[[quoteright:330:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/NORTH-KOREA-MAP-N-KOREAN-HavenWorks-com_2638.GIF]]
[[caption-width-right:330:[[BlatantLies Glorious]] [[SealedEvilInACan Sealed Evil In A Country]] ]]

->''"If you wanted to create a totally isolated and hermetic society, northern Korea in the years after the 1953 'armistice' would have been the place to start... Pyongyang was an ashen moonscape. It was Year Zero. Kim Il Sung could create a laboratory, with controlled conditions, where he alone would be the engineer of the human soul."''
-->-- '''Creator/ChristopherHitchens'''

The [[NonIndicativeName Democratic]] [[PeoplesRepublicOfTyranny People's]] [[HereditaryRepublic Republic of Korea]], far better known as North Korea, is a [[BlatantLies workers' paradise]] in East Asia which controls much of the northern Korean peninsula. It was founded in 1948, something the late Creator/ChristopherHitchens noted: "You almost get the feeling that Kim Il-sung was handed a copy of ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'' in Korean that year and asked, 'Do you think we could make this work?' And he thought, 'Well I don't know, but we can sure give it the old college try.'" Indeed, North Korea is probably the closest any society has ever come to realizing a real life Oceania. A highly isolationist and rigidly controlled society, it has reasonable relations with its two powerful northern neighbors, the [[UsefulNotes/{{China}} People's Republic of China]][[note]] Relations have soured considerably after the whole nuclear weapons rigmarole, now North Korea is more likely to serve as an embarrassment to China than anything else. The interest China has in North Korea these days is keeping the government from collapsing so their border won't be swamped by a flood of North Korean refugees and because North Korea getting annexed by the South would mean American bases on their borders.[[/note]] and UsefulNotes/{{Russia}}; while maintaining unbelievably terrible relations with its southern neighbor, [[UsefulNotes/SouthKorea the Republic of Korea]][[note]] although the ceasefire from the Korean War was established in 1953 and continues to this day, North and South have always technically been at war, and every so often the North sends the South a poke, or some artillery shells[[/note]], as well as with the UsefulNotes/UnitedStates, UsefulNotes/{{Japan}}, and UsefulNotes/{{Israel}}[[note]] North Korea does not officially recognize the state of Israel, and as per Cold War politics, they officially back the Arab states like the Soviet Union did, and support the terrorist group Hamas. Some of North Korean propaganda is filled with antisemitic rhetoric as well[[/note]]; keeping good relations with UsefulNotes/{{Iran}}, UsefulNotes/{{Syria}}, UsefulNotes/{{Cuba}}, UsefulNotes/{{Venezuela}}, and UsefulNotes/{{Pakistan}}[[note]] All five of these states have been hostile to the United States, Japan, Israel, and/or South Korea in one way or another. Pakistan's ''government'' had a long history of good relations with the USA until [[UsefulNotes/TheWarOnTerror the Bin Laden raid]] blew that up and caused the US to pivot to more overt support of India (a reversal of the situation during the Cold War, where India did not enjoy much American support due to its vaguely socialist policies and elected Marxist government in Bengal); Pakistan's ''people'', however, despise Americans more than anyone else on Earth. Cuba and Venezuela are Socialist states known to spat with the USA, though Cuba has since restored ties with the US[[/note]], and bad relations with just about everybody else. It also possesses one of the largest armies in the world, and holds the record for highest military spending as percentage of GDP – so much, that rather than a country with a military, it has been described as a military with a country – but there's no need to worry because the army is so badly equipped. Spending most of a country's GDP on the military doesn't amount to much when there's not much GDP to begin with, after all (which in turn is probably not unrelated to the fact that so much output is swallowed by the military, instead of used to support economic growth).

Generally featured in fiction as AcceptablePoliticalTargets and a sort of CaptainErsatz for China, as both happen to be a) East Asian, and b) "communist" (while China itself is a huge market with CulturePolice who will shut out anything that can be construed as even remotely unsympathetic towards Beijing). There have been some interesting non-fictional works made about the DPRK, such as propaganda films and documentaries from survivors of the regime.

