Origins of North Koreas Juche: Colonialism, War, and Development

Origins of North Korea's Juche (eBook)
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The word migrated to the Korean language at around the turn of the century and retained this meaning. In today's political discourse on North Korea , Juche has a connotation of "self-reliance", "autonomy" and "independence".


Official statements by the North Korean government attribute the origin of Juche to Kim Il-sung's experiences in the Anti-Imperialist Youth League in in his liberation struggle against Japan. The speech had been delivered to promote a political purge similar to the earlier Yan'an Rectification Movement in China. Hwang Jang-yop , Kim's top adviser on ideology, discovered Kim's speech in the late s when Kim, having established a cult of personality , [17] sought to develop his own version of Marxism—Leninism into a North Korean ideology.

To make revolution in Korea we must know Korean history and geography as well as the customs of the Korean people. Only then is it possible to educate our people in a way that suits them and to inspire in them an ardent love for their native place and their motherland. Gregorian calendar dates are used for years before while years from the year of Kim Il-sung's birth are described as " Juche years".

When used, " Juche years" are often accompanied by the Gregorian equivalent, i. Kim saw Juche principles as applicable around the world, not just in Korea. Many prominent party and government officials, public figures, representatives of revolutionary and progressive organizations, scientists and journalists from more than fifty countries attended. An excerpt from the opening speech says:.

Regardless of the opposition forces, the determination of the people and their strength and conviction are not measured by territorial dimensions, possession of advanced technology, still less, opulence or riches. For those who wish to forget the lesson of history so easily and so quickly, Algeria, Viet Nam, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola — and closer to us — Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Azania are excellent examples which make them deeply reflect on.

What we want is not the perfection of political independence alone. The evil forces craftily manipulate the economic levers in order to perpetuate their supremacy and reduce us to vassals and eternal mendicants. The International Institute of the Juche Idea was established [ by whom?

Kimilsungism was first mentioned by Kim Jong-il in the s [30] and was introduced alongside the Ten Principles for the Establishment of a Monolithic Ideological System. It is interchangeable with the juche [ sic ] idea". The idea of Juche , which constitutes the quintessence of Kimilsungism, is an idea newly discovered in the history of mankind". The revolutionary theory of Kimilsungism is a revolutionary theory which has provided solutions to problems arising in the revolutionary practice in a new age different from the era that gave rise to Marxism—Leninism.

On the basis of Juche idea , the leader gave a profound explanation of the theories, strategies and tactics of national liberation , class emancipation and human liberations in our era. Thus, it can be said that the revolutionary theory of Kimilsungism is a perfect revolutionary theory of Communism in the era of Juche. According to analyst Shin Gi-wook, the ideas of Juche and Kimilsungism were in essence the "expressions of North Korean particularism over supposedly more universalistic Marxism—Leninism". Guided by Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism, we should conduct Party building and Party activities, so as to sustain the revolutionary character of our Party and advance the revolution and construction in line with the ideas and intentions of the President and the General.

Marxism—Leninism presented a series of opinions on building of Socialism and Communism, but it confined itself to presupposition and hypothesis owing to the limitations of the conditions of their ages and practical experiences [ North Korea would not encounter such difficulties because of the conceiving of Juche. The political and ideological might of the motive force of revolution is nothing but the power of single-hearted unity between the leader, the Party, and the masses.

In our socialist society, the leader, the Party, and the masses throw in their lot with one another, forming a single socio-political organism. The consolidation of blood relations between the leader, the Party and the masses is guaranteed by the single ideology and united leadership. Unlike Marxism—Leninism, which considers improvements in the material conditions of production and exchange as the driving force of historical progress known as historical materialism , Juche considers human beings in general the driving force in history.

The theory turns the Great Leader into an absolutist, supreme leader. Unlike the Joseon dynasty , where there was a huge gap between the upper and lower classes, North Korea had adopted the concept of a gathered-together "people". Instead of a strict social hierarchy, North Korea had in theory divided the union into three classes, namely peasant, worker and samuwon intellectuals and professionals , where each was just as important as the other.

The samuwon class consisted of clerks, small traders, bureaucrats, professors and writers. This was a unique class that was created to increase education and literacy of North Korea's population. Normally, Communist nations would value only the farmers or laborers, thus in the Soviet Union the intelligentsia was not defined as an independent class of its own, but rather as a "social stratum" that recruited itself from members of almost all classes: proletariat , petite bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie.

However, a "peasant intelligentsia" was never mentioned. Correspondingly, the "proletarian intelligentsia" was exalted for bringing forth progressive scientists and Marxist theoreticians whereas the "bourgeois intelligentsia" was condemned for producing "bourgeois ideology", which were all non-Marxist worldviews. Language reforms followed revolutions more than once, such as the New Korean Orthography in North Korea which failed due to Korean ethnic nationalist fears of precluding Korean unification , or the simplification of Chinese characters under Mao Zedong a consequence of the divergent orthographic choices of Taiwan and the People's Republic of China , or the simplification of the Russian language after the revolution in Russia and consequent struggle against illiteracy, known in Soviet Russia as Likbez Likvidaciya Bezgramotnosti , liquidation of illiteracy.


