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Miscellaneous Flags (North Korea)

Last modified: 2008-09-06 by phil nelson
Keywords: hammer and sickle: 17 | rice plant | worker | kim il-sung |
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Dubious flags

Kim Il-Sung flag-like object

[Kim Il-Sung flagoid] image by Eugene Ipavec, 19 October 2006

I've observed a particular flagoid several times - red, with a oval containing a b/w portrait of Kim Il-Sung towards the hoist. It's been mainly shown at at the front of a vast hall which I take to be the NK legislature, and on a truck at a military parade. The catch is that this thing is almost always not an actual cloth flag, but a rigid bas-relief in the shape of one, complete with wind-swept folds and tassels. I suppose it is debatable whether this is a static representation of a real flag, or some kind of allegorical symbol in pseudo-flag-esque form, but either way I think it is worth noting. There seems to be considerable variety in the portrait; the photos of Kim Il-Sung range from old to young. This one is from a photo of a North Korean wall mural.

This is likely a memorial flag of some kind, though there is an outside chance it could be the North Korea presidential flag; recall that Kim Il-Sung is - though dead for some twelve years - still officially president and head of state, having been appointed "Eternal Leader" at his funeral.
Eugene Ipavec, 19 October 2006


There is also a similar flag bearing the portrait of Kim Jong-Il; this flag and that of Kim Il-Sung always appear together in pair. These are not presidential flags, but props used in parades; sometimes these are made of real cloth, and are carried by two persons (one holding the flag pole and one holding the fly), so that these flags never actually wave in the air.
Miles Li, 19 October 2006


The static representations always take pains to depict them as real, waving ones. Must look more distinguished that way.
Eugene Ipavec, 22 October 2006


Juchoi/Juche/Jouche flag

[Juchoi/Juche/Jouche flag] image by Jens Pattke, 20 October 2006

Visible in the background of this anniversary mural there are three flags waving from the hilltops in the upper right; the North Korean flag, the Korean Workers Party flag, and a red flag with writing in the canton.
Eugene Ipavec, 19 October 2006


That North Korean red flag reads "Juchoi". I do neither speak, nor understand Korean, but I can give you the meaning of this particular word. It is the same one that is usually written in English as "Juche" or "Jouche". You may have seen it these days in the news.

"Juche" is the official state's ideology of North Korea. The country does not define itself as Marxist-Leninist as other Communist countries in the past did, but as "Juche". The word is usually translated in Internet texts as "self-reliance" or "main idea". To be short, "Juchoi", "Juche" or "Jouche" is the Kim Il Sung way of Communism in the same way than "Maoism" was Mao's way.

Maybe that flag does not exist as a real cloth flag. According to the link sent, it looks more as a kind of symbol. In the image that "Juchoi flag" is above everything, meaning maybe that "Juche" is the official state's ideology of North Korea. However that red flag can also exist as a real flag. It is very difficult to know for sure, unless it would appear in a photo as a real flag.
Francisco Gregoric, 19 October 2006


I came across a Wikipedia article about "juche" which is what the Korean reads on the flag.
Brian Ellis, 19 October 2006


Given the importance of the ideology to the regime, it is likely someone would have observed this flag if it actually existed.
Eugene Ipavec, 19 October 2006


detail
[Juchoi/Juche/Jouche detail] image by Jens Pattke, 20 October 2006

I think the "eo" and "i" marked in the Romanisation image represent a vowel that was originally a diphthong, but they are now considered one vowel, romanised "e".
Jonathan Dixon, 20 October 2006


There are several ways of Romanising Korean Hangul, McCune-Reischauer system (modified) being official in North Korea: "Chuch'e" is North Korean McCune-Reischauer romanization for "주체", while "Juche" is South Korea's Revised Romanization and "主體" is Chinese (Hanja).

The two Korean Hangul syllables shown on this flag can also be written in separate jamos: "주체"
António Martins-Tuválkin, 23 October 2006


Dubious 1948 flag

[1948 reported flag of Korea] image by David Martucci

The Flag Bulletin [tfb], Vol. XIII, No. 5 [#51] September-October 1974, pgs. 99-108 contains an article by Whitney Smith (and illustrated by Dave Martucci) entitled "Symbols of the K.D.P.R." [smi74c] of which the following is excerpted:

The first documentation available to the Western world concerning the arms and flag of this new state [the Korean Democratic People's Republic] appears to be that presented in the Album de Banderas y Escudos de Todo el Mundo, published in Barcelona by Fher (in 1948?). ...

