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

After the liberation(1945), socialist activists started to mobilize in North Korea. They promptly readied themselves to establish own government with the Soviet support. North Korea’s national symbols were to be developed in a similar aim. This study explores the origins and characteristics of the visualizing method of key national symbol designs (national flag, coat of arms, etc.) established during the building period of the DPRK’s regime (1945-1972).
North Korea’s aimed early on to take advantage of the political instability on the peninsula to seize sovereignty over the whole territory and build a new socialist nation. It required an independent government with new set of symbols that were different from those of the feudalistic system of the Great Korean Empire or new regime of South Korea. Thus new inspirations were drawn from the Socialist Realist art from the Soviet Union, with elements such as the red star, sickle and hammer, etc. and their design readily assimilated into North Korea national symbols and arts. However, this translation went beyond the stylistic appropriation to later start incorporating new meanings into these symbols. NK used imagery based on local nature and regional features and folktales to create, explicit illustration of the ‘ideal nation’ rather than using implicit and abstract imagery. In this way, the government devised a propaganda strategy that communicated to its people its vision of the ‘ideal nation’ in an intuitive, unambiguous and efficient manner.

 Coat of Arms & Bills     
 Chronicle of National Symbols     
 National Flag