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Inspired by True History

Eight-year-old refugee Hannah makes friends with Emiko aboard a luxury cruise liner while escaping Nazi Germany for Shanghai; what will happen to their friendship when Japan joins the Axis?

LAST SHIP EAST is a coming-of-age story about the shared human need for belonging across cultures, even in a world of division and isolation.



HANNAH, Jewish, 8

Having spent weeks fleeing the Nazis, 8-year-old Hannah and her parents board a Japanese luxury ocean liner sailing to Shanghai.

Hannah’s spirit never breaks, even after the Nazis took away her home and everything with it. She sees her family’s journey to the East as an adventure - a once-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the vast ocean and exotic lands, with endless chocolate pretzels waiting at the other end. But Hannah’s pure heart sometimes also translates to naivety and recklessness.

When the radiant bubble of Emiko’s friendship pops, Hannah learns to face the loss of her homeland and the sense of belonging that comes with it for the first time.

EMIKO, Japanese, 9

Emiko and Hannah’s boundless imagination and youthful exuberance allow them to click instantly. Growing up as a diplomat’s only daughter, Emiko lives a charmed life where she is protected and doted upon. Her experience with many different cultures makes her comfortable with the fact that Hannah is clearly not from the same world as her. 


Because Emiko cares for Hannah, she wants to adopt Hannah into her worldview with its many rules and luxuries. Little does she know that external forces have created a chasm between them that no amount of playfulness or care can bridge.

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