Reference is made in this book to the proclamation of a Communist Republic in North Korea and a flag of most unusual--if doubtfully authentic--design is illustrated. The field is square and red; it bears a white disc in the center surrounded by seventeen crossed yellow hammers and sickles. Within the disc is a worker dressed in blue cap, overalls, and apron, plus a pink shirt; he is holding a hammer. To his left are green plants, presumably intended to be rice, growing from water. Between these two emblems (symbolic of industry and agriculture) is a red star.

This flag may be pure fantasy, perhaps created when the publishers found they were unable to determine the correct design needed to fill the space in their album planned for the Korean Democratic People's Republic. Another possibility is that this flag was actually flown officially (or unofficially) during the period between Soviet liberation and the September 1948 proclamation of the republic. Finally, it could be that a somewhat similar flag was in actual use, its details having been distorted through reconstruction of the flag from a written description. This author believes the first alternative most likely.

Another intriguing reference to a flag for the Korean Democratic People's Republic about which no further information seems to be available is found in Robert Payne's Red Storm Over Asia. He states on p. 236: 'We may still see the Tibetans flying a flag like the flag which Kim Il Sung designed for northern Korea: a white powerhouse on a blue ground below a red star.' This suggests a flag based on the coat of arms of the Korean Democratic People's Republic or, possibly, confusion in the mind of the author between that coat of arms and the flag of the country."

David Martucci, 28 September 1999

Kim Il-Sung Socialist Youth League flag

Kim Il-Sung Socialist Youth League image by Kim Il-Sung Socialist Youth League, contributed by Valentin Poposki, 19 February 2008

From the Youth League website:

The Youth League strives under the leadership of the WPK (Workers’ Party of Korea) to firmly defend and add lustre to our Juche-oriented socialist fatherland founded by the respected Comrade Kim Il-Sung, to fulfil the tasks for building a powerful nation and national liberation and to achieve the goal of modelling the whole society on the Juche idea, a final programme of WPK.

The main task of the Youth League is to train the young people as reliable successors to the revolutionary cause of Juche so as to unite them single-heartedly behind the WPK led by the respected General Kim Jong Il and to involve them in the struggle to implement the lines and policies of the WPK. With the leadership of the WPK as its lifeline, the Youth League abides by the fundamental principle of faithfully following the ideology and the guidance of the WPK in its building and activities.

In its activities, the Youth League puts main emphasis on the work with man and the work with young people.

Valentin Poposki, 19 February 2008


A red flag approximately 3:5 with golden fringe on all free edges, with the likeness of Kim Il Sung (as depicted in the official photo-based painting i.a. at Wikipedia) on a small roundel (diameer approximately 2/5ths of the hoist height) centered on the upper 2/3 (approximate) of the flag area and above a line of yellow Korean hangul text reading "김잍성사ᅟᅩᅩᆼᅵ주으ᅵᅠ정년동맹" set in sans-serif letters. This lettering "represents" the title of the concerned committeeğ, according to the quoted page, i.e., they mean Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 20 February 2008


Kim Il-Sung Socialist Youth League symbol flag

Kim Il-Sung Socialist Youth League symbol flag image by Kim Il-Sung Socialist Youth League, contributed by Valentin Poposki, 19 February 2008

A red flag approximately 1:3 with and emblem on the upper hoist (centered on an immaginary upper hoist rectangle about 3/4ths of the flag sides, i.e., only slightly off set from the center to the upper hoist). This is presumably the emblem of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League organization, which includes two flagoids — over a rond background made of a cogwheel, a book and a cereal garb, all yellow and white:

One is a red flag, draped in Soviet style (also used in Komsomol badges etc.), bearing the three-tool North Korean party symbol within shine lines over what seems to be a mountain top, all in yellow. The second is a ribbon patterned after the national flag (i.e. red, edged blue, with white fimbriation), reading on the red area in large yellow hangul letters the word "주체" = "Juche", the national ideology.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 20 February 2008

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