May 18, 2022

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How North Korea rebranded its most iconic poet into a Kim-worshipping fanboy

The story of poet Cho Ki Cheon is another example of the DPRK rewriting its cultural icons into propagandic myths

In the early days of the DPRK, many Soviet Koreans — ethnic Koreans that were born and raised in the Soviet Union but spoke fluent Korean — made important contributions to the country’s cultural foundations. 

Among them was Cho Ki Cheon (1913-1951), a prominent poet killed during the Korean War. Despite his death, though, Cho’s works and name lived on — even though his image, like those of numerous other historical figures, has been twisted to serve the needs of North Korea’s propagandists.