29 Facts About Juche


Juche was originally regarded as a variant of Marxism–Leninism until Kim Jong-il, Kim Il-sung's son and successor, declared it a distinct ideology in the 1970s.

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Juche posits that a country will prosper once it has become self-reliant by achieving political, economic, and military independence.

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Juche has been variously described by critics as a quasi-religion, a nationalist ideology, and a deviation from Marxism–Leninism.

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Juche comes from the Sino-Japanese word, whose Japanese reading is shutai.

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Hwang subsequently expanded upon the meaning of Juche and rewrote Korean communist history to make it appear as though Kim Il-sung had been the WPK's leader since its inception.

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Lankov posits that the 1955 speech "used the word in a different meaning" and that Juche was not adopted as the "basic ideological principle of North Korean politics" until after the 1965 speech.

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Juche is inexorably linked with Kim Il-sung and "represents the guiding idea of the Korean revolution".

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Goal of Juche is to establish a self-reliant state which independently determines its political, economic, and military affairs.

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Juche stresses equality and mutual respect among nations, asserting that every state has the right to self-determination.

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Juche argued that socialism in Eastern Europe failed because they "imitated the Soviet experience in a mechanical manner".

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Juche added that "if experience is considered absolute and accepted dogmatically it is impossible to build Socialism properly, as the times change and the specific situation of each country is different from another".

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Juche believed the situation in North Korea was more complex because of the nearby American presence in South Korea.

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Juche then conceded by stating that Socialism of Our Style was "a man-centered Socialism", explicitly making a break with basic Marxist–Leninist thought, which argues that material forces are the driving force of historical progress, not people.

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The International Scientific Seminar on the Juche Idea took place in Antananarivo, Madagascar, from 28 to 30 September 1976 under the sponsorship of the Democratic Republic of Madagascar.

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Ju Jun-hui similarly contends that Korean shamanism influenced the development of Juche, comparing the ecstatic state experienced in a shamanic ritual to the enthusiasm and fervor displayed by North Koreans for their supreme leader.

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The personality cult explains how the Juche ideology has been able to endure until today, even during the North Korean government's undeniable dependence on foreign assistance during its famine in the 1990s.

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Religious behavior of Juche can be seen in the perspectives of the North Korean people through refugee interviews from former participants in North Korea's ritual occasions.

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The festival's effectiveness in transforming its participants into loyal disciples of Juche seems to originate from the collectivist principle of "one for all and all for one" and the ensuing emotional bond and loyalty to the leader.

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Juche is thus based on the language of family relationships with its East Asian or neo-Confucian "resonances of filial piety and maternal love".

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Juche argues that while the official pursuit of the Juche ideology in the 1960s signaled North Korea's desire to separate from the "fraternity of international socialism", the ideology replaced Stalin as the father figure with Kim Il-sung.

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Juche has been described by critics as a nationalist ideology and a departure from Marxist–Leninist principles.

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Myers, Michael J Seth, and Max Fisher go further and argue that Juche has more in common with Japanese fascism and ultranationalism than Marxism–Leninism.

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Suh criticized Kim Il-sung's initial conceptualization of Juche, saying that he had failed to explain how Marxism–Leninism had been applied to Korean conditions.

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Shin believes that the key difference between Marxism–Leninism and Juche is that the latter places the primacy of ideology over materialism; the vocabulary of family lineage and nationalism is retained and given primacy over class struggle, while social distinction and hierarchy are supported instead of a classless society and egalitarianism.

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Myers argues that Juche cannot be described as a true political ideology because it does not have an underlying belief system, while Alzo David-West describes it as "meaningless on logical and naturalistic grounds".

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American political analyst Robert E Kelly argues that Juche exists solely to protect the Kim family's monopoly over political power in North Korea.

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However, Myers dismisses the idea that Juche is North Korea's leading ideology, regarding its public exaltation as being designed to deceive foreigners.

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Juche argues that it exists to be praised and not actually read.

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American historian Bruce Cumings and Professor of International Relations Christoph Bluth similarly argue that Juche is not mere rhetoric, but rather an ideal of self-reliance that North Korea has attempted to put into practice.

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