The second North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il was seen by the West as a real-life [[Film/AustinPowers Dr. Evil]] and actually a ''Film/JamesBond'' fan. (Except ''Film/DieAnotherDay'', [[CaptainObvious obviously]]. But then, there are claims by former White House adviser Victor Cha in his book that Kim Jong-il watched the film and was impressed. Knowing him, he would probably have ordered a few hovercraft thinking it would be a good idea.) He died in December 2011, with the announcement coming a couple of days after the fact, having reigned since his father's death in 1994. North Korean state media announced that he will be succeeded by his youngest son, Kim Jong-un. It should be noted that neither Kim Jong-il nor Kim Jong-un were given the title "head of state", that title still belongs to Kim Il-Sung… who died in 1994. They take his title as the [[GodEmperor "Eternal President"]] very seriously, [[UpToEleven continually referring to him in the present tense]].

North Korea's national identity is largely shaped by the Korean War. The near-complete domination of the South in the early part of the conflict are lionized as communist internationalism at it's finest and the prevailing narrative to this day is that the United States (and to the lesser extent, the UN the US forces were leading) used the early advances as an excuse to fiendishly get involved and take over. The later pushes past the 38th parallel, when US general MacArthur attempted to push the communists entirely out of the peninsula, served as vindication of this. It is against the law in North Korea to use the [[InsistentTerminology term 'north' to describe it]] as by official stance it is the only Korea and the south is land held by capitalist traitors and US forces. North Korean media portrays southerners as malnourished and suffering in a sort of capitalist wasteland ruled by the Americans rather than one of the most prosperous countries in Asia. To this end North Korea also places an extensive importance preserving traditional Korean culture as the last holdout against the Western imperialists. For example, wives of leading Party members often go outside to do things like shopping in elaborate cheongsam.

North Korea adheres to the political doctrine of ''Juche'', or "self-reliance", which is ironic since it is dependent on foreign aid (particularly China's) to prop up its failing economy. Between 1994 and 1998 it suffered a disastrous famine in which around a million citizens died. The regime's propaganda refers to this as the ''Arduous March''. According to defectors, the country's food situation is again deteriorating since the 2012 ascension of Kim Jong-un. The country's official policy is seen by some as extremely authoritarian, militaristic, nationalistic, xenophobic, and racist. Some observers describe it as the world's last Stalinist dictatorship, but others believe terms such as "hereditary dictatorship" or even "absolute monarchy" are more appropriate because of the strong personality cult organized around the ruling Kim family. Another view, based on researching the country's domestic and international policy documents instead of its propaganda, is that North Korea's politics are actually very similar to those of ImperialJapan – very ironic, considering that Kim Il-sung made a name for himself as a guerrilla fighting ''against'' the Japanese in UsefulNotes/WW2. Although ruled by a nominally communist party, North Korea has removed all references to communism in its constitution. Perhaps they realized communist internationalism is diametrically opposed to the isolationist and xenophobic tenets of Juche, or perhaps they realized the UsefulNotes/ColdWar is effectively dead and thought dropping the "communist" label would get them [[VillainWithGoodPublicity good PR]]. [[InternalRetcon Make of it what you will]].

Whilst its portrayal as the CardCarryingVillain of world politics is [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain frequently played for laughs]], it may do you good to recall that this country is indeed home to 25 million people who never asked to live in a totalitarian nightmare; that said regime is responsible for the deaths of over a million people and the destitution of many more. So, RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgment very much applies.

See [[UsefulNotes/TheRulersOfNorthKorea this page]] for the lowdown on some of the people who run (or are believed to run) North Korea.

