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❶Education in the English language has become quite common in Korea in recent years. Museums have been well supported by the government, and many archaeological sites have been excavated to promote the growth of a strong nationalistic feeling.

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During —58, he carried out a purge against the pro-Chinese group known as the Yenan faction and eliminated a pro-Soviet faction from the KWP Central Committee. In the late s the regime implemented a program for strengthening the armed forces.

As part of the effort to fortify the entire country, more military airfields were constructed and large underground aircraft hangars were built. In addition, a large standing army and a strong militia were maintained. With aid from the Soviet Union , China, and the countries of eastern Europe, North Korea implemented a series of economic development plans and made significant gains.

But as external aid declined sharply—first from the Soviet Union beginning in the late s and then from China at the start of the Cultural Revolution in the mids—the seven-year plan of —67 was seriously affected, as indicated by the extension of the plan for another three years. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles.

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Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions. Our editors will review what you've submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we'll add it to the article. Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. Cultural life The compound religious strains of shamanism , Buddhism , Confucianism , and Daoism have deep roots in Korean culture.

Previous page Local government. Page 5 of 8. Next page From to the death of Kim Il-Sung. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: Little authoritative information has been made available about the North Korea n nuclear program. Western intelligence agencies and scholars provide most of what is known. The threat of a nuclear attack by the United States both during and after the Korean War may have…. The party also controls a…. For countries such as North Korea and Iran, which claimed to be threatened by American power, nuclear weapons retained their attractions for deterrence purposes.

Indeed, they heightened the risks of conflict for all Western countries. By the start of the 21st century, North Korea was believed to have amassed…. The Chinese provinces of Jilin and Liaoning are bordered by the river. Its length is estimated to be about miles km , and it drains an area of some 12, square miles 31, square km. After the Cold War nuclear weapons In 20th-century international relations: Three tests In nuclear weapon: North Korea population In North Korea: Ethnic groups and languages physical geography In North Korea: Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students.

Help us improve this article! Contact our editors with your feedback. The next stratum is made up of the families of Korean War veterans and anti-South Korea sabotage officers. The children of this class typically are educated in schools for the bereaved children of the revolutionaries and face better career opportunities. Women generally lag behind men in high-status positions in society, but a daughter of an established revolutionary can rank very high in both the party and the government.

The vast majority of North Koreans are ordinary citizens who are divided and subdivided into ranks according to their family history and revolutionary or unrevolutionary origin. Status is regularly reviewed, and if any member of the family commits an antirevolutionary crime, other members of the family are also demoted in status. North Korea's government is made of a presidency, a central government that is divided into various departments, and local governments.

The equivalent to the United States Congress, for example, is the people's congress. The Supreme People's Congress passes the laws, which are carried through by local people's committees that are organized in a top-down fashion following the administrative units such as province, county, city, and agricultural collectives and co-ops. Offices for the People's Congress and committees are based on the election that takes place every five years.

There is normally only one candidate per office and the turn-out rate for voting marks near percent every time, according to the official media report. Leadership and Political Officials. The ruling Worker's Party of Korea has the largest decision-making power. The party is not just a political organization, but a moral and ethical icon for the people. The party is also divided top-down from the central committee to the local party offices.

Kim Jong Il is also the supreme commander of the army. He is so deemed in not only North Korea but by the South Korean government. When in June the South Korean president Kim Dae Jung visited North Korea to meet with the northern leader for the first time in the fifty years of Korea's division, Kim Jong Il appeared in person to greet Kim Dae Jung and the meetings between the two leaders took place in a highly cordial and mutually respectful atmosphere.

It has been decided that Kim Jong Il will pay the return visit to the south, which will confirm his authority in the eyes of the South Korean citizens. The north-south meetings put forth some measures for reuniting the families that were separated during the Korean War and cultural collaboration between the two Koreas, ultimately aiming at reunification.

The North Korean leadership enhanced its legitimacy through this recent move. Social Problems and Control. The participation in political organizations occupies an important place in the everyday lives of North Koreans.

By definition, every citizen in North Korea belongs to at least one political organization and this replaces a system of social control: Technically, all those who live on North Korean soil are North Korean citizens except for those who already have foreign citizenship, such as diplomats and visitors. North Koreans have citizens' certificates identifying their class origin and current address. No one in North Korea is allowed to change their residence at will: Not even weekend journeys or holidays are left to individual discretion; one has to apply for such a trip through the appropriate authorities.

