October 02, 2022

Shaking the people’s paradise: Ri Chung Gu’s subversive North Korean anti-heroes

Reflecting the changing times, one DPRK writer sought to portray more believable juche apostates

One of the stalest truisms of juche mass culture has been the presentation of North Korea as a “people’s paradise," a land of total happiness and unbreakable unity, where all people voluntarily discard their own individual desires and accept the will of the leader.  

This idea has not always dominated North Korean culture, however. In earlier works, North Korean mass culture strove to present socialism not as something imposed on people but proactively and individually chosen by them.