June 20, 2021

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It’s time to stop referring to North Korea as “Confucian”

Those linking the Chinese philosopher with the DPRK have misunderstood both

Of many explanations of the nature of the North Korean state and its ideology, perhaps the most peculiar one is the so-called “Confucian” approach.

The followers of this argument claim that the DPRK in its core is a Confucian state, very similar to the age of Lee dynasty (1392-1910) and should be understood as such. This view got some prominence in the early 2000s and now is seemingly in decline. However, a direct critique of this approach is rare and hence this piece was written.