Glossary -- North Korea
- The term for responsible party, government, and economic
functionaries; also used for key officials in the educational,
cultural, and scientific fields.
- Korean translation of the Japanese word zaibatsu, or
business conglomerate. A group of specialized (South Korean)
companies with interrelated management servicing each other.
- chikalsi, or
- Refers to a major city under the direct administration of the
central government rather than a provincial governor. In 1992 there
were three chikalsi: P'yngyang, Kaesng, and Namp'o.
- chip, or jip
- The household, i.e., family members under one roof; the term
k'nchip, or k'njip, meaning "big house," refers
to the "main family" of the eldest son, while the term
chagnchip, or chagunjip, meaning "little house,"
refers to the "branch family" households of the younger sons.
- Abbreviation for Chae Ilbon Chson In Ch'ong Yonhaphoe,
literally General Association of Korean Residents in Japan. Members
of this Japan-based association tend to be supportive of North
Korea's foreign policy and have kinship and financial ties to North
Korea. Known as Chosen Soren in Japanese.
- The Korean word for a genealogical record, usually that of an
entire clan tracing its ancestry to a common ancestor who lived
several hundred years ago.
- Ch'llima, or Ch'llima Work Team
- Intensive mass campaign to increase economic production
inaugurated in 1958; began as Ch'llima Movement (Ch'llima
Undong), named after the legendary Flying Horse said to have
galloped a 1,000 li in a single day; a symbolic term for
great speed. Farm and factory workers were exhorted to excel in the
manner of Ch'llima riders, and exemplary individuals and work
teams were awarded special Ch'llima titles. The labor force was
organized into work teams and brigades and competed at increasing
production. Superseded in the early 1960s by the Ch'ngsan-ni
Method (q.v.) and the Taean Work System (q.v.),
and then in 1973 by the Three Revolution Team Movement
- Teachings of the Heavenly Way. This indigenous monotheistic
religion was founded in the nineteenth century as a counter to
Western influence and Christianity. Its Christian-influenced dogma
stresses the equality and unity of man with the universe. Formerly
Tonghak (Eastern Learning) Movement (q.v.).
- Korean unit of land area measurement. One chngbo
equals about 2.45 acres, or 0.99 hectare.
- Ch'ngsan-ni Method, or Ch'ngsan-ri
- A personalized, "on-the -spot" management method or spirit
reputedly developed by Kim Il Sung in February 1960 during a visit
to the Ch'ngsan-ni Cooperative Farm in South P'yngan Province. In
addition to important material incentives, the method has three
main components: party and government functionaries must eschew
their bureaucratic tendency of only issuing orders and directives;
they must mingle with farmers and uncover and solve their problems
through comradely guidance; and they should give solid
technological guidance to spur efficient and productive
- chuch'e, or juche
- Political ideology promulgated by Kim Il Sung. The application
of Marxism-Leninism to the North Korean experience based on
autonomy and self-reliance popularized since 1955 as an official
guideline for independence in politics, economics, national
defense, and foreign policy.
- A political doctrine primarily of Iberian roots, which
emphasizes organic, hierarchical politics and analogies with the
corporeal body and blood lines.
- Demarcation Line
- Established under the Korean armistice agreement of 1953; marks
the actual cease-fire line between North Korea and South Korea.
- Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
- The four-kilometer-wide buffer zone that runs east and west
across the waist of the Korean Peninsula for 241 kilometers,
dividing it into North Korea and South Korea. The DMZ was created
by the Korean armistice in 1953.
- do, or to
- Province, used in combined form, as -do for Kangwn-do
Province. There are nine provinces in North Korea. Do also
means island, as in Mayang-do.
- Chosn Dynasty (1392-1910) foreign policy of isolation adopted
after the Japanese invasions in the 1590s.
- fiscal year (FY)
- Calendar year.
- "flunkeyism" (sadaejuui)
- The opposite of chuch'e, or excessive dependence on
foreign countries--particularly cultural and political dependence
- gross domestic product (GDP)
- A value measure of the flow of domestic goods and services
produced by an economy over a period of time, such as a year. Only
output values of goods for final consumption and intermediate
production are assumed to be included in the final prices. GDP is
sometimes aggregated and shown at market prices, meaning that
indirect taxes and subsidies are included; when these indirect
taxes and subsidies have been eliminated, the result is GDP at
factor cost. The word gross indicates that deductions for
depreciation of physical assets have not been made. Income arising
from investments and possessions owned abroad is not included, only
domestic production--hence the use of the word domestic to
distinguish GDP from gross national product (q.v.).
- gross national product (GNP)
- The gross domestic product (q.v.) plus net income or
loss stemming from transactions with foreign countries, including
income received from abroad by residents and subtracting payments
remitted abroad to nonresidents. GNP is the broadest measurement of
the output of goods and services by an economy. It can be
calculated at market prices, which include indirect taxes and
subsidies. Because indirect taxes and subsidies are only transfer
payments, GNP is often calculated at factor cost by removing
indirect taxes and subsidies.
