan. I think this means a lot in the current political situation.”
NHK’s interview with Shin Yoon-chan, mother of late Lee Su-hyun, was broadcasted all across Japan on Saturday. Her remarks moved many Japanese even though Korea-Japan relations keep getting aggravated. Japanese people shared the news online and commented: “Unforgettable event. My tribute goes out to Lee,” or “I hope youngsters who don’t know about this story would learn about the incident.”
Lee, an overseas student from Korea, lost his life while rescuing a drunk person on the railroad at the Shin-Okubo Station in Tokyo on Jan. 26, 2001. Shin found the spot of incident and revered the memory of her son on Saturday, 18 years after the incident.
There is only one passage to the platform at the Shin-Okubo Station. Tens of passengers come and go on weekends, and the passage is packed with crowd. JR East Japan Railway Company controlled passengers for Shin so that she could remember her son in front of a wreath-laying table.
Shin went to the platform where the incident occurred. “I come here every year to see my son. Thank you for remembering my son and coming out here,” said Shin to people around her.
There have been many changes since Lee passed away. Screen doors are set up at the station right after the incident. LSH Asia Scholarship named after Lee was founded from donations of Japanese citizens. As of 2017, 844 students in 18 countries received a scholarship. A Japanese director produced a movie called "26 Years Diary" in 2006 based on Lee’s story.
Shin went to the Korean Cultural Center in Shinzuku and watched a documentary film "Bridges," which shows lives of bereaved families with 300 other Japanese citizens.