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The Cleanest Race
How North Koreans See Themselves - And Why It Matters
By: B. R. Myers
Major Topic: Politics
Minor Topic: Diplomacy

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         Chapter 2: Mother Korea and her Children

         The North Korean government, like the Nazis and the imperial Japanese government of the world war II era, goes to great lengths to promote a connection between the people and the land. According to the official myth: the people of Korea were one of the first to become a nation. But they needed a strong leader. The whole of Korean history has been leading up to the pinnacle of modern Korea with its Great and Dear leaders.

         Psychologically people desire immortality, and the state with a long history can act as a substitute if the people are made to feel significant and given a role to play in the nation's drama. These are the purposes of all the architecture and propaganda in North Korea.

         North Koreans are made to feel significant by extolling the virtues of the land as reflections of the people and vice versa. Furthermore the people are morally superior and therefore better that all others. The history of invasions is explained away as due to not having a strong leader to protect the people.

         The land is referred to as a motherland not a fatherland. The father is a symbol of discipline, reason and education. But the mother is a nurturing, instinctive and protective symbol. The leadership and the party are constantly referred to in mother symbols. Where all other communist nations portrayed the rulers and the party as male authority figures, the North Korean emphasis on the mother is unique.

         Additionally the land is considered more pure than the city. Art often portrays the country and the wild forest as more beautiful than the most beautiful city: Pyongyang. Country folk are criticized for leaving the country and city people are encouraged to move to the country. It is the wild nature of Korea that is the source of the virtue of the Korean people.

         The people are depicted as pure blooded and homogenous. Therefore there can be no villains in North Korea only foreigners qualify. Any “bad” Koreans are just not living up to their true selves and are easily reformed.

         The armed forces are the protectors of the country by the wish of the leadership. The army is where education in the revolutionary ideals is best studied. But it is not 'study' in the sense of school study, rather it is study as a way of life. A way of life that encourages the instincts of children.


         Chapter 3: The Parent Leader

         North Korea is not a Confucian Patriarchy. Confucius promoted study, North Korean propaganda promotes childishness. Confucius saw equality among races. DPRK propaganda sees the Korean people as morally superior. Confucius called for ancestor worship, the North does not encourage such acts. Kim Il Sung is not a father figure rather he is a parent figure with more stress on the mother side than the father side.

         According to the official myth, Kim Il Sung was born on April 15, 1912 and was a uniquely Korean child: more Korean than any other Korean ever to have lived. He soon formed a resistance group to the Japanese occupation and developed a philosophy called Juche. He was a brilliant general and defeated the Japanese without foreign help, never losing a battle. However in the chaos that followed the Japanese surrender the Americans invaded and started a colony in the southern half of the peninsula. From which they soon attacked the DPRK but fortunately the Great leader crushed them. After the war Kim Il Sung worked constantly to rebuild the DPRK. He selflessly went out to visit and help people in all walks of life throughout North Korea. He passed away on July 8, 1994 probably due to over work and the masses of people have never experienced such sadness. Fortunately his his spirit will never leave the people and his son Kim Jong Il exists to carry on the great man's work.

         As the word “Democracy” in the name: the Peoples Democratic Republic of Korea suggests, the people of the DPRK consider themselves a democracy. The only way to keep this facade in a dictatorship is to have a personality cult that gives the impression that everyone really wants the current leader to be the leader because of the natural characteristics of the leader. For this reason Kim Il Sung had to be more Korean than any Korean.

         A second aspect of Kim's personality cult is the tradition of “on-the-spot-guidance” tours which are designed to give a sense the great leader's caring for the people. He is shown visiting a factory or army unit and giving advice that is simple and straight forward. The emphasis is not on the advice but on the time he took to give it which is supposed to be a sign of his great motherly love for the people. At the same time all the propaganda indoctrinates the people in how they should respond: with tears of joy and happiness. This has the effect of re-enforcing the desired behavior and cultivating support for the government.

         The author believes that there are many similarities between the personality cult of Kim Il Sung and that of the Japanese emperor Hirohito before World War II: including both aspects of the parent, purity of thought and action, racial purity and as an object of sacrificial devotion. Freud would say that this is the inner longing of all people and that is why the cult is so successful. Religious cults that follow the same formula are also the most popular religions. However the emphasis put on the mother side has the additional benefit of taking away an authority figure that the people could rebel against. The author seems to say that Kim Il Sung is both a mother and a father where both are needed and only a mother where a father becomes problematic.


         Chapter 4: The Dear Leader

         Kim Jong Il, the Dear Leader, is the greatest man alive today. He is not quite as great as his father, the greatest man who ever lived, but he is close. Where Kim Jong Il's father was the greatest in all things, the Dear Leader is truly great in military matters, and so it is with the military that Kim Jong Il most concerns himself.

         According to the official myth, Kim Jong Il was born on February 16, 1942 on Mount Paektu in the Great Leader's military camp. Kim Jong Il lead a hard life as a child, seeing his mother die and witnessing the tyrany of the Japanese and the merciless bombing of the Americans. But he was a good boy, more Korean than any Korean except his father. He devoted himself to the study and dissemination of Juche philosophy and the rebuilding of the Mother-Homeland. In the early part of the 1990s the USSR surrendered and the Americans launched new waves of assaults on the DPRK, the Great leader died and the country experienced incredibly bad luck with the food production. Yet in spite of these amazing difficulties, The Dear Leader saved the people and the country from destruction. By the end of the 1990s the DPRK was doing better thanks to the brilliant general Kim Jong Il. In 2006 the Dear General was able to bring the DPRK into the most exclusive group in the world: the group of nations with nuclear weapons. With that the Dear Leader has made North Korea safe forever from all foreigners.

         Kim Jong Il seems to have benefited greatly from a personality cult that lets him “work” to keep the country safe while not being responsible for the economic well-being of the people. As the leader his job is to keep evil foreigners out. It is the people who are responsible for implementing the teachings if the Great Leader. If the people succeed in following the Great leader's instruction then all will be good. The Dear Leader seems to effortlessly follow his father's wishes.


Added on: 2010-06-15 23:23:39
Text Crawl by: James Jeff McLaren
© 2008 - 2018, James Jeff McLaren