North Korean propaganda posters

imperialist wolves

“Do not forget the US imperialist wolves!”

ess_north_korean_39 extensive goats

“Let’s extensively raise goats in all families!”

Check these amazing samples of NK propaganda posters, with an interesting analysis:

Stylistically, North Korean art is far more than a mere copy of Soviet Russian socialist realism. As was the case with the revolution itself, North Korean socialist realist art had to accord with Korea’s specific historical conditions and cultural traditions. Kim Il Sung pronounced that “Korean Painting” [Chosonhwa], the indigenous post-revolutionary development of traditional ink painting, was the best representative of Korean styles and emotions. He made the essential features of Korean painting the model for all fine arts. Kim Jong Il in his Treatise on Art (Misullon, 1992) described the qualities of Korean Painting as clarity, compactness, and delicacy. These characteristics have become the standard applied to all art produced in North Korea. As such, they also form the basis and model for poster art. On the latter, Kim Jong Il had more to say in his treatise on art. As important tools in the mobilization of the masses, posters have to have an instantaneous impact on the viewers’ understanding and their desire to act upon this understanding. Their message has to be accessible, clear and direct; informative and explanatory, as well as exhortative. The link between contemplation and action is crucial. A poster artist is ultimately an agitator, who, familiar with the party line and endowed with a sharp analysis and judgment of reality produces a rousing depiction of policies and initiatives that stimulate the people into action. Only if the poster appeals to the ideological and aesthetic sentiments of the people will it succeed in truly rousing the people. Kim Jong Il refers to poster painters as standard bearers of their times, submerged in the overwhelming reality and in touch with the revolutionary zeal and creative power of the people, leading the way from a position among the people.

Posters are visual illustrations of the slogans that surround the people of North Korea constantly. North Korean society is in a permanent mobilization. Party and government declarations are stripped down to single-line catchphrases. Through their endless repetition in banners, newspaper headlines, and media reports, these compact slogans become self-explanatory, simultaneously interpreting and constructing reality.

-Koen de Ceuster

(thanks to @cominganarchy)

SMAP’s Kusanagi arrested for drunken nudity outside Tokyo Midtown park

WOW! (English story here)

Tsuyoshi Kusanagi was arrested by Akasaka police for drunken nudity!



At 3am in Hinokicho Park just outside Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi, police found a naked Kusanagi dancing wildly making a scene (apparently not “dancing” exactly). When they told him to calm down he refused saying “What’s wrong with being naked?!” So they had no choice but to arrest him. He resisted and had to be “wrapped in a sheet” to be taken to the station. He is so ubiquitous on Japanese TV that the stations have been thrown into chaos today, in danger of having to cancel a good portion of their programming schedule and commercials (why? for some reason it is standard operating procedure to systematically blacklist a talent who runs afoul of authorities or even is caught cheating on a spouse).

Kusanagi is (was?) a member of SMAP, the pop group that gained popularity through wide-ranging appearances in variety shows, survived through the 90s into today despite numerous scandals, rumors, and accusations. Their popularity also engendered no small amount of sour grapes and cries of unfairness who felt their talent agency Johnny’s Entertainment abused their market power to set inconceivably favorable terms for their acts. But they got away with it thanks largely to their bottomless capacity to bring out their fanbase to generate ratings/sales. With this incident all those who hated on SMAP over the years have something to hang their hats on.

The SMAP members are well-known to have their lives fairly closely monitored and managed by talent agency Johnny’s Entertainment. Perhaps Kusanagi just couldn’t take it anymore as the group entered their mid-30s and industry observers wondered how they could adapt even as middle aged “ossan.”

If anything Kusanagi chose a nice park to stage his downfall in. Hinokicho is clean and boasts a “Japanese but modern and artistic” feel. Mrs. Adamu and I have enjoyed its tranquil (though crowded) lightup around Christmastime.

A little more from Bloomberg:

Japan’s government may halt advertisements promoting digital TV after the incident, as the campaign features Kusanagi, said Hideo Harada, an official in the terrestrial broadcasting section at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

A person who answered a call to Kusanagi’s management agency, Johnny’s and Associates Inc., said there were no officials available to comment on the case. She declined to give her name or position at the company.

SMAP’s music is sold by a label under the control of JVC Kenwood Holdings. JVC Kenwood shares fell as much as 8.3 percent in Tokyo trading today, and finished the morning session 6.7 percent lower at 56 yen. The Nikkei fell 0.5 percent.

Fighting fire with fire – ominous divine eye silently watches, condemns Saitama litterers

Here is the image that will be in my nightmares from now on:


If you think you can toss your waste in the Minuma Rice Fields nature preserve, think again – the red torii are watching you. Judging you.

A citizens’ group in Saitama prefecture has set up dozens of these unsettling warnings to try and stop litterers from ruining their greenery and historical farmland. A member of the group commented that they would prefer not to set these things up since they understand the negative effect on the scenery, but the move was taken out of frustration after signs and cameras didn’t work. The group claims it has been effective in reducing the amount of trash. I mean, what’s worse – hellish, gazing torii or mountains of construction waste in one of Japan’s precious nature preserves?

Torii (often translated as “traditional Japanese gates”) are traditionally placed at the entrance to Shinto shrines and symbolize that you are venturing into sacred space. In recent years, the practice of using torii (or mock torii with distorted proportions) to ward off potential litterers has grown as word of mouth has spread with the help of positive TV coverage. The added eye was an original innovation of the Saitama group. According to Wikipedia, this custom is predated by the use of tiny torii to keep public urinators in check.