Sorrow-stricken mother reunites with deceased daughter in virtual world

By Lim Chang-won Posted : February 7, 2020, 18:13 Updated : February 13, 2020, 11:41

[MBCdocumentary YouTube channel]

SEOUL -- A special TV documentary that depicted the tearful reunion of a sorrow-stricken mother and her daughter, who died of a rare incurable disease at the age of seven, in the virtual world has touched the hearts of many viewers in South Korea. 

"Maybe it's a real paradise," Jang Ji-sung, the mother of four children, said of the moment she met her deceased daughter, Nayeon. "I met Nayeon, who called me with a smile, for a very short time, but it's a very happy time. I think I've had the dream I've always wanted."

The MBC documentary titled "I Met You" aired on February 6. For eight months, the production team has used VR technology to implement Nayeon's face, body, and voice. The reunion took place in a park with memories of Jang and her daughter. The motion of a child model was recorded as motion capture and implemented on the monitor to reproduce the scene at a VR studio.

Nayeon, the third of Jang's children, passed away in 2016. The mother engraved Nayeon's name and birthday on her body to remember her daughter forever. Wearing a necklace with Nayeon's bone powder, she visits a charnel house once a month.

As a white butterfly flew and sat in one place, the sound of Nayeon's song was heard. Jang burst into tears when her daughter ran with the cry of "Mom" and said, "Where have you been, Mom? Did you think about me?"

Jang responded with a doleful voice, "I do all the time." As her daughter said, "I missed mom a lot," Jang replied, "I missed you, too." The mother was cautious to reach out to touch her daughter before Nayeon insisted, "mom, please hold my hand." Jang finally held her daughter's hand in her's with tears streaming down her face. Nayeon's father, brother and sister watched the encounter they've dreamed of at the side of the virtual stage, also crying. 

Then, a birthday party was held with seaweed soup and they lit candles on the birthday cake with Nayeon making a wish not to let her mother cry.

The mother has said she had decided to appear in the documentary to comfort "someone who has lost a child like me, or who has lost a brother or a parent." From the start of the broadcast to the next morning, more than 200,000 people have visited Jang's blog until it was closed. Her age and location were withheld.

"Three years later, I now think I should love her more than miss her and feel sick so that I can be confident when I meet her later. I hope many people will remember Nayeon after watching the show," Jang wrote on her blog.
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