National Symbols


Official Name of the DPRK

During the days of building a new country after Korea’s liberation (August 1945), President Kim Il Sung named it “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”, based on the independent and truly democratic and popular character of the Republic and the fundamental object and immediate task of the Korean revolution.

The name represents the interests of all the Korean people and symbolizes that it is an independent socialist state struggling to build socialism in the northern half of Korea and achieve the peaceful reunification of the country.

It also symbolizes that the state power is a revolutionary power of workers and farmers based on solid political and economic foundations and the most democratic country in which broad sections of the people take part in the state affairs.

It represents that it is a country of the people which exercises merciless dictatorship over the class enemy and provides workers, farmers and other people with political freedom and rights and happy material and cultural life.

National Emblem of the DPRK

The DPRK’s national emblem shows a grand hydroelectric power station under Mt. Paektu, the sacred mountain of the Korean revolution, and the beams of a five-pointed red star, with ears of rice forming an oval frame and bound with a red ribbon bearing the inscription, “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”

Mt. Paektu and the five-pointed red star and its beams represent the brilliant revolutionary traditions of the glorious anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle inherited by the DPRK government as well as the bright prospect of the Korean people making vigorous advance for the reunification and independence of their country and the victory in the cause of socialism.

The hydroelectric power station and the ears of rice symbolize the might of the DPRK’s industry and agriculture and the prospect of their development, and the plan for building socialism and a powerful independent national economy.

The oval frame bound with the red ribbon represents the eternity of invincible single-minded unity of the Korean people around the WPK and their leader and the prosperity of their country and its promising future.

National Emblem of DPRK

A national emblem symbolizes the history, tradition and people’s desires and aspirations of each country.

While leading the struggle to build a new country after Korea’s liberation, Kim Il Sung paid deep attention to instituting the national emblem of the country to be founded in the future.

He maintained that now that Korea, a country which was once deprived of its sovereign power by the Japanese imperialists and blotted out of the world map, would newly emerge as an independent and sovereign state, its national emblem should represent the spirit of the country.

What was required in this regard was to fully depict the struggle of the Korean people for the country’s complete independence and sovereignty and progress, inheriting the traditions of the anti-Japanese war.

Kim Il Sung stressed that it was of cardinal importance in the emblem designing to make sure that the emblem incorporate the symbols of the DPRK being a dignified, independent and sovereign state. He said that the emblem should include a shining five-pointed star, symbolic of victory, and much more ears of rice.

Anti-Japanese war heroine Kim Jong Suk said that the emblem should fully reflect Kim Il Sung’s plan of building a new country so that it could be accepted by all people in the north and south of Korea.

Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Suk ensured that a large furnace in the centre of draft design of the national emblem be replaced by a hydro-electric power station and a power transmission tower.

Thanks to the meticulous guidance of the President, the national emblem of the DPRK saw the light of day.

National Flag of the DPRK

The five-point red star symbolizes the traditions of the anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle led by President Kim Il Sung and the prospect of the country, and the red panel represents the Korean people’s loyalty to the Party and the leader, their socialist patriotism, their indomitable fighting spirit and their invincible might of single-minded unity.

The white circle and the white stripe represent that the Korean people are a homogeneous nation and that they are a heroic people.

The two blue stripes reflect the ardent desire of the Korean people to make staunch efforts for peace, democracy, national independence and victory of the socialist cause by closely uniting with the revolutionary peoples around the world under the banner of anti-imperialist independence.

National Flag of DPRK

Early in February 1948 some officials submitted to President Kim Il Sung a draft design of the national flag of the DPRK to be soon founded.

After examining it Kim Il Sung said that he was satisfied at the flag in red, white and blue colours.

Referring to the irrational proportion of the three colours in the draft design, he advised them to depict the centre of the national flag with red colour, symmetrically bordered above and below by white and blue stripes and in particular, make the width of white and blue stripes thinner and more conspicuous than the draft. He specified the way for perfecting the draft design, explaining in detail the ideological contents to be incorporated in the national flag and the way to depict them.

After casting his eyes at the officials for a while, Kim Il Sung presented several other draft designs of the national flag made by him, proposing to exchange opinions.

He advanced his idea, saying: The ratio of the width to the length of the national flag should be properly adjusted. It would be good to put the white circle near the hoist, not in the middle as it is now and place a five-pointed red star within the circle to symbolically represent the bravery and heroism of our people who always make a victorious advance.

As such, the national flag of the DPRK is associated with Kim Il Sung’s scrupulous guidance.

National Anthem of the DPRK

The DPRK’s national anthem is Patriotic Song, created in 1947. It was written by Pak Se Yong and set to music by Kim Won Gyun.

With its solemn and graceful melody, the song depicts the great dignity and pride and ardent love of the Korean people for their country, which has a time-honoured history spanning 5 000 years, brilliant national culture and abundant natural resources.

