Modern North Korea is a special blend of paranoid isolationism and intense ethno-racism, and each quality reinforces the other.
This is according to an expert on the country, B. R. Myers, who wrote the endlessly consultable, The Cleanest Race, a book about ideology and racialism in North Korea. Myers is a researcher and literary critic based in South Korea.
The first myth is the one that deludes the consciousness of the North Korean rabble and the army that owns the country.
North Korea was efficiently colonized in 1910 by the Japanese, during the apogee of their imperial reign. In so doing, the Japanese promoted an insidious and grievous ‘blood-myth,’ proclaiming a common heritage between the Koreans.
Both, it is said, are descended from the Yamato peoples, who are perfect, according to North Korean propaganda. Myers’ book has a whole section on this, an abridgment of which can be found in the NY Times.
The second commonest myth about North Korea is its communism, a word entirely missing from the constitution. In fact, North Korea’s ideology ‘is a race-based worldview utterly at odds with the teachings of Marx and Lenin.’ It is, Myers continues, simply racist.
The third myth is that Kim Jong-il was the leader of the country. He is indeed not. He is only the leader of the army. It’s his deceased padre, Kim Sung-il, a man whose life is an evolving fabrication tailored closely to the life of Mao Zedong, for whom the North Korean propagandists are trying to model him after.
That is right: Kim sung-il, who died in 1994, is the constitutionally bestowed ‘Eternal President of the Republic.’ A republic, a social system where the power lies in the citizen over the state, is rendered into its own tyrannical opposite when the ability to vote in or impeach a president dies with the man who once held the office.
Kim Jong-un, then, is only the head of the army, and it is for this reason that Ri Yong-ho, chief of the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army, shouted biliously this pledge: “We will build a ten thousand-fold bulwark for protecting the supreme commander and become rifles and bombs to serve Kim Jong-un first line lifeguards and Kim Jong-un first line death-defying corps.” Flattering isn’t it?