North Korean students attend a mass dance that was taking place to celebrate the DPRK’s independence day on September 9, 2009.
After visiting the Juche Tower, we stuck around for an hour to watch the mass dance that was taking place to celebrate the DPRK’s independence day.
Americans head down to show off their imperialist dance moves.
Which the North Koreans find thoroughly amusing.
Dance over, everyone back in formation.
Designed by the Dear Leader himself, the Tower of Juche Idea was completed in 1982 to commemorate Kim Il-Sung’s 70th birthday. That’s quite a gift to present to your father for his birthday. By comparison, the books and t-shirts I send my dad now appear to be quite inadequate.
At a height of 557.7 feet, the Juche Tower surpasses the Washington Monument by a little over two feet. Honestly, Juche Tower doesn’t appear to be taller than the Washington Monument, but if the North Koreans say it is, it must be so. They would never lie about something as inconsequential as their monument being taller than a U.S. Imperialist monument, right? Right.
The Juche Idea, which the tower takes its name from, is the official state ideology of North Korea:
The regime emphasizes Juche [Juché, Chuch’e], a national ideology of self-reliance. The regime justifies its dictatorship with arguments derived from concepts of collective consciousness and the superiority of the collective over the individual, appeals to nationalism, and citations of “the juche idea.” The authorities emphasize that the core concept of juche is “the ability to act independently without regard to outside interference.” Originally described as “a creative application of Marxism-Leninism” in the national context, juche is a malleable philosophy reinterpreted from time to time by the regime as its ideological needs change and used by the regime as a “spiritual” underpinning for its rule.
Plaques donated by Juche study groups and regime supporters throughout the world. Yes, there was even one from the United States.
The Juche Tower is topped with a tacky red flame sculpture that glows a bright reddish orange color at night until it is shut off.
For the sum of five euros you can take an elevator to the top of tower for an amazing 360 degree view of Pyongyang. When we got to the top of the tower, a member of our group jokingly asked the tower’s tour guide if anyone had ever fallen off. “No!” she replied, with a confused look on her face. “Why would you even ask such a question?!”
Mass dance being held below
May Day Stadium where the Arirang Festival Mass Games are held.
North Koreans paddleboating on the Taedong River
Statue of a worker, peasant, and intellectual. Quite similar to Vera Mukhina’s “Worker and Kolkhoz Woman” statue in Moscow.
Locals watching the mass dance.