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Top comments that mention products on r/northkorea:

u/thompsonforsheriff70 · 1 pointr/northkorea

Sorry, wish I could answer your questions but I just found the post on Imgur and put it up. I did live in South Korea myself for the last 3 years as an ESL teacher and had a chance to visit the DMZ between the two countries, did a lot of research as well because I find it so fascinating and tragic that a place like the North can actually exist today. I think the answer to a lot of those questions you asked can be found in the VICE doc. There's one called "Mass Games" that is excellent as well. If you're interested in how the whole cult of personality/communist Kim succession thing took root, the book "Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader" by an American journalist who has visited DPRK several times is excellent.
From what I understand, you see only what they want you to see, you ask only certain questions and get only certain responses. It's all a dog-and-pony show. Korean food is pretty decent, and almost every guy on the peninsula over the age of 16 smokes like a chimney. Hope this info helps!

u/rawketscience · 3 pointsr/northkorea

I think the first point to consider is that The Orphan Master's Son should be read as a domestic drama, more along the lines of Nothing to Envy than any of the foreign-policy focused news and zomg-weird-pop-performance-footage that dominates this subreddit and /r/northkoreanews.

In that light, the Orphan Master's Son is a lovely, well-told story, and it was well-researched, but it's still clearly a second-hand impression of the country. It doesn't add to the outside world's stock of DPRK information; it just retells the tragedies already told by Shin Dong-hyuk and Kenji Fujimoto in a literary style.

Then too, there are places where the needs of the story subsume the reality on the ground. For example, the book entertains the notion that the state would promote just individual one actress its paragon of female virtue and one individual soldier as the paragon of male virtue. This is important to author's point about public and private identity and whether love also needs truth, but it's wholly out of step with the Kim regime's way of doing business. Kim Il Sung is the one god in North Korea, and the only permissible icons are his successors, and to a lesser extent, senior party politicians. Pop figures are disposable.

But The Orphan Master's Son is a good read. It would go high on my list of recommendations for someone who wants a starting point on the country but is scared of footnotes and foreign names. But if your DPRK obsession hinges more on predicting the fate of the Kaesong Industrial Zone, it won't give you much.

u/mindkiller317 · 3 pointsr/northkorea

They had to praise him when the bandages came off or they'd be thrown out of their housing or sent to a work camp. Also, those people were handpicked by the government for their loyalty and training in ideology. They knew it was being filmed. It was a free propaganda stunt for NK.

It's impossible to know how brainwashed the country is. The documents and testimonials that came out of the USSR after the fall attest to this. Many of them simply went along with the party line to survive, while others consciously (or sub consciously) produced a mixture of Soviet and civilian (for lack of a better term) culture that served to both keep the regime satisfied and fulfill their own societal and cultural needs. This could very well be happening in NK. We have no idea, but recent videos that have been smuggled out show unrest in the provinces. People are talking back to police, and there was the incident with the grafitti last month. Modified radios are also more widespread than once though, so outside news is getting in moreso than it was in the last few decades.

RansomIblis is right, the army is starving. They had been the most taken care of segment of the population until very recently. If they starve, everything falls apart. They will not shoot civilians if they see that they are no longer any better than the average citizen.

I'm glad that you're interested in the NK situation, but please do some more research beyond youtubes and online vids. Check out this book for a great education on the subject. It's big, but highly readable and enjoyable.

u/Zaruka · 2 pointsr/northkorea

That is a good question. I read plenty before going. Even having a degree in Asian Politics and having read plenty I found that many of them did not capture the society very well.
Bruce Cumings "North Korea: Another Country"

This book is accused of pro-DPRK bias. I would call it more getting a better understanding of internal thinking. He explained it better than most. His latest book "The Korean War" is a great look at the war in most brutal terms.

Many of the books have great parts such as Hassig and Oh's "The Hidden People" but some of it does not quite make sense. If you read enough of this stuff you see that they have to cite the same sources.

Brad Martin's "Under the Loving Care" is a journalist's view and he pulls everything together, some of it is not credible. I think the book needed editing, say 20% left on the floor.

Andrei Lankov's "North of the DMZ" is a good book. He is a Kim Il-sung University graduate. I do not agree with all of it but he lived it. I read his commentaries and it is much better than most.

