Tag Archives: Kim Jong-Il

Famous North Korean Propaganda Artist Turned Satirist


Artwork by Song Byeok

Song Byeok’s artistic skills were made famous at the age of 24 when he became the official propaganda artist for North Korea, portraying glorified images of rulers Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il. His loyalty shifted in the 1990s when he saw his family starve to death due to the famine. Song had attempted to defect to China. His father drowned in the Tumen river during an escape attempt, and Song ended up in a prison camp.

Song successfully defected to South Korea in 2002, where he began painting satirical imaes of oppressive regimes from around the world. Watch Song’s interview with the BBC here.


‘Take Off Your Clothes’ by Song Byeok

His first North American exhibit was in Atlanta, GA earlier this year and like all cool things these days, it was made possible by a Kickstarter campaign. Song’s latese work is currently on display at the Woolley Mammoth Threatre in Washington, DC.

For more information about Song, exhibits, and purchasing a print, check out the website www.songbyeok.com.

The Cool Kim, Now On TV?!

Step aside Kim Jong-Il Looking at Things, there is a cooler Kim on the internet now. A year after the grandson of Kim Jong-Il made international headlines with his Facebook Page, Kim Han Sol has sat down for a TV interview with Elizabeth Rehn. He is stylish, speaks English with an impressive American accent, and is confident.

Although the interview avoids politics for the most part, Kim Han Sol expresses a desire for unification, stating “It’s really sad that I can’t go there and see my friends over there and, yeah, it’s a really sad story.” 

Watch the interview in two parts here (don’t worry, English dialogue begins at 1:35): 


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_uSuCkKa3k]


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSfVOf4OACs]

Help The Defector Win the SXSW PanelPicker Vote!

This year we’re hoping to get THE DEFECTOR: Smuggling Freedom showcased during the SXSW festival!


In order to do so, we need all you loyal followers of the documentary to be a part of the SXSW community that decides which films and interactive websites get in the Digital Domain showcase. It’s a special area of the festival where you meet the filmmakers and web designers and hear the inside story on their projects.  It’s a simple voting process that only takes a few minutes of your time. Voting is done through SXSW’s PanelPicker website. Voting starts TODAY, August 13 and goes until August 31.

How you can help:
Simply sign up for a free account at panelpicker.sxsw.com (so quick and painless, I promise!)

Then you can search for “The Defector,” or go direct to our profile by clicking this link: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/2734 and give us a thumbs up vote!

After that you can share it on facebook and tweet about it all you like! Which I am sure is A LOT!

Thank you for all your support through our endeavours in getting THE DEFECTOR: Smuggling Freedom produced. We are grateful for your readership, promotion, and loyalty to our project and story. You’re the BEST!

#NorthKorea beat #Japan in #WorldCup Qualifier


North Korean player Pak Nam Chol scoring a goal against Japan on Nov 15. Image by AP Herald Sun

North Korea beat Japan 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier home game this week. The Kim Il-Sung stadium was packed to capacity with 50,000 fans cheering fervently. Despite the win, North Korea trails so far behind Japan and Uzbekistan that it wont be able to advance in the World Cup games.  

Win a limited edition Designer T-shirt when you donate to our Kickstarter Campaign

Our limited edition Tshirts have been popular requests among our Kickstarter supporters. Several designers have donated their designs to this campaign to help get our film The Defector made. The Defector film follows North Korean fugitives as they go on a dangerous trek across Asia into South-East Asia in their hopes to find their way to freedom. We are one week into our crowd-funding campaign and could really use your support. Contribute and get a Tshirt! Share this post with friends. You can find more info on how to get a Tshirt at our Kickstarter site here: http://kck.st/tRDDfU


The North Korean Dynasty: Kim Jong-il’s grandson dyes hair blonde, loves democracy and Love Actually


News reports around the world have ended up on the Facebook pages of two of Kim Jong-Il’s legacy- his son Kim Jong-nam and grandson, Kim Han-sol. Part of the select few of the North Korean dynasty forced to live in exile outside of North Korea, these two prefer democracy. Images and text ridiculing the North Korean elite can be found on Kim Jong-nam’s profile, but it is Kim Han-sol’s Facebook and Twitter that have the media buzzing. With bleached blonde hair, earrings, a girlfriend, and a stated preference of democracy over communism, Kim Han-sol represents a generational gap within the elite. Simply having social media accounts expresses a modernity and an openness that is denied within North Korea. This leaves us here to wonder about the future of the dynasty as a younger generation, Kim Jong-un, begins to take over.

Full stories, pictures and videos can be found at <a href="http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2011/10/03/2011100300523.html http://bit.ly/qlX3hQ“>The Chosun Ilbo

Women attempt to defect from North Korea in order to seek treatment for the AIDS virus in China. AIDS is a growing problem within the country


Three women in their early twenties affected with the AIDS virus have been arrested and detained for attempting to cross the North Korean border into China. After exhausting treatments within North Korea, the women were trying to defect to China where more effective medicine is available. Even though the women are educated, they were working as prostitutes in the marketplace because they could not find other work. They represent a growing industry of women who are prostituting themselves, without having any proper sexual education. Contraception methods and condoms are lacking in North Korea, and many women continue selling sex after being diagnosed with AIDS. Men come to the marketplace on business from all over, and are now contracting the virus before returning to their home province or city, where it is then presumed to spread further. The condition of the three women continues to get worse, but they remain in a prison.

Read the full article at NKRadio.org

A family of 9 North Korean defectors are rescued off the coast of Japan on September 13th

Three men, three women and three children were brought safely to a Japanese shore after escaping North Korea on September 8th in a small 24-foot wooden boat. The family was trying to head to South Korea in order to seek asylum. By the time Japanese coast guards found them they had run out of fresh drinking water and had only a small amount of rice and pickled vegetables left, and all were without life jackets. One of the men claims he was an official of the North Korean army, and his fleeing suggests that starvation due to this summer’s drought is no longer just affecting civilians, but the military as well.


Photo retrieved from english.caijing.com.cn

The family is only one of three groups of North Korean defectors to ever make it safely to Japanese shores, the first in 1987 and the second in 2007. Seoul is ready to welcome the group, and we wish them a safe journey.

Full article and pictures at The Telegraph

Korea’s DMZ has become a UNESCO ecological reserve with 2,716 different species


Photo retrieved from Constain B. via Treehugger

For the past 59 years, no one has lived in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. The DMZ was established at the end of the Korean War, and one of the unexpected benefits of this Cold War arrangement is that the land has become a haven for plants and wildlife. 2,716 species of flora and fauna thrive there, including many endangered animals. The goal is to allow the area to develop in an eco-friendly way, allowing people and nature to coexist and to promote ecotourism.
For the full article, visit The Chosun