It also sings of their firm conviction that the DPRK will shine as an independent and sovereign state, powerful and prosperous, across the world, and represents their strong enthusiasm and steadfast will to strengthen and develop the DPRK into the people’s country of Juche for all ages, closely united around the WPK and their leader.

Story of Patriotic Song

Immediately after Korea’s liberation from the Japanese military occupation President Kim Il Sung initiated the work to create a national anthem of Korean style as a song to rally all the Korean people under the banner of patriotism and encourage them to turn out in the struggle to build a prosperous country and gave scrupulous guidance for its production.

In the autumn of 1946 he called some officials and asked them to present the people with a national anthem as soon as possible. Then he continued: Ours is really a beautiful country. Our people have a time-honoured history of 5 000 years and a brilliant culture. From ancient times our forefathers dedicated their blood to repel foreign invasion and defend their land and the anti-Japanese guerrillas fought at the cost of their lives with arms in their hands to win back their country. Today the working people are devoting their all to building a prosperous country as masters of political power. We should mirror in the song the national pride of our people who have their beautiful motherland and resourceful fighting traditions.

Later his instructions were all reflected in the words and melody of Patriotic Song. A public debate on the song was held later. At that time Kim Il Sung appreciated the song carefully and said that it would be good to repeat the verses Our people ever were renowned and sage, and rich in cultural heritage. He explained: As our country boasts a brilliant culture and a long history, how should we sing the verses only once? One more singing of them would improve the quality of melody more effectively, produce good consonance of music, and make the song sound more solemn, and singers feel a sense of national pride.

Thanks to his guidance, the Patriotic Song was created as a hymn to the motherland, a song flawless in both ideological and artistic value and musical representation.

Official Language of the DPRK

The official language of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is Korean.

The word “mother tongue” was used in Korea from long ago. From the period of the feudal Joson dynasty (1392-1910) it began to be used daily. So to speak, the language existed before Korea’s liberation, but its concept and meaning were not defined precisely as linguistic terms. In the early 1930s, the scholars of the Korean linguistics association tried to standardize the language for the first time, but to no avail, due to the schemes of the Japanese imperialists to obliterate the Korean language during their military occupation of Korea (1905-1945).

President Kim Il Sung liberated Korea in August 1945 by leading the anti-Japanese armed struggle to victory. Since then, the history of building the genuine official language started in Korea.

Even in the difficult and complicated political situation after Korea’s liberation, Kim Il Sung put forward as an important policy of the country to completely abolish the use of Chinese characters, purify the language and arrange its vocabularies, and wisely led the work, with the result that a radical turn was brought about in the Korean language and linguistic culture of society.

The Korean language consists of 21 vowels and 19 consonants and has copious vocabularies and unique grammatical structures.

The Pyongyang dialect is the standard of the Korean language.

It has fluent pronunciation with high and low and long and short accents, and a good hearing effect.

The Pyongyang dialect is a cultural asset of the Korean people provided by the Juche-oriented ideas of the great leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il to build the national language and their ennobling love for the nation and their wise leadership and painstaking efforts. It is also a precious heritage of the Korean nation which is being developed and enriched steadily under the guidance of Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.

National Flower of the DPRK

Mokran (Magnolia) is the national flower of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

It is a deciduous shrub or a high tree belonging to the magnolia family which grows together with other trees. Its habitats are mountain valleys, mountain hips and other wetlands everywhere in Korea except some areas in North Hamgyong, Ryanggang and Jagang provinces.

It grows as high as 2-5 metres. Usually several trunks come out of the root neck and seldom a single truck grows just like a small tree.

Its bark is grayish white and relatively smooth. Young branches are thickly covered with brown hairs.

Leaves alternate and have short leafstalks. They are 12-14 cm long and 5-10 cm wide. Some are bigger, 25 cm long and 15 cm wide.

By May and June white fragrant blossoms hang down their heads slightly downwards or sideways. This plant is in full bloom between late May and mid-July. In early and mid-July it almost withers away

National Tree of the DPRK

The national tree of the DPRK is pine (Pinus densiflora).

As a species that originated in Korea, it has the lion’s share of distribution and population among the forest trees in the country.

This evergreen, needle-leaved, tall tree belongs to a gymnospermous plant. It grows in the vast areas of Korea below 800 metres above sea level, except the northern highlands of the country. It is 20 to 40 metres tall and 60 centimetres in diameter. Its trunk is crooked in general, but the pines in the mountains grow relatively straight. Its furrowed barks are reddish brown or dark brown and become cracked like a tortoise shell before falling down. Its branches stretch horizontally, upwards or downwards to form a crown. A ten-year pine tree comes into bloom and bears cones at the tip of its branches.

The Korean people have regarded this evergreen and viable tree as the symbol of magnificent and indomitable appearance, lofty and unchangeable character, and resolute and passionate spirit.They liked and made it holy to draw a picture of pines as natural scenery.

