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Analytical Paper

one month ago
Recently I had the challenge of researching and writing a short analytical paper. I had two days to complete it and it had a few unusual stipulations. For one, The topic assigned was one I knew almost nothing about. Secondly, the requirements on length were very limiting. I'm not really satisfied with the paper in retrospect due to its failure to explore key concepts.

I the rough draft from before I cleaned up my citations. I thought I might share it.


North Korean Culture: Context of a Totalitarian State

Long standing ideals set self-sufficiency as the cornerstone of North Korean virtue codified in Juche (Lee, p. 105). Kim Jung Il established Juche harmoniously with culture built upon geographic, military-political, and ideological factors. Stubborn isolationism and crushing foreign influence steep the history of the Korean Peninsula. Modern North Korean culture emerges from recurrent events with environmental and ideological factors. The culture is capable of sustaining a population devoted to a notional rising utopia. This cultural context enabled individuals to believe optimistically in the face of oppressive circumstances.

Topography and geographic positioning of the Korean peninsula historically enabled homogenous and isolationist culture. Korea had only one neighbor by way of land, divided by two large rivers (PAM 550-81, p. 4). Before more sophisticated seafaring was possible, nearby Japan could not interact with Korea extensively. Finally, the country itself is lined with a zig-zag of mountain ranges further restricting movement (PAM 550-81 p. 84). With few neighbors to trade with and terrain that hindered migration, Koreans required self-reliance. Establishing a mobile trade oriented society was not then viable in this region. Notably this difficulty of mobility would naturally complicate prolonged influence from outsiders likewise. This may be interpreted as the beginnings of a society economically and politically independent.

Korea’s early interactions with its neighbors did not forecast positive relations moving forward. Early Korea intermittently lived either politically subservient to Chinese powers or to brutal Mongol domination (p. 6). Japanese and Manchu invasions in the 16th and 17th centuries continued to threaten Korean society (p. 19). The Yi dynasty, ruling from 1392 until 1910 never recovered developmental parity with its neighbors (p. 17) (Armstrong). As time passed geographic factors became less imposing, enabling significant interaction within the peninsula. The outcome of influences proved detrimental to the Korean people's independence and economic security. The history of abuse naturally intensified isolationist dispositions. For roughly 2000 years Korea made nearly no effort to reach towards the world (Armstrong).

Isolationist dispositions manifested for political and ideological reasons as well. China, Japan, and Korea were deliberate in isolating themselves from the west. Korea was the most resistant, as both neighbors industrialized by 1862. Contemporary Korean authorities interpreted Japan’s Meiji Restoration as, “inferior grasp of confusion doctrine” (PAM 550-81 p. 22). As early as the Yi Dynasty, Confucianism dominated as the ideology of Korea. Industrialized, the world pressured Korea into treaties until Japan annexed Korea in 1910. World powers, including The U.S, formally recognized Japan’s authority over Korea (PAM 550-81 p. 13, 23). Korean interpretation of Confucianism, their primary social contract, made independence an important virtue. For Koreans, the world condoned the domination and denial of their opportunity for self-reliance.

The political philosophy of Juche emerged in this context, under Kim Il Sung’s hand. As Korea escaped Japan the future ruler rallied North Koreans under culturally potent ideology. The key components of Juche are domestic, foreign, economic, political, and military independence (p. 3, Lee). These values, intensely relevant to the culture, ideally supported a uniquely Korean brand of Marxism. Juche’s emphasis on self-reliance provided a nationalistic concept on which a new nation would be built. Sung used the past and an idealized future unified Korea to firmly gain civil control. He steered an eager culture capable of inheriting a culture of devotion generation after generation.


PAM 550-81 North Korea: A country Study, 4th edition (1994)

Lee Grace, “The Political Philosophy of Juche,” Stanford Journal of Asian Affairs (2003).

Armstrong, Charles K. “Korean History and Political Geography.” Center for Global Education. Accessed September 10, 2021.

Analytical Paper

one month ago
From the title I really thought this was going to be another bot.

Analytical Paper

one month ago

inferior grasp of confusion doctrine

Perhaps not being confused all the time is why Japan was able to conquer Korea. 

Analytical Paper

one month ago
Good catch. Pretty sure that was corrected in the next draft. Autocorrect is usually a good tool.