Welcome to the world of North Korean childhood. Today’s Asia Times carries an article on the strident nationalism in state education in North Korea: “In this world, cartoons such as ‘Pencil artillery shells’, by Cha Kye-ok, call on children to study well. Unlike in South Korea, where the same imperative is justified by intellectual fun and social success of the students, the North Korean educational paradigm suggests another lucrative objective: good students are better prepared for the defence of their country against invaders.
“In the constantly emphasized potential war, North Korean children are summoned to prepare for the worst. Verses of their songs widely employ idioms such as kyolsaongwi (desperate readiness to die [for the leader, the country, the party]) orch’ ongp’ at ‘anadulttal, (sons and daughters of guns and bombs/living guns and bombs). See, for example, a typical children’s poem by Kim Ch’angmu, They Envy Us, They Are Afraid of Us: Continue reading “Growing up in North Korea”