Family holidays must be approved by the authorities, and normally families have to wait for their vacation quota. Sometimes individuals who distinguish themselves in devotion to the party and the state are rewarded with a family vacation.

Contrary to the traditional registration system of Korea, which was based on family registration, North Korean registration is based on individual identification. Each individual is subject to regular investigation by the authorities for the purpose of classification and reclassification according to class origin.

For example, a person who commits a crime might be reclassified in terms of "soundness" of origin. Although it has been said that in North Korea, the military has the ultimate say in decision making, it is hard to determine the degree of exercise of power by the military. In , it became known that North Korea's military launched a missile across the Japanese archipelago into the Pacific. The incident is still being debated, but it is evident that North Korea's expenditure on military affairs is severely constraining its economy.

The conscription is not mandatory, but many gifted young men and women join the army in order to obtain a ticket to the higher education through the army's recommendation after several years' service. The duration of the service is not clearly defined. Some stay five to six years, others less; women tend to stay shorter than men do.

To go to the army even for a couple of years is an honor in North Korea, since it is a demonstration of one's readiness to devote one's life to the motherland. All citizens in North Korea join one or more of the following political organizations in the course of their lives: In addition, there are three political parties: The latter two, however, have disappeared from North Korea's public politics since the s.

The local headquarters and branches of these organizations form the basis of political life of individuals. Rather than home or family, the political organizations one belongs to are, in principle, the primary basis for social identification and the most important vehicle for socialization for North Koreans. Also, if one comes from an ordinary background, to do well in these organizations would create better opportunities.

Division of Labor by Gender. In North Korea it is widely accepted that men run the heavy industry and women work in light industry. Beyond this, the division is highly diverse. For example, agriculture is not necessarily regarded specifically as a man's or Gables of a Zen Buddhist monastery. When it comes to the domestic division of labor, although the state and the party try to minimize the work by introducing canned food and electrical appliances, it remains that women do most of the housework and child rearing even while working as many hours as men outside of the home.

This effectively doubles women's burdens in society. The Relative Status of Women and Men. Women's status is not equal to that of men. Men have a far better chance in advancing in politics, while women, particularly after marriage, are seen as "done" with a political career.

This is different for women from the high-ranking families, whose background and connections would outmaneuver handicaps that ordinary woman would have to bear.

In North Korea, women are supposed to have certain mannerisms that are regarded as feminine. They are not supposed to wear trousers unless they are factory workers or agricultural laborers. In professional settings, however, women are often as assertive as their male counterparts.

The only occupation where behavior is sometimes flirtatious or subservient is as a waitress, but for women it is an honor to hold this position as they are selected for their beauty, good family background, and educational qualifications. Individual registration has had a significant effect on the North Korean marriage system. In Korean tradition, marriage between a man and a woman who share the same family origin is not allowed.

Since all Koreans were required to keep family records since the time of the Yi dynasty, everyone can trace their family origin. If two people share the same ancestral name, they were regarded as brother and sister, and hence subject to the incest taboo. Since North Korea abolished the family registry, marriages between individuals from the same ancestral clan—as long as they are not direct relatives—are lawful. A primary consideration in marriage is the compatibility of class origins. If a man comes from the family of a high-ranking party member, and a woman from a family that does not have a comparable sociopolitical status, a marriage between the two would not be approved of by the society.

If a man comes from a family that was originally repatriated from Japan in the postwar period and a woman comes from a family that is "native" North Korean, a marriage between the two is considered difficult since, generally speaking, repatriates are regarded with suspicion and distrust due to their ongoing connection with families in Japan.

Hence, classes tend to marry within themselves just as in capitalist societies. Upon marriage, a couple is given a house or, if they live in an urban area, an apartment. Ordinary couples, however, often have to wait until their application for a residence is approved by the authorities. The case of a couple from high-ranking families will be different: Normally, newlyweds conduct a small ceremony, inviting close friends, neighbors, and family members, take a photo if they can afford it, and register their marriage.

There is no feast or party and no honeymoon. Even wedding dresses are made from state-rationed fabrics, and therefore brides of a certain period all look more or less alike. The domestic unit is a nuclear family with some degree of stem family practice, i. Houses are small throughout the country and this restricts having large families as a norm. Adoption takes place through orphanages. Child Rearing and Education. The process of economic recovery following the Korean War was also the process by which the population was successfully turned into members of the newly emerging nation.

Compulsory education and the general literacy program played a decisive role in forming individuals into new subjects of state socialism, subjects capable of reproducing the state-coined, politically correct vocabulary and revolutionary rhetoric. Starting on 1 November , all education up to middle school became compulsory and free of charge. By , North Korea had extended this to eleven years of free compulsory education, including one year in a collective preschool.

