From 1969 to 1997, the North Korean leadership purchased expensive full-page ad space in the most prominent western newspapers, Benjamin R. Young reports for NK News. The ads, which cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000, were placed in high-profile publications like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian.
Aug 15, 2014
Every nation’s leader has to face one sooner or later and North Korea’s is no different. The DPRK was rocked recently by a scandal involving their Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un when a report came out that he once admitted he was “kind of boring” while visiting orphans at a hospital.
Although various rumors about Kim have circulated in other countries before, this would be the first time we know of that North Korea’s tightly controlled media will have reported a negative comment about him. Some fear this is only the beginning; further compliment-fishing remarks may come next such as,“Is that another grey hair?” or “You’re so lucky! Anytime I eat chocolate it goes right to my butt.” In great enough numbers these little utterances may seriously endanger his carefully engineered image of infallibility.
The interconnectedness of today’s world has been a real boon to artists, scientists, designers, futurists, and pretty much anyone who thrives on the free exchange of ideas. If you asked a kid from South Africa to draw the city of the future, it would be equally likely and unsurprising for her to design futuristic skyscrapers reminiscent of the Burj Khalifa or hobbit hole-like underground eco-houses.
But what if you were from North Korea? What if you didn’t have Internet and had never left your own country? What would the city of the future look like to you?
Jun 18, 2014
Jun 7, 2014
Life inside a communist country with a controlling dictator for a leader is not only suffocating and dangerous; it’s also vastly different from life in developed countries elsewhere across the globe.
Joo Yang, who defected from North Korea in 2010, did an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit Wednesday and explained what it was like to leave the oppressive country and experience life in the outside world.
North Korean defectors have to escape the country covertly. Some of them were basically brainwashed by propaganda growing up — one defector who spoke to UK newspaper The Independent said she was raised to believe that Kim Jong-il was a god who could read her mind.
Yang joined her family in South Korea in 2011. An NGO helped her travel through a “modern-day underground railroad” to escape North Korea.
Here are some of the observations she made about life in North Korea versus life on the outside:
Jun 3, 2014
In North Korea‘s latest desperate attempt for attention from the rest of the civilized world, the dictatorship – perhaps tired of tossing missiles around for now – bragged through state media that its scientists have discovered a way to extract enzymes from a certain mushroom grown in the region to create a miracle super drink that makes athletes better, faster and stronger.
May 24, 2014
Move over Dennis Rodman–it looks like you’ve got a serious Japanese successor for all of your sports diplomacy. North Korea’s state news agency announced on May 19 that Japan’s Antonio Inoki, a retired Japanese professional wrestler, will be teaming up with officials in the reclusive totalitarian state to host an international professional wrestling tournament in Pyongyang this August. The tournament will also include athletes from two nations that have never participated in a wrestling event in North Korea under Kim Jong-un’s leadership. Find out how all this came to be after the jump.
May 15, 2014
We are all of course familiar with the story of how North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, single-handedly defeated the entire US military with the aid of his magical flaming unicorn and 12-foot vertical leaping skills. I don’t know about you all, but every time I hear about it, I can’t help wishing I could be as bad-ass as he is and experience the same such heroics.
Now the wishing is over, however, thanks to Glorious Leader!, an upcoming game for PC and smartphone by indie developer Moneyhorse. In it, players pilot the plump despot through seven levels of hard running, hard jumping, hard shooting, and hard unicorn riding action.
May 14, 2014
Usually it’s the Hollywood starlets and sea monsters that get scrutinized for every centimeter their waist expands, but this week, it’s North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un who is under the fat-o-scope.
Free North Korea Radio is reporting the diminutive dictator has ballooned by about 20 kilos (44 pounds) since he became top dog, lending credence to rumors that he has been gorging himself on food and booze to deal with the stress of running his country and executing family and friends.
May 9, 2014
For everyone dreaming of the chance to visit North Korea, you’re in luck. There is now an app for that.
The North Korea Travel app, released on Wednesday, promises to be the most comprehensive guide ever created for tourists to the Hermit Kingdom.
The app, which will be available through both the App Store and Google play, will feature information on over 350 locations throughout the country. Each location will feature “Tour Guide Tips” provided by Simon Cockerell, who works in the North Korea travel industry and has visited the country over 120 times.
When Kim Jong-un took power in December 2011, many experts saw his ascent as an opportunity for the West to transform the last bastion of hard-line communism, believing that the untested leader would shy away from confrontation with the U.S. and even South Korea.
Instead, North Korea’s leader — believed to be about 30 years old — has “proved to be more ruthless, aggressive and tactically skilled than anyone expected,” Peter Sanger of The New York Times reports.
Here are a few things North Korea’s supreme leader has done in the past 18 months to surprise and unnerve the U.S.:
North Korea is often referred to as “The Hermit Kingdom” in the west — and one map demonstrates why.
The website MarineTraffic displays live data of cargo ships over 299 gross tonnage, and while South Korean ports of Incheon, Busan, and Ulsan are bustling with activity, shipboard cargo movement in the North barely registers, despite the country having eight major seaports.
Apr 7, 2014
Barely a week after branding her a “blabbering peasant woman,” North Korea has labelled South Korean leader Park Geun-hye a “repulsive wench” via its state-run media. Not only that, but the same quoted source also alluded to the fact that the president has no children of her own, and said that she “makes a mockery of sacred motherhood.”
Apr 3, 2014
For a country that allegedly has little contact with the outside world, North Korea somehow manages to end up in the news an awful lot. While it’s hard to tell how much of what we hear and read is true, sometimes a nugget of truth–beautiful, hilarious truth–slips through the cracks of propaganda on both sides of the ideological line and leaves us giggling.
As you’ve probably heard, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has recently unveiled the logo for their year-old space agency, NADA. Though they may have expected fanfare or at least a bit of grudging respect, the main response they got was an Internet full of giggles.
A joint military exercise between the U.S. and South Korea has freaked out North Korean leadership.
The annual drill, named Foal Eagle, runs from Feb. 24 to April 18 and features Marines from both countries.
North Korea views the drill as a possible threat and has responded by ratcheting up its own military rhetoric.
Further, The Hermit Kingdom has announced military drills of its own, and launched hundreds of missiles toward a disputed maritime border with South Korea. The country has also promised a new kind of nuclear test in response.
Apr 1, 2014
When it comes to North Korea it is almost impossible to tell the difference between truth and rumor. And, you know, the reclusive country really has to shoulder some of the blame here–it’s hard to do fact checking when your subject responds to questions with poorly aimed missile launches!
However, when news broke last week that Pyongyang was now requiring all male university students to cut their hair like Kim Jong-un, we couldn’t stop an eyebrow from rising and thinking, “Wait, really?” As for whether or not it’s true, well, we think we have a solid answer…or as close to a solid answer as you can get when it comes to North Korea.
Mar 31, 2014
Every once in a while we experience pleasant beauty of synchronicity in life, whether it’s listening to Pink Flyod’s Dark Side of the Moon while watching The Wizard of OZ or just listening to The Police’s Synchronicity.
Another such case is the uncannily fitting combination of a North Korean calisthenics video for children with the background music to a Final Fantasy IV boss battle. A video of it was posted on YouTube quite a while ago, but it’s worth revisiting again and again.
Mar 28, 2014
Yes. Yes, it did.
Relations between North and South Korea took a turn for the childish today as a spokesman for the notorious hermit nation labelled South Korea’s President Park Geun-Hye a “peasant” and remarked that she ought to stop “blabbering” if she ever wants to see relations between the two countries improve.
Me, and indeed, ow.
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