North Korea 10.2005: Index
[For larger images see index at left]

Arirang Mass Games

Held in May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, these Mass Games — a large-scale, propoganda-filled tableau of synchronized gymnastics and performance — are staged with over 100,000 participants. The images on the far side of the stadium are comprised of human pixels: schoolchildren holding flip-books. The spectacle includes music, a laser light show, a high wire motorcycle act, and a historical narrative culminating in a future reunified Korea.



USS Pueblo

A U.S. Navy vessel captured off the coast of North Korea in 1968 — crew members were held for almost a year. The Pueblo is moored in Pyongyang; a tour begins with a video about American imperialist agression. The bullet holes from when the ship was siezed are outlined in red so as not to be overlooked.



Manyongdae Children's Palace

Visitors tour athletic facilities and art, music, and dance studios, culminating in a musical performance.




Note the terracing on steep hills; this was one of the efforts to combat famine in the 90s by expanding agricultural output, with dire ecological consequences and loss of crops due to flooding. These photos were taken on a Sunday, the one day of rest in the work-week. These (and certain other photos) were taken surreptitiously, as the minders didn't want laborers in the countryside to be photographed.



State Film Studios

A vast complex in Pyongyang.



Juche Tower

Dedicated to Juche, the official state ideology of independence and self-reliance. The tower is said to contain the same number of blocks as there were days in Kim Il Sung's life. Juche is also the name of the calendar system in use in North Korea which begins in 1912, Kim Il Sung's birth year.



Victorious Fatherland Liberation Museum

Dedicated to the history of the Korean War, or Victorious Fatherland Liberation War, as it is called here. The downed U.S. military aircraft are in the basement; the building was constructed around them. The guide points to Northern victories over the U.S. (which was said to have begun the war) and U.S. atrocities.



Mansudae Monument

Where one pays respect to the Great Leader, Kim Il Sung. It is forbidden to photograph just a portion of the statue, particularly the feet without the rest of the figure.



Pyongyang Metro

Evidently only two subway stops are ever shown to visitors. These subway cars were purchased from East Germany — note the portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il in every car.