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!!Works from North Korea:

* ''Film/TheFlowerGirl'' (1972 {{Tearjerker}} drama)
* ''Film/HongKilDong'' (1986 martial arts movie)
* ''Film/OYouth'' (1994 romantic comedy)
* ''Film/{{Pulgasari}}'' (1986 monster movie)
* ''Film/TheSchoolgirlsDiary'' (2006 drama)
* ''Animation/SquirrelAndHedgehog'' (animated series)
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!!Other notes about North Korea
[[index]]
%%The "Main/"s are needed to make the Index work
* UsefulNotes/KoreanHonorifics
* UsefulNotes/TheKoreanWar
* UsefulNotes/NorthKoreansWithNodongs
* UsefulNotes/TheRulersOfNorthKorea
[[/index]]

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!!The DPRK and its inhabitants in fiction

* Their military personnel feature as the villains of the 2002 ''Film/JamesBond'' movie ''Film/DieAnotherDay'', albeit more in a [[RenegadeRussian Renegade North Korean]] way. (The villain's father, a legit North Korean officer, is actually depicted with a great deal of common sense.) Interestingly, high ranking [[ChineseWithChopperSupport People's Liberation Army]] officers show up in support of the villain's plan to destroy the minefield in the south with a [[KillSat laser satellite]].
* Featured as the antagonists in a CaptainErsatz [[BannedInChina of sorts of the PRC]] in ''VideoGame/{{Crysis}}''.
* In the Creator/DaleBrown novel [[http://dalebrown.info/12.htm ''Battle Born'']], a popular revolution leads to the collapse of Communism.
** Only the regime wasn't really communist back in Kim Il-Sung's time. He liked to paint himself Marxist, but after his death Kim Jong-Il started to distance the regime from the Communist and Socialist trappings, concentrating instead on radical nationalism and militarism. The DPRK officially dropped all mentions of Communism and Socialism from its propaganda.
* Kim Jong-Il features in ''Film/TeamAmericaWorldPolice''.
* Kim Jong-Il also features in the Larry Bond novel ''Red Phoenix''.
* The first ''{{Mercenaries}}'' game is set here, when it gets an even more 'rogue' leader. China, South Korea, Russian criminals, and a UN in all but name show up to finally bring it in line with..er, something.
* ''Manga/TheLegendOfKoizumi'' has Kim Jong-Il as one of Koizumi's early opponents. He later returns [[spoiler:as a {{Cyborg}}]].
* ''Film/TheInterview'' has [[Creator/JamesFranco talk show host Dave Skylark]] and [[Creator/SethRogen his more down-to-earth producer/best friend Dave Rapaport]] finding themselves going to North Korea for an interview with Kim Jong-Un (who happens to be a fan of their show)...which quickly turns into a CIA-backed mission to assassinate the dictator. Needless to say, [[{{Understatement}} the real North Korea was quite upset at this movie]]. So much so that it formed the Guardians of Peace and infamously leaked the hell out of Creator/{{Sony}}. This got Sony to cancel the theatrical release...but that didn't stop the movie from being seen on Creator/{{Netflix}} and YouTube.
* North Korea will later unite with the South in ''{{Homefront}}'' under its rule and conquers most of East Asia sans China and even invades ''the western United States'' by 2027. They're the villains of ''{{Homefront}}'', unless you play the Japanese version, wherein [[CanadaEh Canada]] [[{{Bowdlerization}} is]] [[MemeticMutation the]] BigBad.
* The ''Film/RedDawn2012'' remake received a last-minute edit to turn the villains from Chinese to North Koreans. The reason behind the change is that [[MoneyDearBoy China makes up the second largest box office audience]]. This elicited much derision at a movie depicting North Korea, a nation so dirt poor that it can't keep the lights on, taking over the United States.
* In ''Film/WorldWarZ'' the North Koreans just... vanish. As in, one day, the US spy satellites do not pick up any activity in North Korea anymore. The likely explanation is that they retreated to underground bunkers. [[SealedEvilInACan And no one knows if one of them was infected]].
** In the [[Film/WorldWarZ film]], the fate of North Korea is elaborated on: they survived by ''removing the teeth from the entire population inside of twenty four hours''. Fascist dictatorships get things ''done'' when they need to.
* Kim Jong-Il makes an appearance at the end of ''VideoGame/ForumWarz, Episode 1'', after you cause an explosion at a nuclear power plant by pwning its forum... somehow, [[YourApprovalFillsMeWithShame remarking that he is impressed with your actions.]] He shows up again in ''Episode Two'' under the handle "[[Music/{{Eminem}} KIM_SHADY]]", commanding you to pwn the Pentagon's forums for him.
