April 14, 2024

About the author

Ji-Min Kang

Ji-min is an “Ask a North Korean” contributor. He is in his late 20s and left Pyongyang in 2005. He can be reached via email.

More articles by 'Ji-Min Kang'

Defection and the trouble with freedom

Defection and the trouble with freedom

This week's Ask a North Korean describes the hardships of adapting to a competitive society where one's life isn't planned for them

Defection and the trouble with freedom
Ji-Min Kang
Ji-Min Kang January 8, 2015
How the famine helped improve our choices in North Korea

How the famine helped improve our choices in North Korea

How North Korea's devastating famine surprisingly helped improve local access to food and consumer goods

How the famine helped improve our choices in North Korea
Ji-Min Kang
Ji-Min Kang November 24, 2014
How foreign movies changed my life in North Korea

How foreign movies changed my life in North Korea

Ask a North Korean: How do North Koreans view Western and South Korean movies, DVDs and songs?

How foreign movies changed my life in North Korea
Ji-Min Kang
Ji-Min Kang October 22, 2014
How law and order works in North Korea

How law and order works in North Korea

Police exist to collect bribes, punishment is determined by social status

How law and order works in North Korea
Ji-Min Kang
Ji-Min Kang July 24, 2014
Fortune-tellers, spirits and ghosts: North Korea’s unofficial faith

Fortune-tellers, spirits and ghosts: North Korea’s unofficial faith

While authorities do not tolerate official religion, Shamanism and fortune-telling popular in North Korea

Fortune-tellers, spirits and ghosts: North Korea’s unofficial faith
Ji-Min Kang
Ji-Min Kang June 12, 2014
How North Korea’s economy shafts its students

How North Korea’s economy shafts its students

Young people lack ways to make money even as schools' demands add up

How North Korea’s economy shafts its students
Ji-Min Kang
Ji-Min Kang May 2, 2014
How does the dating scene work in North Korea?

How does the dating scene work in North Korea?

Pyongyang tries to instill 'love for revolutionary comrades' over romance, but people reject it

How does the dating scene work in North Korea?
Ji-Min Kang
Ji-Min Kang March 28, 2014
Neighborhood Watch: Inside North Korea’s secret police system

Neighborhood Watch: Inside North Korea’s secret police system

Ask A North Korean: "Let me tell you this: the Ministry of State Security system is a lot harsher than you'd think"

Neighborhood Watch: Inside North Korea’s secret police system
Ji-Min Kang
Ji-Min Kang February 26, 2014
Why democracy might not be the best replacement for dictatorship in N. Korea

Why democracy might not be the best replacement for dictatorship in N. Korea

Ask a North Korean: Would you ever go back to North Korea? If so, under what conditions?

Why democracy might not be the best replacement for dictatorship in N. Korea
Ji-Min Kang
Ji-Min Kang February 19, 2014
The dilemma of leaving my family behind in North Korea

The dilemma of leaving my family behind in North Korea

Ask a North Korean: What happened to the family you left behind in Pyongyang?

The dilemma of leaving my family behind in North Korea
Ji-Min Kang
Ji-Min Kang January 23, 2014