- The Korean phonetic alphabet developed in fifteenth- century Yi
Korea by scholars in the court of King Sejong. This alphabet is
used in both North Korea and South Korea; in North Korea it is used
exclusively, whereas in South Korea a mixture of the alphabet and
Chinese characters is used.
- International Atomic Energy Agency
- Specialized agency of the United Nations established in 1957 to
assist member nations with the development and application of
atomic energy for peaceful uses and to foster and monitor a
universal standard of nuclear safeguards. Through on-site
inspections and monitoring, the IAEA ensures that fissile and
related nuclear material, equipment, information, and services are
not used to produce nuclear weapons as provided for in bilateral
nuclear safeguard agreements between the IAEA and individual member
nations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), formally the
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
- International Monetary Fund
- Established along with the World Bank (q.v.) in 1945,
the IMF is a specialized agency affiliated with the United Nations
and is responsible for stabilizing international exchange rates and
payments. The main business of the IMF is the provision of loans to
its members (including industrialized and developing countries)
when they experience balance of payments difficulties. These loans
frequently carry conditions that require substantial internal
economic adjustments by the recipients, most of which are
- national solipsism
- Term indicating North Korea's isolationism and its sense that
it is the center of the world's attentions.
- Nordpolitik, or pukbang
- The name given to the
foreign policy pursued by South Korea since 1984 aimed at improving
its diplomatic and economic ties with the former communist nations
of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
- The lineage, a kinship unit consisting of all descendants of a
common male ancestor who, in many cases, was the founder of a
village. Some p'a contain thousands of households--
chip (q.v.)--and members conduct ceremonies at the common
ancestral gravesite. In some villages or hamlets in traditional
Korea, many or most of the people were members of the same
- Combine music and literary expression in ballad-for stories,
which are both recited and sung by a performer accompanied by a
drummer who sets the rhythms--a kind of "one-man opera" in the
words of one observer.
- Ancient Kogury term for "leader"--Kim Il Sung's highest, and
- Taean Work System
- An industrial management system that grew out of the Ch'ngsan-
ni Method (q.v.). Introduced in December 1961 by Kim Il
Sung while on a visit to the Taean Electrical Appliance Plant, the
Taean Work System applied and refined agricultural management
techniques to industry. Higher level functionaries assist lower
level functionaries and workers in a spirit of close consultation
and comradery. Party committees control the general management of
factories and enterprises and stress political or ideological work
as well as technological expertise. The system allows for material
incentives to production.
- Three Revolutions
- Refers to "ideological, technical, and cultural revolutions"
that have been stressed since the early 1960s. The term Three
Revolutions was not used, however, until after 1973.
- Three Revolutions Team Movement
- Inaugurated February 1973 as "a powerful revolutionary method
of guidance" for the Three Revolutions (q.v.)--
ideological, technical, and cultural--stressed since the early
1960s. Under this method, the Three Revolutions teams are sent to
factories, enterprises, and rural and fishing villages for on-the-
spot guidance and problem solving in close consultation with local
- Tonghak (Eastern Learning) Movement
- Refers to an indigenous religious movement founded by Ch'oe
Che-u in the early 1860s that brought together elements of
traditional Korean and Christian religious beliefs and was the
antecedent of Ch'ndogyo (q.v.).
- North Korean currency, also used as a monetary unit in South
Korea although its value differs. The North Korean wn is divided
into 100 chon and has multiple exchange rates--such as for official
transactions and for commercial rates in most foreign trade. As of
December 1991, US$1=97.1 chon.
- World Bank
- Informal name used to designate a group of four affiliated
international institutions that provide advice and assistance on
long-term finance and policy issues to developing countries: the
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the
International Development Association (IDA), the International
Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Multilateral Investment
Guarantee Agency (MIGA). The IBRD, established in 1945, has as its
primary purpose the provision of loans at market-related rates of
interest to developing countries at more advanced stages of
development. The IDA, a legally separate loan fund but administered
by the staff of the IBRD, was set up in 1960 to furnish credits to
the poorest developing countries on much easier terms than those of
conventional IBRD loans. The IFC, founded in 1956, supplements the
activities of the IBRD through loans and assistance designed
specifically to encourage the growth of productive private
enterprises in the less developed countries. The president and
certain officers of the IBRD hold the same positions in the IFC.
The MIGA, which began operating in June 1988, insures private
foreign investment in developing countries against various
noncommercial risks. The four institutions are owned by the
governments of the countries that subscribe their capital. To
participate in the World Bank group, member states must first
belong to the International Monetary Fund (IMF--q.v.).
- The traditional Korean term for the scholar-official gentry who
virtually monopolized all official civil and military positions in
the bureaucracy of the Yi Dynasty (1392-1910) by competing in a
system of civil and military service examinations.