London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

From Kim Jong Il to Kim Jong Un: How the Hardliners Prevailed: On the Political History of North Korea (2007 – 2020)

In the summer of 2008, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il suffered a stroke. That same year he named his youngest son, Kim Jong Un, as his successor and began to promote him among the North Korean elite. At the same time, the military gained influence. Foreign, domestic, and economic policy hardened. It was obvious … [Read More]

Becoming Kim Jong Un: Understanding North Korea’s Young Dictator

From the publisher’s website: ‘The young dictator comes under close scrutiny in this intelligent account’ Sunday Times The mysterious, brutal, and calculating Kim Jong Un has risen to become the unchallenged dictator of a nuclear rogue state. He now possesses weaponry capable of threatening America and its allies, and his actions have already significantly changed … [Read More]

Decoding the Sino-North Korean Borderlands

From the publisher’s website: Since the 1990s, the Chinese-North Korean border region has undergone a gradual transformation into a site of intensified cooperation, competition, and intrigue. These changes have prompted a significant volume of critical scholarship and media commentary across multiple languages and disciplines. Drawing on existing studies and new data, Decoding the Sino-North Korean Borderlands brings … [Read More]

Routledge Handbook of Contemporary North Korea

From the publisher’s website: The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary North Korea presents a comprehensive picture of contemporary North Korea, placed in historical context and set against the overlapping fields of politics, economy, culture, society and foreign relations. Spanning a period of significant transition for North Korea, this volume provides accurate analysis and applications of both historical and … [Read More]

Kim Jong-un’s Strategy for Survival: A Method to Madness

From the publisher’s website: In Kim Jong-un’s Strategy for Survival, David W. Shin contends that Kim Jong-un’s consolidation of power at home and the leveraging of Beijing, Moscow, Seoul, and Washington, and others abroad show that he is not a madman and, like the two earlier Kims, has consistently been underestimated. Shin presents an alternative framework … [Read More]

A Misunderstood Friendship: Mao Zedong, Kim Il-sung, and Sino-North Korean Relations, 1949-1976: Revised Edition

Revised and Corrected Zhihua Shen and Yafeng Xia Today, the People’s Republic of China is North Korea’s only ally on the world stage, a tightly knit relationship that goes back decades. Both countries portray their partnership as one of “brotherly affection” based on shared political ideals—an alliance “as tight as lips to teeth”—even though relations … [Read More]

Juche – How to Live Well the North Korean Way

From the publisher’s website: ‘Game changing. Juche is to shape the cultural zeitgeist just as The Little Book of Hygge did.’ Fern Brady ‘A book to bring shame upon our depraved morals and our wilted-spinach governments.’ Ivo Graham How did North Korea become the top-rated destination on Tripadvisor? The answer is Juche … ‘In this … [Read More]

Mysterious Pyongyang: Cosmetics, Beauty Culture and North Korea

From the publisher’s website: This book is written with the belief that the peaceful unification of Korean Peninsula will be upon us on the day that every woman in North Korea uses South Korean and global cosmetics. The authors focus on understanding the intentions behind the three leaders of North Korea, Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il … [Read More]

North Korea Confidential: Private Markets, Fashion Trends, Prison Camps, Dissenters and Defectors

From the publisher’s website: What is life in North Korea really like? This fascinating book by celebrated journalists Daniel Tudor and James Pearson explores that very question. The authors interview experts and tap a broad variety of sources to provide a startling insider’s view of the secretive North Korean society, including: Members of Pyongyang’s ruling … [Read More]

The Koreas: The Birth of Two Nations Divided

From the publisher’s website: What history, pop culture, and diaspora can teach us about North and South Korea today. Korea is one of the last divided countries in the world. Twins born of the Cold War, one is vilified as an isolated, impoverished, time-warped state with an abysmal human rights record and a reclusive leader … [Read More]

South Korean Popular Culture and North Korea

From the publisher’s website: Over recent decades South Korea’s vibrant and distinctive populist culture has spread extensively throughout the world. This book explores how this “Korean wave” has also made an impact in North Korea. The book reveals that although South Korean media have to be consumed underground and unofficially in North Korea, they are widely watched … [Read More]

North Korean Graphic Novels: Seduction of the Innocent?

Graphic novels (kurimchaek) are a major art form in North Korea, produced by agents of the regime to set out its vision in a range of important areas. This book provides an analysis of North Korean graphic novels, discussing the ideals they promote and the tensions within those ideals, and examining the reception of graphic … [Read More]

Laughing North Koreans: The Culture of Comedy Films

Publisher description: This study analyzes North Korean comedy films from the late 1960s to present day. It examines the most iconic comedy films and comedians to show how North Koreans have enjoyed themselves and have established a culture of humor that challenges, subverts, and, at times, reinforces the dominant political ideology. The author argues that … [Read More]

Friend

Publisher description: Paek Nam-nyong’s Friend is a tale of marital intrigue, abuse, and divorce in North Korea. A woman in her thirties comes to a courthouse petitioning for a divorce. As the judge who hears her statement begins to investigate the case, the story unfolds into a broader consideration of love and marriage. The novel … [Read More]

Notes from the North

Notes from the North is horrific, powerful, and astute, full of passion and moral authority. Although weve heard about the brutal dictatorship of North Korea before, these poems surpass journalism and bring us the voices on the brink, with the compelling urgency of a diary of contemporary tyranny and the havoc it wreaks. This is a … [Read More]