“Dash Towards the Future” came out in 2012, not long after Kim Jong Un had become leader. It is performed by the Moranbong Band, which was formed under the direction of Kim Jong Un and remains to this day the hottest pop act in North Korea. I won’t be writing too much analysis with this one. […]

The upbeat, rustic melody of this song belies a tragic historic background that continues to cast deep shadows on North Korean society today. ‘Potato Pride’ was the product of a concerted campaign by the North Korean government to promote the virtues of the potato in the face of food insecurity during the mid-1990s- a period which […]

Pyongyang cold noodles (평양랭면;平壤冷麵) are enjoyed in both the north and south of the Korean peninsula, and are, as their name suggests, one of Pyongyang’s culinary specialties. The one restaurant most famous for the dish is without a doubt Okryugwan (옥류관;玉流館, literally ‘Jade Stream Pavilion’), situated on the western banks of the Taedong River in […]

North Korean cultural production has long since exalted the army as heroic defender of the nation. The mid-1990s saw the unveiling of songun, or ‘military-first’ politics as state policy, further elevating the status of the military. Today, men can request from their barbers a ‘speed battle cut’, while North Korean film, literature and music often […]