September 24, 2021

Kids these days: North Korea calls on youth to emulate their virtuous parents

A North Korean radio drama gives important insights into growing generational divides inside the country

Under leader Kim Jong Un, the North Korean state has declared young educated people, filled with vital energy and armed with contemporary knowledge, to be the salt of the earth and the country’s hope.

Yet unlike during the DPRK’s Chollima period under former leader Kim Il Sung, when mass culture devalued the elderly, messages of intergenerational harmony have permeated propaganda under Kim Jong Un. The state has portrayed young people as enthusiastically continuing the deeds of their fathers and grandfathers in the “strong country of the youth (청년 강국).”