This is a tough subject, a closed country and a difficult society to understand. So few have been there and even fewer more than once. I do think we are getting a better view of what goes on as the place opens up - slowly but things are changing.

u/jaywalker1982 · 2 pointsr/northkorea

Also, it's on the sidebar, but if you really want to get in depth Under The Loving Care Of The Fatherly Leader is great!

u/toothball · 2 pointsr/northkorea

I recommend reading Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader. There is a chapter dedicated to this topic, and it is touched upon several times in the book. There is a lot of detail.

u/OneFreeKorea · 2 pointsr/northkorea

No, I would not agree. The change from mass starvation to "mere" mass malnutrition -- while Kim Jong Un wastes billions of dollars on things his people can't eat -- is the result of cross-border smuggling, semi-legal private agriculture (the so-called sotoji plots) and the encroachment of small, private markets. Marcus Noland and Stephan Haggard have written whole books about this:

I see very little (if any) evidence that special economic zones have had anything to do with that change. Please cite a reliable source for your assertion.

We've been trying to buy North Korea into civilization since 1998, and the results pretty much speak for themselves. North Korea is changing, but not from the top down. It's changing from the bottom up. The government is doing everything it can do disrupt that. Engagement itself isn't a faulty idea, but you're advocating for engaging the wrong people. And engaging the ordinary people of North Korea won't be possible if the regime is barring the way to that.

I believe it's time to block the funds that are paying for border guards, cell phone trackers, and other ways of cracking down on the North Korean people. When Kim Jong Un can't afford that crackdown anymore, people will flow across the borders both ways. Food from private plots will fill markets. Food prices will fall. Information will flow in to enlighten the people. People will get cell phones, and they'll use them to organize labor unions, churches, and dissent organizations. That's how dictatorships change -- not because of their dictators, but despite them.

[Edited, grammar]

u/dethswatch · 2 pointsr/northkorea

it's great, and when you're done with that, the Cleanest Race is also good.

u/htunkelo · 3 pointsr/northkorea

This is like re-reading the "Tom Clancy/Mark Greany" Full force and effect:

Russia To Revamp North Korea's Rail System, Eyes Mineral Resources

Wonder what the Russians are paying for the Rear Earths? ICBM's maybe?

u/mikitronz · 2 pointsr/northkorea

This is an old interview, as Christ0ph mentioned, but I thought I might add a couple things to update this and make the most a little more helpful. Kim Han Sol has a leadership page on nkeconomywatch here (though take note the compendium link is broken and the permalink url is wrong--i.e. you're looking at his only page there). That has newer news (e.g. the Sciences Po thing in 2013) but nothing significant.

He was only 18 in the interview too, so while an adult, he isn't fully up to speed on how the world works and his perspectives are not particularly helpful except to indicate what extreme elites and their families are exposed to. On the interview, things I noticed were:

  • You didn't post the second part of the video

  • 4:42: Notable description of American and South Korean schoolmates as "really great friends". This would be punishable by death in NK in other circumstances.

  • 10:00: Expresses seemingly sincere understanding and appreciation of what might be the seeds of an internationalism. Kim Jon Un initially gave similar but ultimately unfulfilled hope.

  • Throughout, he makes casual references to North Korea and South Korea, probably indicating a lack of understanding that the terms DPRK and ROK are chosen intentionally to signify singular legitimacy. This is evidence that he is not involved with official international business of NK (no one has said he is, but e.g. it doesn't appear he has received significant training on the topic).

  • In video 2, at the 1 minute mark: "My South Korean friends" is repeated, describing disagreement with official policy to avoid South Koreans. "Really close friends and travel together." It is likely that this means he does not have even unofficial security provided by NK. SK has very particular rules about this kind of camaraderie (heh) but given that it is internationally done I doubt that is relevant.

  • Interviewer, a former defense minister (???), talked about the sadness of starvation while seeing military parades while he nodded, indicating a lack of support for the regime's political choices of Songun, and a distinct lack of disagreement on what is officially held to be international lies designed to undermine the state. Some argue (here recently, here famously) that Songun isn't a real policy or that it is misunderstood. That may or may not be so, but it is what the state chooses to make public statements about, and this isn't in line with that.