For over five decades, North Korea has outlived many forecasts of collapse despite defects in its system. Origins of North Korea's Juche: Colonialism, War, and. Editorial Reviews. Review. This is doubtlessly a very timely book on an important topic, combining the insights of prominent experts. A must-read for everyone.

They believed in rapid industrialization through labor and in subjecting nature to human will. By restructuring social classes into a mass of people who are theoretically all equal, the North Korean government claimed it would be able to attain self-reliance or Juche in upcoming years. This is questionable, because the country suffers massive food shortages annually and is heavily dependent on foreign aid. In the view of some observers, Juche is not mere rhetoric, but rather an ideal of self-reliance that North Korea has attempted to put into practice. Based On the Juche Idea , Kim Jong-il argued: "Independence is not in conflict with internationalism but is the basis of its strengthening".


For over five decades, North Korea has outlived many forecasts of collapse despite defects in its system. In the s and s the leaders of the DPRK and the BPP viewed themselves as vital members of a global project highlighting self-reliance and development. What we want is not the perfection of political independence alone. This is the first comprehensive account of the alliance formed between the BPP and North Korea and contributes to recent scholarship on the Third World dimensions of the BPP and the international approach of the organization. To learn more about how to request items watch this short online video. While preserving and strengthening some Stalinist institutions, they increasingly took on a nationalist flavor.

However, it soon asserted its independence from both the Soviet Union and China. Though it rejected de-Stalinization , it avoided taking sides in the Sino-Soviet split. As the Communist bloc split, introduced market reforms and collapsed, North Korea increasingly emphasized Juche in both theory and practice. North Korea was admitted to the Non-Aligned Movement in and began to present itself as a leader of the Third World.

It fostered diplomatic relations with developing countries and promoted Juche as a model for others to follow.

Origins of North Korea's Juche: Colonialism War and Development (Paperback) by Suh Jae-Jung

National survival has been seen as a guiding principle of North Korea's diplomatic strategy. In On the Juche Idea , Kim Jong-il stated: "In order to implement the principle of economic self-sufficiency, one must build an independent national economy". After the devastation of the Korean War, North Korea began to rebuild its economy with a base in heavy industry, with the aim of becoming as self-sufficient as possible. Commentators have often pointed out the discrepancy between the principle of self-sufficiency and North Korea's dependence on foreign aid, especially during its economic crisis in the s.

In On the Juche Idea , Kim Jong-il stated: "Self-reliance in defense is a fundamental principle of an independent sovereign state".

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North Korea has attempted to put this into practice. It has developed its own nuclear missile. Some South Korean scholars categorize Juche as a national religion or they compare its facets to those of some religions. For instance, Juche has been compared to pre-existing religions in Korea notably neo-Confucianism and Korean shamanism due to their shared familiar principles. North Korea is officially an atheist state , but some argue that it maintains a cult of personality identical to a religion.

The ideology teaches that the role of a Great Leader is essential for the popular masses to succeed in their revolutionary movement because without leadership they are unable to survive.

The NK News study guide part 5: The idea called Juche | NK News - North Korea News

The personality cult explains how the Juche ideology has been able to endure until today, even during the North Korean government's undeniable dependence on foreign assistance during its famine in the s. Juche' s emphasis on the political and sacred role of the leader and the ensuing worshipping by the popular masses has been critiqued by various intellectual Marxists.

One pertinent example is the Arirang Festival , which is a gymnastics and artistic festival held in the Rungnado May Day Stadium in Pyongyang. All components of the festival, from the selection of performers, mobilization of resources, recruitment of the audience and publicity for the show have been compared to facets of a national religious event. The Arirang Festival has been described to demonstrate the power of the North Korean government to arrange a form of religious gathering.

It has done so by "appropriating a mass of bodies for calisthenic and performative arts representing the leader as the Father and his faithful followers". Charles K.

Spirit of Asia - North Korea Juche 107

Armstrong argues that familism has transformed itself into a kind of political religion in the form of Juche. With the emergence of Juche as North Korea's guiding political principle since the s, the familial relationship within the micro-family unit has been translated into a national, macro-unit with Kim Il-sung representing the father figure and the North Korean people representing his children. Juche is thus based on the language of family relationships with its East Asian or neo-Confucian "resonances of filial piety and maternal love".

Armstrong also notes that North Korea has actually transferred the " filial piety of nationalism in the family of the leader himself" by positioning Kim Il-sung as the universal patriarch. The cult of personality surrounding Kim expanded into a family cult when Kim Jong Il became the heir apparent after assuming important posts in the WPK and military in the early s. Throughout the s, the North Korean regime became increasingly nationalistic—at least, in its official pronouncements—leading Kim Chonghun to state that "Socialism of our Style" was really "Socialism without Socialism".