Episode available within Canada only.

On October 17, 2014, Atsumi Yoshikubo arrived in Yellowknife, Canada, from Japan and checked into the Explorer Hotel. Over the next few days, she visited a gift shop and a tourist information centre where she made inquiries about viewing the aurora borealis – the main attraction for Japanese tourists visiting the Northwest Territories. Five days after she arrived, Atsumi went walking along the main road heading out of the city and was never seen again.

expanse of highwayAtsumi was last seen walking down the Old Ingraham Trail Highway.

THE MISSING TOURIST tells the story of Atsumi Yoshikubo’s mysterious disappearance and the urgent missing person investigation that followed, with the RCMP ultimately – and controversially – concluding that the 45-year-old doctor “arrived in Yellowknife with a plan to go into the wilderness alone and become a missing person.”

When the RCMP made their surprising announcement just nine days into the search, few in Yellowknife could make sense of it. For a tourist to go missing was almost unheard of. Over the course of the missing person investigation, several facts emerged that made Atsumi’s case particularly unusual. While thousands of Japanese tourists visit Yellowknife every year, they usually travel in groups, and typically on pre-arranged tours.

SCENE FROM THE FILM: Yellowknife is the best place in the world to see the northern lights.

Atsumi came alone. She also came during the off-season, when higher than normal cloud coverage makes it difficult to see the aurora. In fact, most tour companies do not even operate in October. Atsumi’s “planned disappearance” was also unusual because she had left belongings in her hotel room – including souvenirs from a local gift shop – which suggested she was going to return.

Shortly after the search was called off, the Japanese media – where the story had been leading TV newscasts – reported that Atsumi had sent a note to a friend before she left Japan that suggested she might end her life in Yellowknife. But even the source of the report, Atsumi’s brother, questioned the veracity of the note, as well as its consistency with the facts of the case. His skepticism was fueled by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who wouldn’t share with him any further details from the note, nor would they reveal its recipient.

Trail in Yellowknife woodsAtsumi may have disappeared into the Yellowknife woods.

The community of Yellowknife was devastated by Atsumi’s disappearance, with many remaining unconvinced by the notion that she had done so intentionally. People are still haunted by her memory, which continues to raise questions that can never be fully answered. 

MORE:
Bizarre Stories About Tourists Who Went Missing Far From Home
Looking for Atsumi: A moment by moment look at her disappearance

THE MISSING TOURIST sheds new light on the investigation and goes beyond the events covered in the news to find out what really happened to Atsumi Yoshikubo. Tracing Atsumi’s journey from a small prefecture in southern Japan to the wilderness of the Northwest Territories – including interviews with family, friends and colleagues in Japan as well as media, police officials and members of the community in Yellowknife who were among the last to see her – the film attempts to bring a sense of closure to one of the most unsettling mysteries of the Canadian North in recent memory.

 

Credits (Click to expand)

Written and Directed by
Geoff Morrison

Produced by
Geoff Morrison

Edited by
Andres Landau

Cinematography by
Daniel Grant
Catherine Lutes
John Price

Original Music Composed by
Todor Kobakov

Production Supervisor
Nadia Tavazzani

Associate Producer
Paul Aucoin
Nicole Donaldson

Japan Fixer and Translator
Chie Matsumoto

Sound Recordist
Paul Aucoin

Aerial Cinematography by
John Price
Jay Bulckaert
Pablo Saravanga

Yellowknife Camera Assistant
Pablo Saravanga

Yellowknife Production Assistant
Curtis Mandeville

Production Assistant
Tess Girard

Additional Sound Recording
Terry Woolf
Nelson Milley

Additional Music by
Dylan Heming

Post-Production Supervisor
Andres Landau

Visual Effects and Titles
Ryan V. Hays

Colourist
Zachary Cox

Sound Mix and Design
Finlay Braithwaite and Marcel Ramagnano

Assistant Editor
Angelina Friskney

Online Editor
Andres Landau

Story Consultant
Yung Chang

Visual Research
Michelle Demeyere
Geoff Morrison

Japan Research
Chie Matsumoto
Yumi Shioda
Miyuki Tokoi
Ikumi Yoshida

Translators
Miho Enomoto
Megumi Furihata
Kozue Matsumoto
Akane Yokoyama
KAN Communications

Copy Editor
Justin Go

Production Accountant
Paul Aucoin

Additional Accounting Services
Jimmy Ye, Kudlow McCann

Legal Services
Brenda Blake

Insurance
Front Row Insurance

Interim Financing by
National Bank of Canada

Publicity
Michelle Brykman
Andrea Grau
Jess Harris

Transcribers
Mariam Zaidi
Julia Morgan
Veronika Paz

Archival Footage, Audio and Images Provided by:
CBC Archive Sales / Archives Radio-Canada
Yellowknifer / Northern News Services
Kumamoto Kenmin Television
Yellowknife RCMP
Northern Frontier Visitors Centre
Facebook
Hirokai Miyahara
Fuji Television Network
TomoNews
NHK

Special Thanks
Nicole Donaldson
Charlotte Engel
Christina Carvalho
Victory Social Club
Fifth Town Films
Artless Collective
Western Arctic Moving Pictures
Erin Brohman
Andrew Pacey
Shannon Scott
Randy Henderson
Juanita Taylor
Karen McKinley
Seiji Suzuki
Ricki Shimada
Hiroyuki Deyama
The Kitchen (Kumamoto band)
Ali Sunderji
Esty Shulman
Benjamin Errett
Matthew Hannam
Annie Bedard

And all of the participants in the film

For the CBC

General Manager, Programming
Sally Catto

Executive Director, Unscripted Content
Jennifer Dettman

Senior Director, Documentary
Sandra Kleinfeld

Executive in Charge of Production
Charlotte Engel

Director of Production, Unscripted Content
Alexandra Lane

Director of Finance, Unscripted Content
Julie Lawlor

Produced with the Participation of the Canada Media Fund

Produced with the Participation of the Canadian Film and Video Tax Credit

Produced with the Participation of the Ontario Media Development Corporation Tax Credit

CFM

Produced in Association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Big Cedar Films Inc.

2017 Copyright BCF Forest Inc.
 

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