In addition, factories and collective farms have nursery schools where children are introduced to socialization and taken care of collectively away from home, since mothers are usually full-time workers.

In North Korea's linguistic practice, Kim Il Sung's words are frequently quoted as a gospel-like reference point.

People learn the vocabulary by reading publications of the state and the party. Since the print industry and the entire publishing establishment are strictly state-owned and state-controlled, and no private importation of foreign-printed materials or audiovisual resources is permitted, words that do not conform with the interest of the party and the state are not introduced into the society in the first place, resulting in efficient censorship.

The vocabulary that the state favors includes words relating to such concepts as revolution, socialism, communism, class struggle, patriotism, anti-imperialism, anticapitalism, the national reunification, and dedication and loyalty to the leader. By way of contrast, the vocabulary that the state finds difficult or inappropriate, such as that referring to sexual or love relations, does not appear in print.

Even so-called romantic novels depict lovers who are more like comrades on a journey to fulfill the duties they owe to the leader and the state. Limiting the vocabulary in this way has made everyone, including the relatively uneducated, into competent practitioners of the state-engineered linguistic norm. On the societal level, this had an effect of homogenizing the linguistic practice of the general public.

A visitor to North Korea would be struck by how similar people sound. In other words, rather than broadening the vision of citizens, literacy and education in North Korea confine the citizenry into a cocoon of the North Korean-style socialism and the state ideology. Higher education is regarded as an honor and a privilege, and as such, it is not open to the general public at will. Men and women who have served in the military would be recommended to subsequent higher education. There are also "gifted" entries to the universities and colleges, where the candidate's intellectual merit is appreciated.

Normally, however, it depends on one's family background in determining whether or not one obtains the opportunity of learning at a college for years at the state's expense.

Hence, for ordinary men and women, the military is a secure detour. Sometimes, candidates are recommended from factories and agricultural collectives, with the endorsement of the due authorities. What most characterizes North Korean socialism is its leadership, built on the basis of the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung.

Through the state-engineered education system, Kim and his family are introduced as role models for men and women, young and old. By the time they are in kindergarten, children can recite stories from Kim's childhood. Moral ideological education in North Korea is allegorically organized, with Kim Il Sung and his pedigree as protagonists. Kim Il Sung's name is ubiquitous in North Korea. For example, if one is asked how one is, the model answer would be "thanks to the Great Leader Kim Il Sung, I am well," and the North Korean economy is remarkably strong "thanks to the wise guidance of Marshal Kim Il Sung.

Juche literally means "subject" and is often translated as self-reliance. In North Korea, slogans such as "Let us model the whole society on the Juche idea! The Juche idea is quite unlike Marxist historical materialism. Rather, it is a sort of idealism, placing emphasis on human belief; in this sense, it resembles a religion rather than a political ideology. Under the ideology of Juche, North Korea achieved many remarkable goals, including the economic recovery from the ashes of the Korean War.

In the name of loyal dedication to Kim Il Sung, national unity was accomplished and national pride instilled North Korean citizens.

But North Koreans hardly have freedom of religion. The monks and nuns that tourists meet may not have any public followers; indeed, they themselves may be loyal followers of the leader.

Traditionally, northern Korea had strong centers of Christianity, and Christianity played an important role in organizing anti-Japanese resistance during the colonial period. Similarly, the Ch'ondo religion that emerged in the nineteenth century as an indigenous Korean religion was strengthened in the process of anti-Japanese resistance.

In fact, many Ch'ondo leaders were included in the initial state-building of North Korea. Decades of Kim Il Sung worship transformed the religious plurality, though; with the leader's ascendancy, non- Juche ideas came to be regarded as heterodox and dangerous, or as bourgeois and capitalist.

Korean culture has an age-old Confucian tradition, although this heritage does not exist in today's North Korea as it did in the past. Rather, its form and direction changed due to the intervention of leader-focused socialism. Kim Il Sung often is depicted in a paternalistic manner, personified as a benevolent father and at times, father-mother, asexually or bisexually who looks after the whole population as children and disciples. Kim Il Sung created the notion of a family state with himself as the head of the nation.

Indeed, a popular North Korean children's song includes this refrain: Some of these celebrations are carried out with a Soviet-style military parade, while others are commemorated with art festivals and official congregations in local and central government units.

