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)

6 thoughts on “North Korean propaganda posters”

  1. That was a particularly uninformative analysis. It would be better to compare Korean Socialist Realism to the corresponding Chinese movement.

  2. For my money it was a good description of their function at least.

    For some reason I suddenly I feel the need to start raising goats…

  3. Manages to make goats look as fun as… throwing babies in a well.

    The baby in the well motif could come from Japanese anti-US propaganda. At the very least it was one of the rumors that circulated during the Battle of Okinawa.

  4. Really, you all have the wrong idea, totally. The first poster is about how the Americans will come to North Korea to save babies from drowning in wells, and the hysterical mother is being held back for her own safety by her loving American GI boyfriend. Note how the soldier’s gun is pointed *away* from the baby, and the tender expression on the second soldier’s face.

    The second poster is warning against the attempted seduction of goats by lonely young maidens, who are urged to save themselves for the coming American GIs.

    The third poster is M-Bone….

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