North Korea Photo Album

Click on any of the photos below to enlarge.

Pyongyang’s Sunan International Airport. The North Korean woman is holding a sign that reads THE SUN OF THE 21ST CENTURY in honor of Kim Jong-il’s sixtieth birthday. 2002

corrected9Suki Kim teaching a class. PUST, 2011

18 Pyongyang, the view of Kim Il-sung Square with Juche Tower in the distance. 2011


26Students on a snowy day after an exam; Kim Jong-il’s death would be announced just a few days later. PUST, 2011


13Sports Day; in the background is the Forever Tower (on which OUR GREAT LEADER IS ALWAYS WITH US is inscribed) and Kim Il-sung Research Hall (where Juche classes were held). PUST, 2011


17PUST campus: the enclosed walkway that connects all buildings, the classroom building on the left, and a Pyongyang smokestack in the distance. 2011


10Students taking a final exam. PUST, 2011


11 Students watching March of the Penguins. PUST, 2011


7 Three uniformed students on guard duty outside the IT (information technology) building, where classes were held; the sign reads: THE SUN OF THE 21ST CENTURY, GENERAL KIM JONG-IL. PUST, 2011


24Girls about to perform for the sixtieth birthday celebration in Pyongyang Indoor Stadium. 2002


6 Women guides in hanbok (Korean traditional dress) standing outside an election booth on Election Day. 2011


8 North Korean girls outside Kumsusan Palace where Kim Il-sung is embalmed. 2011


19 North Korean students outside their school near Mount Myohyang. 2011


16 Housing complex outside Pyongyang. 2011


20 Kim Il-sung mural. Pyongyang, 2011


21 At Mount Myohyang, inscribed on a mountain: IRON-WILLED COMMANDER KIM JONG-IL. 2011


5 Kim Il-sung mural near Mount Kumgang. 2011




23 Inside the Grand People’s Study House, with the slogan THE SUN OF THE 21ST CENTURY and a message from Kim Jong-il to the left. Pyongyang, 2011

  25 A statue of Kim Il-sung to which any visitor to the North had to pay respects immediately upon arrival in Pyongyang. 2002


12 Pyongyang citizens dancing to celebrate the sixtieth birthday of Kim Jong-il in Kim Il-sung Square. 2002


3 An exhibit of Kimjongilia. 2002

4 Workers’ Party leaders. 2002


15 Pyongyang apartment. 2002



Suki Kim with a North Korean student at Kim Il-sung University campus with a statue of Kim Il-sung in the background. 2002 


100-0089_IMG The Ministry of Railways’ painting of a train that Kim Jong-il once rode in; he was said to have died on a train while traveling tirelessly to oversee the well-being of his people. Kimjongilia Exhibition, 2002


100-0092_IMG An Agricultural Committee display of 216 handpicked, red-colored beans that spell out POWERFUL AND PROSPEROUS NATION (Kim Jong-il’s birthday was February 16). Kimjongilia Exhibition, 2002 


101-0173_IMG Pedestrian bridge. Pyongyang, 2002


102-0297_STB Cityscape. Pyongyang, 2002


0727 (202) Meal from the PUST cafeteria: meat soup (a rarity), served with rice and cabbage kimchi. PUST, 2011


2002-02-12 08.44.04 A guide gestures at the sun, which symbolizes Kim Jong-il, the “Sun of the 21st Century.” The background depicts Mount Baekdu, where Kim was said to have been born. Kimilsungias (the pink flowers) and Kimjongilias (the red flowers) surround the sun. Kimjongilia Exhibition, 2002


2002-02-12 08.47.44 Portrait of Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung at work. Kimjongilia Exhibition, 2002


2002-02-12 09.08.50 Display from the Moran District Administration. Kimjongilia Exhibition, 2002


2002-02-13 14.15.19 Tram. Pyongyang, 2002


2002-02-14 13.23.05 (2) The Tower of Immortality, inscribed with COMRADE GREAT LEADER KIM IL-SUNG IS ETERNALLY WITH US. Pyongyang, 2011


2002-02-15 15.19.19 Kim Il-sung Square. Pyongyang, 2002


DSCN1036 Students doing morning exercises. PUST, 2011


IMG_0304 Daedonggang Fruit Farm, known as North Korea’s 11th Songun Wonder. 2011

IMG_0574 View from the highway outside the city of Wonsan; the sign reads: LET’S DEDICATE OUR HEART TO THE MOTHERLAND. 2011


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Suki’s North Korean visa. 2011 



Suki by the East Sea outside Wonsan. 2011



A gas station outside PUST; the sign in back reads: LONG LIVE GENERAL KIM JONG-IL, THE SUN OF THE 21ST CENTURY! 2011



Suki eating Chinese instant ramen outside the Seventh Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair. 2011 



Students watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. PUST, 2011


The program for the Victory 727 celebration at the People’s Palace of Culture; the flower is the Kimilsungia. Pyongyang, 2011


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An Election Day poster, which reads: LET EVERYONE AGREE VOTE! Pyongyang, 2011


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Plaques purported to be from worldwide supporters of the regime at the base of Juche Tower. Pyongyang, 2011


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Juche Tower. Pyongyang, 2011


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North Korean currency; the basic unit is the won.


Naengmyun, a cold dish usually consisting of meat broth, buckwheat noodles, and other ingredients, is a specialty of Pyongyang.


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Students often watched from their dormitory windows while I practiced shooting hoops on the court below. PUST, 2011


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Students playing soccer; Kimilsungism Study Hall is in the background. PUST, 2011


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Marble statue of Kim Il-sung at the Grand People’s Study House. Pyongyang, 2011


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Suki in the classroom; on the blackboard are the lyrics of a North Korean song she translated with her students. PUST, 2011


Decorative display at the Chosun Computer Center. On the “computer screen” is a quote by Kim Il-sung praising Kim Jong-Il; the “keyboard” is made up of Kimjongilias.



Building in Pyongyang; the sign reads: WE ARE HAPPY.



Female guards on patrol at PUST.



Suki in the hall outside her office; the signs read: LEADER LUCK, GENERAL LUCK, CAPTAIN LUCK.



Suki on the day she departed Pyongyang, about to board a flight on North Korea’s Air Koryo at Pyongyang Sunan International Airport.  2011



The front page of Rodong Sinmun (North Korea’s official newspaper) on the morning after Kim Jong-il’s death was announced. 2011