North Korea enters into a war-ready state

North Korean soldiers

  In the recent flurry of articles stating that North Korea has entered into a war-ready state and that its media and political institutions have withdrawn from active duty, New Focus attempted to connect in the usual way with correspondents inside North Korea in order to confirm these reports. Since it is not possible to […]

DPRK Office 101: Orwellian fantasy or North Korean reality?


Two anti-American video clips, which appear to praise North Korea’s militaristic ideology, were uploaded in the period leading up to, and following, North Korea’s third nuclear test. Not only do the two clips have in common an awkward production quality; both employ content that has been stolen from US video games. Despite what this latter […]

North Korean Software: a Primer to Juche Computing

North Korean software

Most of you reading this post will know what ‘.doc’ refers to. It is the file type extension for Microsoft Word. In the Juche spirit of ‘self-sufficiency’, official North Korean software packages include a word-processor called ‘Changduk Word’. If you ask a North Korean about ‘.cwp’ however, they won’t be able to tell you what […]

Kim Jong-un jokes: what do North Koreans think?


Our informants returned to China from Pyongyang with interesting news: subversive jokes are all the rage in North Korea, and the leader Kim Jong-un has become the butt of today’s most popular Pyongyang jokes. Kim Jong-un’s birthday, falling on the 8th of January, could not be celebrated by the regime in 2012 because it followed […]

Marriage in North Korea: The Ideal Bride or Groom

marriage in north korea

The desirable qualities that are most sought after in a potential marriage partner may offer clues to a society’s most cherished values. In certain cases, it can even reflect on the current character of the nation’s economy. According to recent defectors, desirable criteria for marriage in North Korea have shifted dramatically in the last decade […]

A case study of pop-psychology in action: North Korea's secret police


To counter the rising number of attempts to defect from North Korea, the DPRK Ministry of State Security (MSS) is relying increasingly on the so-called psychological sciences in order to filter out potential defectors before the event. According to defector Kang, whose family member worked for the Ministry of State Security, officers in training must […]