December 07, 2023

Why is North Korea Building a Mammoth Size “Folklore Park”?

Standing at the foot of Mount Taesong in Pyongyang, construction of the Pyongyang Folklore Park first began back in December 2008 under the instruction of Kim Jong-il. Yet it wasn't until Kim Jong-il visited in December 2011, shortly before his death, that details were revealed by KCNA about the “exciting” activities the park offered. Visitors, it was said, could enjoy archery, Korean wrestling, swinging and views of both Mount Paektu and Kumgang.

In an unexpected move, many of the park’s buildings are modelled on those of the Shilla Kingdom opposed to the Koguryo Kingdom, despite KCNA specifically stating their focus for this period as the “Koguryo Kingdom (B.C. 277-A.D. 668)”. The Shilla Kingdom is teritorially where South Korea is today, though of course not divided at the DMZ. Despite the heightened anti-South feeling, Gareth Johnson of Young Pioneer Tours explains that North Korea has purposely combined the two ancient kingdoms to emphasise the oneness of Korea and the North's pride in all of Korea's history. Despite KPA officer Han Chol blaming Lee Myung Bak for the delay, it seems the DPRK are keen to seem like the good guys who are always vying for a unified Korea.