Support for the Arts. The production of arts and literature in North Korea is controlled entirely by the state. Their ideological line, form of presentation, dissemination to the public, and availability are all under the administration of state authorities. This does not mean that North Koreans suffer from a poverty of art.

On the contrary, there is quite a rich variety of art genres and distinct fashions that come and go over time. Film is more fully developed than literature, perhaps because of Kim Jong Il's involvement in the medium. Literature is produced by state-salaried official writers whose novels and poems tend to be pedantic, predictable, and outright boring. For example, a long-selling popular novel Ode to Youth first published in and continuously reprinted until is a story of a technician in a steel mill, whose relationship with his girlfriend is interwoven with other human relations among his colleagues.

The story in the end reconfirms that in North Korea all relations, including romantic ones, exist to encourage loyalty to the leader. This has been the pattern in literature since the s. Typically, human relationships are depicted in simplistic ways, with romantically-involved couples never hesitating to help each other become heroes for the revolution.

There is no complex web of psychology, diversity of personality, or unexpected events that are quite often part of the ordinary lives of individuals. North Korean literature is full of barren, lifeless language, which is to be expected given the limited vocabulary the North Korean state makes available to the public. North Korea has distinct graphic arts related to a mixture of Korean traditional drawing and the techniques of western watercolor.

Large mural art is commonly seen inside the public buildings in North Korea, and the theme is usually leader worship—typically Kim Il Sung in the middle, larger than other people surrounding him.

People of al ages, occupation, and dress circle him with adoration and admiration in their eyes. The commission of such art is done by the state, and in this sense, there is no private artist.

Also commonly seen are large sculptures depicting history patriotically, such as Korean War heroes and anti-Japanese guerrilla fighters; there are usually portrayed in the Soviet style. No individual artist is endorsed in this type of public art display. One cannot miss in North Korea ubiquitous statues and sculptures, paintings and even embroidery art that portray in beautified form Kim Il Sung and his family. These are displayed in public spaces; in terms of art to purchase privately, there are paintings and other products that use traditional Korean or East Asian ink paint or oil paint.

These are most readily found in the international hotel shops and are not readily available for ordinary citizens to purchase. Under the direct intervention of Kim Jong Il, a new form of films has emerged in North Korea, especially since the s.

Sin Sang-ok and Ch'oi Un-hui—married former South Korean citizens, a director husband and an actress wife—played an important role in introducing this new version of North Korean film. Their work is based on Korean literature of the s, which was very strongly influenced by Russian realism as well as the Japanese proletarian literary movement.

Classics such as The Blanket by Ch'oi So-hae were made into films that represented family life and the misery of poverty in an unprecedented vivid style. Also popular was the long-running series Heroes without Name, which depicted romantic relations among North Korean spies who worked undercover in South Korea after the Korean War.

Films in North Korea are inexpensive entertainment for the general public, while other more specialized genres such as circuses or song and dance ensembles are reserved for foreign guests and national festivals. Only selected individuals—either by their revolutionary heritage or by being recognized as meritorious contributors to the revolution—are invited to enjoy such entertainment.

Politics and Leadership in North Korea, Korea's Place in the Sun: A Modern History , Henriksen, Thomas, and Jongryn Mo.

North Korea after Kim Il Sung, Kim Il-Song's North Korea, Journey to North Korea: Kim, Yun, and Eui Hang Shin, eds. Toward a Unified Korea: Ideology, Politics, Economy, The North Korean Leader, Culture Name North Korean.

History and Ethnic Relations Emergence of the Nation. Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space Except for a total of perhaps ten cities, vast areas of North Korea are rural—or even untouched. Food and Economy Food in Daily Life. Social Stratification Classes and Castes. Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations All citizens in North Korea join one or more of the following political organizations in the course of their lives: Marriage, Family, and Kinship Marriage.

Socialization Child Rearing and Education. The Arts and Humanities Support for the Arts. The Origins of the Korean War, Volume 1, The Origins of the Korean War, Volume 2, Dont give out my name Hi, Do you have an email where I can contact you? I am interested in obtaining photo rights to two photos on this website. Please let me know if this is feasible. Can i know ur e mail adderss?

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Culture + Religion 10 Korean customs to know before you visit Korea. Dec 9, Korean culture has survived for 5, years, despite the best efforts by hostile neighbors to stomp it out. If you know and respect Korean culture you will get much more out of your time in Korea. It’s so ingrained in their culture that one of their most. Enhance your travel experience and earn respect. Learn about North Korean culture customs and etiquette. North Korean society, its people and protocol.