A mother is holding a Mickey Mouth bag for a child. In recent few years, various kinds of Mickey Mouse products spread in North Korea. August 2013, in Hyesan, Ryanggang Province. Taken by our Team ‘Mindeulle’ (ASIAPRESS)



“Let’s defeat the “scheme of decayed cultural infiltration” by enemies.”

With the slogan above, the North Korean government has tried to restrict in-flow information from outside.   It controls people by holding political indoctrination meetings and crackdown on (illegal sellers) at the market. These who possess foreign-produced DVDs, CDs, and documents can be punished as political criminals.

However, there have been wide spread of cultures and information from America, South Korea, and Japan–the “enemy nations”–into the lives of North Korean people.  In the market, there are a number of products of Mickey Mouse, Hello Kitty, Pooh Bear, and Doraemon that symbolize the enemies’ cultures.

North Korea has hardly been able to produce textile goods due to the social disorder and the economic collapse in the late 1990s.  Needless to say, 20 million citizens in North Korea need clothes, shoes, and bags.  Therefore, Chinese products have played the essential role in the North Korean market.
Related article: [Video Report] Chinese products and currency are playing a vital role in North Korean market

Products of famous characters–most likely pirated goods–are all imported from China, then distributed across the nation.  Most of the citizens may be selling and buying those products without knowing that these characters are from the “enemy nations.”

Information from outside–that the North Korean government has cracked down–is coming into North Korea as products, then spread all over the country through the market activity. (ISHIMARU Jiro)

Looking closer, a woman is wearing a Hello Kitty T-shirt. She may not know it’s a Japanese-made character. June 2010, in South Pyongan Province. Taken by Kim Dong-cheol (ASIAPRESS)


Our reporter picks up a Doraemon handkerchief made-in-China. It is sold at a market. August 2013, in Hyesan, Ryanggang Province. Taken by our Team ‘Mindeulle’ (ASIAPRESS)

Women are selling cosmetic products made-in-China. South Korean products are also sold secretly. Through the sales of products, culture and information of the “enemy nations” have infiltrated into North Korea. The women are not the shop clerks but they are the owners of the stalls, which are 80 cm in width. Taken on August 2013, in Hyesan, Ryanggang Province by our Team ‘Mindeulle’ (ASIAPRESS)


Rimjingang_banner001* Editor’s notes on North Korean reporters
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