13 Shocking Facts You Never Knew About North Korea

Most of us have a general idea regarding what life would be like within a communist dictatorship. However, behind the border walls of North Korea, lies the much harsher truth behind tyranny.

If anything, this knowledge should push us even harder to fight against the same restrictive laws that have taken the North Korean population to an all-time low.

1. Kim Jong-un Was the Second Pick For Leadership

Kim Jong-un has an older brother named Kim Jong Nam that was skipped over for the leader of North Korea after he was arrested in Tokyo in 2001 for travelling to Disneyland while using a fake passport.

2. There Are Active and Well Known Concentration Camps There

Anywhere from 150,000 and 200,000 North Koreans currently live in what can only be referred to as prison camps that are protected by electric fencing. And the ultimate punishment goes to those who have committed political crimes. Sadly, many are imprisoned with their entire families. Around 40% of the prisoners die due to malnutrition and poor prison conditions.

3. Men and Women Are Only ‘Allowed’ to Have Certain Haircuts

4. North Korean’s Use a Different Calendar

Instead of North Korea considering the year to be 2017, they refer to it as year 104. Their calendar is based off of the birth of their leader, rather than being based on the year of Jesus’ death.

5. Blue Jeans Are Illegal in North Korea

According to Kim Jong-un, blue jeans are a sign of American imperialism.

6. They Live in Darkness Much of the Time

At night, electric power is shut down for the majority of the nation. Homes that receive power only receive it for so many hours each day. 

7. North Korea Goes By Three Generation Punishments

Basically, if you are found guilty of a crime, it would affect your whole family, including your children, parents and grandparents. 

8. An Ex-Veteran Chose to Live There

Shortly after the Korean war, Joseph Dresnok made his way into North Korea. He and three other U.S soldiers had decided to do the same, but Dresnok was the only one that stayed. When asked about his choice, he explained, “I feel at home….I wouldn’t trade it for nothing.”

9. There is Propaganda Programming Everywhere

Found within every home and every business, is a propaganda radio that cannot be shut off. However, it can be turned down. 

10. While Visiting, If You Want a Coke, You Are Out of Luck

North Korea is only one of two nations in the entire world where you cannot buy a coca-cola.

11. There is NO Internet

The typical population has absolutely no access to the internet. Only a small handful have access to the nation’s internet network dubbed the ‘Kwangmyong’ that allows citizens to access 1,000 to 5,500 government approved websites.

12. However, North Korea Isn’t Technically Communist

Rather than communism, the people of North Korea claim to ascribe to the ‘Juche’ ideology, which is the rejection of dependence on other, ‘using one’s own brains, and believing on one’s own strength,” according to Kim II-Sung. While this isn’t exactly communism, it does closely mirror previous leaders of Communist regime’s beliefs.

13. Without Oil, They Have Turned To Wood Powered Cars 

One of the ways in which North Korea is unique is that it gives us a look at what a future without oil might look like under the worst possible scenario. The reclusive nation, whose only trading partner is China, functions almost entirely without gasoline and petroleum products, which has forced them to improvise.

Vehicles have been retrofitted to run on what they refer to as “wood gas,” carbon monoxide and hydrogen gas that’s produced from wood or coal.Of course, using wood as fuel for cars is an ecological disaster that ruins air quality in cities and dumps immense amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere.

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