The pine can be seen on the murals of Tombs Nos. 1 and 4 in Ryongsan-ri, Ryokpho District, Pyongyang, which date back to the period of Koguryo (277 BC–AD 668), and the tomb mural of King Wang Kon (877-943), founder king of Koryo (918-1392). The tree was also the main subject of drawing the landscape of mountains and rivers in the period of the feudal Joson dynasty (1392-1910).

The names of such scenic attractions as Songdowon, Mt Songak and Sol Islet were derived from the pine. The tree has been described in literary works as a symbol of braving severe frost and snowstorm. This shows that the Korean people have regarded the pine as part of their everyday life.

The DPRK has registered hundreds-of-year-grown pines and thickly-wooded pine forests of national value as natural monuments and put them under the protection of the State.

The Korean people love the pine which preserves its green foliage in all seasons despite all rigours of nature as it symbolizes unchanged fidelity and obligation and represents the spirit of passionate and unyielding willpower of the Korean nation.

National Bird of the DPRK

The national bird of the DPRK is goshawk (Accipiter gentilis).

From olden times the bird has been familiar to the Korean people in their life. It is proved by the facts that a tamed goshawk played the leading role in hunting and the bird was reflected in fine arts, proverbs, historical stories, poetries, anecdotes, folk songs, etc.

Hunting by goshawk started from the period of Ancient Joson (from early BC 30th century to BC 108), the first slave state in Korea.

Hunting scenes by goshawk have been found on the mural paintings of tombs in the period of Koguryo, including Anak Tomb No.1.

In the period of three kingdoms (Koguryo, Paekje and Silla), goshawks were bred at private houses. In the period of Koryo (918-1392) and the feudal Joson dynasty (1392-1910) there was a government office in charge of breeding goshawk and hunting.

The bird belongs to the genus Accipiter of the eagle family of the eagle order. It is usually 48 to 61cm in length and weighs 800 to 1 350g.

The female is a little bigger than the male. Its back is blackish grey. Because of the white part on its eyebrows, the crown of its head looks like a black cap. The tail with many black streaks is grey, with thin white streaks at its end in a circle. Its small beak is bluish black and its slender and long legs are brown.

Goshawk inhabits the central part or edges of dense forests and in bushes. It preys on rats, pheasants, hares, etc. The male eats 130g and the female 190g daily on average.

Usually it breeds from early in April to the middle of May. It makes a nest on one of the highest tree in the forests and lays three to four light blue eggs at a time. It lives alone or in pairs on farmlands, riversides and forests of highlands and flat lands in breeding season or in summer, and on hills or flat lands in autumn and winter.

Goshawk is distributed in all parts of Korea.

The Korean people treasure the goshawk, as it has well-balanced appearance against its not so big body, acute vision, sharp beak, strong talons, high speed, clever and determined temperament.

National Dog of the DPRK

Korea with beautiful mountains and clear water has many well-known endemic animals.

Among them is the Phungsan dog which is known as a specialty of Korea since ancient times.

The home of the Phungsan is the area of Kim Hyong Gwon County in Ryanggang Province, which was called Phungsan in the past. Hence, the name of the dog Phungsan.

The Phungsan is clever and nimble and fights its rival to the end. Especially the dog trained for hunting is good at watching and follows its master like a shadow in mountains. When a rival appears, the dog fights harder than other species of dogs. The dog is characterized by the obstinacy of not freeing its rival once its teeth take the enemy´s throat and by the stubbornness of not stepping back once a fight starts.

The dog with thick and strong hind legs runs fast in mountains as well. The eyes are comparatively small and their pupils are black or grey. Veins are clear in the whites of the eyes and the eyes are reddish and bright. The comparatively small ears are pricked forward or sideways. The neck is thick and short and well-developed. The belly of the she-dog seems to be a little droopy.

The belly of the he-dog is high compared with that of the she-dog. So it is convenient for quick movement. The tail is coiled up on the hip. The four legs are comparatively short and the hind legs of some have additional toes and others not. The wool is white in the main and some light yellowish brown. The male is about 55 centimetres tall and the female about 53 centimetres. The male is 24 to 25 kilograms heavy and 28 kilograms at maximum and the female 22 to 23 kilograms and about 27 kilograms at maximum. The dog is in pup for 60 days, pups five to six at a brood and suckles them for 45 to 50 days. It stands cold and various diseases well and is omnivorous. The pure breed is kept by pure propagation.

In Korea the Phungsan has been registered as a national living monument to keep its characteristics.

National Liquor of the DPRK

The national liquor of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is Pyongyang Soju.

Its major raw materials are corn and rice, and its alcohol content is 25%.

Pyongyang Soju features mild, flavour and refreshing taste as it represents the clean, simple and sentimental feelings of the Korean people and the clean environment of Korea which has been called a golden tapestry for its beautiful mountains and crystal clear water.

It is distilled at the Taedonggang Foodstuff Factory in the capital city of Pyongyang. It has won the February 16 Sci-tech Prize, the top sci-tech prize in the country, and the December 15 Medal of Quality, a medal conferred on domestic products of the highest quality.

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