  • 6:12, 6:28, 7:00: While appropriately qualifying it, he guesses that his dad, the older sibling, is not the "dictator" because he is not interested in politics. Then refers to KJU as a dictator at 6:28. Then to KJI at 7:00. This choice of words is...surprising. This makes me think this is not a scripted propaganda push from within the North (e.g. we have moderates), not a scripted push from NK elites outside trying to get back in (e.g. not Jong Nam trying to vie for power through his own family network as this just goes too far to be credible within NK and because it crosses generations), and likely just a sign of an 18 year old trying to be amiable and not realizing the impact of these statements.

  • 10:26: "Always dreamed of going back and making things easier for the people there." Always dreamed of unification (because 1) sad and 2) can't hang out with my friends in South Korea).

  • Future: volunteering, advanced degree, contribute to building world peace, especially at home in a divided Korea, perhaps beyond 10 years.

  • 13:25 interviewer says she would like to have him as her own grandson. Awkward.

    Edit: formatting


    I forgot to add a funny tidbit after this came out: He apparently was reported missing by his friends link and later found. The same thing happened after the execution of Jang Song-thaek.
u/[deleted] · 3 pointsr/northkorea

Eyes of the Tailless Animals Eyes of the Tailless Animals - A book about a woman that lived a fairly comfortable life, but was forced into prison camps after she refused to take part in official corruption. It's a very personal memoir, but I found it to be a good read.

Somewhere Inside By Lisa and Laura Ling. I read this before I read "The World is Bigger Now," and they're two very different books. Laura was a tool for the North Koreans during their captivity because of the connections she had. Her boss, Al Gore, was able to involve the State Department and ultimately led to Clinton's rescue of them. This is more political and less emotional when compared to Euna Lee's book. I found it quite informative.

u/guanaco55 · 1 pointr/northkorea

Unfortunately there will be many other brutalities in 100 years time. That said, you may enjoy her book The Girl with Seven Names, Amazon #1 bestseller in North Korean history.

u/dutchct · 3 pointsr/northkorea

I read "Exit Emperor Kim Jong-Il: Notes from His Former Mentor" which was quite good.

My review from amazon:

>Some interesting subjects discused: Kim Jong-il in competition for power against his uncle, Kim Jong-un's struggle for power against his brother from another mother. The numerous "purges" that allowed Kim Jong-il to stay in power. His bullheadedness toward China and the Soviets. The man who shot his wife for secretly complaining to Kim Il-sung of Kim Jong-ils parties. Upon Hwang Jang-yop's defection, around 8000 people within his sphere of influence were sent to prison camps.
>Great book that reads like fiction but unfortunately isn't. I would have loved to hear more about Hwang Jang-yop's life, maybe in another book.

Also the first book I read was a year in Pyongyang. Free online:

Basically about a British guy that goes over to Pyongyang for a year to translate propaganda and doesn't enjoy it.

u/_youtubot_ · 1 pointr/northkorea

Video linked by /u/holston5:

Title|Channel|Published|Duration|Likes|Total Views
The Horrible Truth About North Korea | Michael Malice and Stefan Molyneux|Stefan Molyneux|2017-04-25|1:08:23|5,258+ (92%)|287,480

> Order The Book Now:


^Info ^| ^/u/holston5 ^can ^delete ^| ^v2.0.0

u/TheManisOut · 1 pointr/northkorea

It's a one of a kind state. Hard currency is brought in through Various illegal operations with aid by the Swiss who help them keep it safe and make it "cleaner"I still plan on going, I look at it as this, the tourist money is a drop in the bucket. And the cult aspect is shrinking slowly, I feel one of the DPRKs top generals and pals will try to take over at a opportune moment. They're no fools, and media gets smuggled across the border from China now, giving them a glimpse of the "hellish imperialist world"
Also interesting is how closely some of their ideology is to WW2 era Japan.

Check out The Cleanest Race B.R. Meyers.

They wouldn't ever let the American defectors have Korean wives. They kidnaped a Romanian woman for James Dresnok. A Japanese for another, and I forget the other 2.
Any suggested docs or books on NK? Check out the cleanest race. Great work.

u/noxygen · 1 pointr/northkorea

USA also wanted to get rid of north korea completely (that's why they pushed so far north if you remember...). I suggest you to read this before making a complete fool of yourself. And yes war is the most horrible thing on Earth, with slavery maybe... I don't know what's worse.

If you think war is ok, I suggest you to read Im Westen nichts Neues which gives a good insight of the tragedy this is for everyone involved.

War is sometimes necessary to protect ourselves, but war is never ok.

edit : typo