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Juche

Posted by on Feb. 20, 2010 at 6:15 PM
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Juche


Juche has become one of the world's newest and most strongly held religions - or perhaps it should be considered a form of philosophy instead. It exists only in one country, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) and all the people of that country, so it is said, follow that belief system and no other. So what is it?

Juche is a form of philosophy created by Kim Il Sung, who was the first president of North Korea and who organised a personality cult around himself and his family to promote his ideas. Originally, juche referred to the age-old Korean virtue of self-reliance, which is a quality that had been relied upon through the long centuries of self-enforced isolation that saw Korea being named the 'Hermit Kingdom.' This was updated by Kim Il-Sung to include aspects of Marxism-Leninism and Maoist thought but, later, also to downplay these influences when relations with the Soviet Union or with China became problematic, as happened from time to time.

Although juche is considered to be a uniquely Korean conception, it is also held to be applicable to all developing nations and their desire to achieve a state of true independence - free, that is, of the actions and desires of any other state.

As well as the political elements, juche also includes Confucian ideas. These are traditional ways of thinking that are based on the works of Confucius, often rather loosely (read more on Confucius here http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/1817... They involve the promotion of family values and support for parents, the need for diligence and self-sacrifice and the lack of interest in material possessions. These are all important aspects of the North Korean political system, which has so badly failed to provide any form of progress for its people or, indeed, even to feed them.

Traditionalist juche thinking stresses that although mankind is the master of its own destiny, it is guided by a collective unconsciousness that is rooted in the person of the Great Leader. This is the title that was used most commonly by Kim Il-Sung and his successor, Kim Jong-Il, has taken the title of Dear Leader. This idea therefore supports the personality cult that means that every North Korean is obliged to study the life and thought of both generations of leader or, at least, the versions of their lives and times that are being officially disseminated. It also demonstrates the need to keep conditions in the outside world secret from the people because, if they could see how much better off people elsewhere were, they would certainly question the ability of the Leader and then juche belief could collapse.

Read more at Suite101: Juche http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/east_asian_history/114863#ixzz0g7YlCubx




by on Feb. 20, 2010 at 6:15 PM
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