North Korea: Mass Games


Author Comments

North Korea - the last standing remnant of communism in the cold war era.

the most prevalent visual icon of their dedication to their Juche socialist movement is the Mass Games, a yearly event held at the Kim Il-Sung Stadium.

comprised of over 80,000 gymnasts, athletes, dancers and card-turners, the Mass Games are a sight to behold, where performers synchronized by the tens of thousands pay tribute to Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong Il, and all comrades in a literal display of the principals of communism where the masses unify to embody one.

thousands of dancers wave, spin and turn on the field, while on the opposite side of the stadium, every seat is filled with a card-turner. from afar it gives the illusion of a "human jumbotron", where each person is a synchronized color given by signals to make moving pictures the height of ten-story buildings.

preparation for this event takes months. many children are part of this event. most schooltime is set aside for practicing for the mass games, making sure every element is perfect, to honor the kim family and to show off the fabricated power and glory of north korea to the world.

while things like the mass games are practiced in other places of the world, there is nothing quite like this event in north korea in scale, beauty and perfection. if you have never seen it before, go to youtube and look up "mass games", there are many videos.

but all spectacles aside, the mass games are nothing but a veil over the desolate state of the country.

after the mass games, many of these children will go back to lives of starvation, absolute poverty and periodic electricity if any at all. they are deemed by the government as "expendable", as the country's poor population continues to dwindle while its hypocritical leadership further isolates itself and purposely harms its people.

the few tourists who are allowed to enter north korea typically are let in for these mass events games. in this picture, one card-turner girl simply holds up a card that says "help" in korean. the next time she may see decent food and shelter could be months from now on kim jong il's birthday.


Hear me...

Her voice is not heard...Yet she tries to let it be known.


I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story about the children of Korea. You understand what you're creating about which adds a whole other element to your art, a soul. (Or Seoul if you want to make a joke [and yes I'm aware that's South Korea])

i like it

combining your artistic ability with some history, i love it.

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There will be an uprise.

But only when the people of Korea have hit rock bottom. There will come a day when the Koreans will realize that they have the power to overthrow the government and this realization will only come when the need for social reform is at it's greatest.


That we can live in a world filled with both excess and deprivation

Maybe one of these days things will change

But probably not

Very provocative piece

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Credits & Info

4.13 / 5.00

Mar 26, 2010
5:35 AM EDT
File Info
1025 x 1148 px
300.2 KB

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