14 Facts You Didn’t Know About North Korea
There was a lot of buzz recently about North Korea and James Franco’s and Seth Rogen’s political satire film The Interview. However, even without this film this country is seen as strange. We collected 14 facts you didn’t know about North Korea. Check them out.
1. Voting ballots have only one option
Yes, you guessed correctly. On voting ballot you can only find Kim Jong-un and the name of the ruling party. Beloved Leader has a 100% support of North Korean citizens.
2. North Koreans born shorter every year
Research by the University in Seoul showed that since the Korean War, the North Koreans are born shorter than their southern neighbors by an average of 8 cm (3 in). This phenomenon is attributed to poor diet and the fact that more than ⅔ of North Korean children are malnourished.
3. Kim Jong-il kidnapped a film director
Kim Jong-il, the father of current leader Kim Jong-un, kidnapped famous South Korean film director Shin Sang-ok and his wife, and forced him to create acclaimed North Korean films. Among the films created was North Korea’s own version of Godzilla, called Pulgasari. Shin Sang-OK and his wife escaped years later.
4. North Korea built a fake village to get South Koreans to come in
In the 1950s after the Korean War, North Korea built Kijong-Dong (Peace Village), a city visible from the border, to encourage South Koreans in. They built schools, offices and blocks that have never been inhabited since the buildings are only dummies.
5. North Korea has only one TV station
Korean Central Television has a monopoly on information in the country. It broadcasts for 7-8 hours a week and 15 hours during weekends and public holidays. It always starts with the national anthem. Most of the programs are about the recent activities of Kim Jong Un and anecdotes from the life of Kim Il Sung for children. However, there are also music programs, dramas, and even romance and comedy programs.
Source: The Kernel
6. The year is 105
In North Korea, you will find so-called double dating calendar, because next to the Gregorian calendar there is the Juche calendar. It was introduced in 1997 and is based on Kim Il-sung’s date of birth: 15 April 1912.
7. Unicorns lived in North Korea
North Korean archaeologists claim they found a secret unicorn lair in North Korea. It is located 200 meters (about 219 yards) from the Yongmyong Temple in Pyongyang. A rock that sits in front of the lair contains carvings that some believe date back to the period of the Koryo Kingdom (918-1392).
8. There are 28 state-approved haircuts
The authorities have approved 28 hairstyles considered to capture the spirit of communism. The official message explains that they have chosen the most comfortable hair, avoiding the decadent, such as those seen in South Korea. Women can choose from 18 haircuts depending on whether they are married or not. The men have 10 haircuts, but they can’t grow their hair longer than five inches (12.7cm). Older men can go up to three inches (7.6cm).
9. Wearing jeans is illegal
Do you like your casual blue jeans? In that case, you’re lucky that you do not live in North Korea. Denim symbolises the enemy – the United States.
Source: National Geographic
10. There is no illiteracy in North Korea
At least that say the authorities in Pyongyang. They proudly announce that 100% of the population can read and write. This is the highest rate in the world.
11. North Korea has its own internet
It is called Kwangmyong and it’s not hooked to a global network, because … if you have arrived so far down the list you probably do not need any explaination. North Korean internet allows you to browse carefully selected information copied from western sites, fan clubs of Beloved Leader, news and digital library.
12. Marijuana is legal and not even classified as a drug…
…but distributing pornography, owning bibles and watching South Korean movies are punishable by death.
13. Kim Jong-il spent $1.3m on Hennessy per year
That’s 800 times the average North Korean’s annual income (estimated to be between $1200 and $2500).
14. Dead Korean President Still Runs His Office
When the President of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – Kim Il-sung died in 1994, the parliament revised constitution, abolished the presidency and established the honorific title of Eternal President of the Republic, which was given to Kim Il-sung.