The Birth of New Symbolism:
To be an 'Ideal Nation' of North Korea


This study explores the origins and characteristics of the visualizing method of key national symbol designs. It focuses mainly during the nation-building period of the DPRK’s regime (1945-1972). Besides, it offers a glimpse of the continuous diffusion after the period. The rhetoric of national symbols can help reveal the geopolitics on the territory and the dominant power that permeated all levels of daily life in North Korea.
The national symbols of North Korea were hastily developed as a way to establish a new nation separate from the former feudal dynasty of the Korean empire, separate from South Korea controlled by US military force, and separate from any factions fighting for unification. The process of symbol formation became a part of the new history of North Korea, thanks to the efforts of Kim Il-sung, who encouraged the cult of personality surrounding him and his chosen predecessors. The work of visualizing the ideal state through symbols was conducted in such a way as to reflect Kim Il-sung’s personal history, North Korea’s abundant natural resources and the development of the new country.
Despite the high degree of Soviet influence, the symbols of North Korea show more than ‘copies’ of those of USSR. The rapid introduction of national symbols into public media in just a few years reveals that people and governments of North Korea wanted a new nation.

 Coat of Arms & Bills     
 Chronicle of National Symbols     
 National Flag