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Culture of North Korea

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Stephanie Bauer

on 1 November 2013

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Transcript of Culture of North Korea

Culture of North Korea
North Korean Economy
The North Korean Currency is called "won"
All of the power to control the economy belongs to the government in power
Government controls all of the businesses and who is employed
Corporations that make money off of foreign exchange are run by the government to maintain full control over the economic system
The money produced through transactions with other countries is put into the military fund
Land is owned by the government. People can live on the land but it can be taken away at any time.
The elite group in North Korea keep Kim in power and he keeps a steady stream of income for them through the sale of illegal arms; as well as, legal goods.
North Korea and South Korea both share a language that is a part of the Altaic language family.

In North Korea, the alphabet is known as Chosungul.

The Koreans unique alphabet is considered to be one of the most efficient in the world, and has gained praise from several language experts for its scientific design and excellence.

In 1443, when the language was created, the alphabet contained 28 letters, and only 24 are in use today.

Literacy rate is high due to the language's simplicity.

English is taught at an early age as a second language
Arts & Literature
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Black Market
Two Different Black Markets
North Korea is a smaller nation who acquires most of its income from trade.
"A dictatorship of the people's democracy"
Influenced by Japanese rule
and Communist reign
Majority of literature
highlights are effects of the
Korean War and its
Literature from North Korea
is blended within its
distinctive and poorly
understood sociopolitical
Literature is severely
restricted and it serves a narrow political purpose
Art & Literature Contd
Production of arts and literature is controlled entirely by the state; however, there is quite a variety of art genres and distinct fashions that come and go over time
Since the 1960s, literature has been produced by state-salaried official writers whose novels and poems are often boring, repetitive, and focus on the same morals.
Arts and Literature Cont'd
North Korean literature is full of lifeless content; which is to be expected, given the little vocabulary the North Korean state makes available to the public.
Natasha, the White Donkey, and Me by Baek Seok (1912-1963)

Tonight the snow falls endlessly
because I, a poor man,
love the beautiful Natasha.

I love Natasha,
the snow falls endlessly,
and I sit alone, drinking rice wine.
Drinking rice wine, I think:

the night the snow falls endlessly
I would like to ride, with Natasha, upon a white donkey
to a remote, mournful mountain village and live in a cottage.

The snow falls endlessly.
I love Natasha.
Natasha must be coming.
She has already come in quietly and tells me:
“You throw away such a thing as the world because it’s muddled,
but going to a remote mountain doesn’t mean you lose it all.”

The snow falls endlessly,
the beautiful Natasha will love me,
and somewhere the white donkey, too, will cry out,
delighted with tonight.
After WW2 North Korea became USSR occupation zone
Established May 1, 1948 with Kim il Sung as president
Functions as a single-party state under a totalitarian family dictatorship
Described as an absolute monarchy with Kim il-sung and his heirs
Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un
Random Statistics
Population - 24.45 million
Male Life Expectancy - 64 years
Female Life Expectancy - 68 years
Literacy Rate - 99%
Active Duty Military - 1.19 million
Reservist Military - 5.7 million
Capital Punishment Executions in 2010 - 60
Nuclear Warheads - 2
% of population that is undernourished - 32%
Infant mortality rate - 2%
Labor Work Force Size - 10, 692, 240
Head of State
Kim Jong-Un
Since 2011
Prime Minister
Choe Yong-rim
Since 2010
The People
Selling weapons to Middle Eastern countries
Give things to the people of North Korea that the government will not provide
Resources mined in North Korea:
Tungsten Ore
Anthracite coal
Metallurgical Exports:
Major Import/Export partners:
2.South Korea
3.European Union
Work force is made up of adults who are forced to work in factories, small children, and students
Some are forced to work in factories with no pay or only symbolic payment
Will be punished if they do not show up for work
People who do not work or try to work are sent to work camps
Children are forced to go to work after school and work for no pay or small amounts of food
Social Organization
Divided Society
Wealthy Elite
Working Poor
Far More Common
Farmers who produce and manufacture for the state
rely on state for distribution of goods, wealth, and resources
Very small portion of the population
Make their money through political connections
An Isolated Nation
Keeping the nation
Ignorant, Obedient, and
Western Countries are seen as
, and
Human Rights;
a foreign concept
Government shows its control through how it handles what it considers dissidents or unwanted Minorities.

The government can execute people who are undesirable to them or speak out against them. (In front of millions of onlookers or in private)

Executions are so prevalent that North Korea is ranked third globally for its use of the death penalty.

Polar Opposites
Juche is the National Religion
Kim Il Sung = God
Kim Jong Il = Son of God
Taught that there are 2 lives
-Physical vs. political
Taught that political life is more important than physical life.
According to article 1 section 1, all North Koreans are required to worship Kim ll Sung with all their heart even after his death.
Forced to hang pictures of Kim Il Sung on the best wall of their family homes
Religious freedom is not allowed
A shaken Faith
1995-1998 North Korea 
starved to death an estimated 2 million people
- about 10% of the population - and shook North Korea's faith in Juche.
Famine sent waves of North Koreans across the northern border is search of food in China. What they also found was an outside world that was economically and technologically far more advanced than their own, in contrast to what they had been told by Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
North Koreans starting to turn to gods other than Kim.
Cultures and Traditions
Table Manners
Shoes must come off, no indoor farewells, and only men must serve drinks.
Entering a Korean home with your shoes on is considered a sign of disrespect.
The Korean Family
Father is the head of the household and is responsible for health, shelter, food, and marriage of family members.
Women are not to make decisions for the family.
Sons are to follow father's instructions and help with the welfare of the family.
Not only the union of two individuals, but the binding of two families.
"Matchmaking with the help of matchmakers, wedding parade on a pony, bowing to the members of family, couple drinking from the same cup and bridal procession are major rituals of a traditional Korean marriage."
The pride of Korea. Hanboks are worn at marriage ceremonies, family functions, and traditional ceremonies.
Lucky Vs. Unlucky
Gifts are generally given in multiples of seven because it is considered a lucky number
They try to stay away from multiples of four because it is considered unlucky

Represent happiness and prosperity
Gift Giving
A way to stay in touch with family
Considered to be offensive colours when gifts are wrapped in them.
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