February 21, 2024

A “New Spring” of culture in Kim Il Sung’s North Korea

Brief period of relaxed censorship produced rich literature like Chon Se Bong’s 1958 novel

On a recent North Korean TV program, a young girl shared that she likes to spend her leisure time watching TV dramas, in particular her favorite one “New Spring in Sokkaul,” based on the 1958 novel of the same name by Chon Se Bong. 

That title might not ring a bell for most readers, but it’s noteworthy as many North Korean defectors have characterized Chon’s novel, unlike most literature of its time, as an accurate depiction of life in a postwar North Korean village.