* Leonard Hofstadter in ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'' briefly "dated" a woman named Joyce Kim, who turned out to be a North Korean spy trying to steal the formula to an experimental rocket fuel he was working on for the government. Fortunately, Sheldon chased her out of the apartment when Leonard didn't give him the required two weeks notice to bring a strange woman in, and she returned to North Korea. In another episode a North Korean ChildProdigy defector named Dennis Kim was briefly employed at [=CalTech=] alongside the main characters, acting as TheRival to Sheldon, but he discovered girls and dropped out, becoming a hippy with his girlfriend.
* ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'' has on several occasions mentioned or implied that the MegaCorp Barney works for has a number of illegal dealings with North Korea. At one point, Barney is chewing out a woman who pretended to be into him just so he'd give her money, saying, "At my job we don't rip people's hearts out for money. My company briefly backed a lab in North Korea that did, but we sold it!"
** In one episode he's shown having a meeting with four Asian men, one wearing what looks like a KPA uniform, although when he speaks to them in Korean, none of them understand him.
* ''Literature/TheOrphanMastersSon'', a 2012 novel by Adam Johnson.
* ''Series/ThirtyRock'' had a StoryArc involving RecurringCharacter Avery Jessup (played by Elizabeth Banks) being held prisoner in North Korea. She was PutOnABus for about a year. Kim Jong Il was [[CrosscastRole humorously portrayed by]] Creator/MargaretCho. TheGreatPoliticsMessUp resulted when the real Kim Jong Il died during the arc. Not wanting to throw away the chance to bring Margaret Cho's performance back, they had Kim Jong Il turn up in America with the explanation that [[FakingTheDead his death had been faked]].
* ''Series/{{NCIS}}'': The team tracked down a woman from North Korea who is married to a US marine. [[spoiler:Turns out she is out killing other women from North Korea who are trained as infiltrators just like her, and trying to stop a terrorist attack directed by their leader.]]
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'': Harmon Rabb flies the secret Aurora spy plane in on a reconnaissance mission over North Korea in "The One That Got Away".
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}'': Archer and Lana are tasked with intercepting North Korean agents looking to purchase weapons-grade uranium in "The Honeymooners".
* They're the bad guys in ''Film/OlympusHasFallen''. Perhaps not unintentionally, the BigBad played the Dragon of the ''Film/DieAnotherDay'' example, and is himself a renegade.
* ''Website/CollegeHumor'' produces the animated series ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f37K0hIv3zk&list=PL972223EC60D642D2 The Adventures of Kim Jong-Un]]'', satirically portraying him as the MemeticBadass of his own TV show. The Penalty for Questioning this show's accuracy on real events is Death By Scorpions.
* Due to its anti-war perspective on UsefulNotes/TheKoreanWar, ''Series/{{MASH}}'' is probably the closest thing you'll ever see to a positive portrayal of North Korea in American pop culture. Most of the North Korean characters are soldiers and/or Viet Cong-style guerrillas who are treated with sympathy by the war-hating protagonists. Almost nothing is said about the actual North Korean regime, although "[[JosefStalin Joe Stalin]]" is occasionally alluded to be the leader of "the other side".
* ''Webcomic/{{Spinnerette}}'' villain Colonel Glass hails from DPRK. He's... not a very nice person. Best that can be said about him is that he seems quite patriotic, taking offense at an insult to Kim Il-Sung.
* In ''Webcomic/ScandinaviaAndTheWorld'', North Korea is the only character whose face cannot be seen. Instead, he is completely wrapped in the North Korean flag, only showing his (angry) eyes. And whenever he and South Korea are in the same comic, he's attacking South Korea (either verbally or physically).
* In the ExpandedUniverse of ''Series/BabylonFive'', North Korea is a technically independent part of China. It's the result of North Korea's ''last'' EpicFail: with most of the world distracted by WorldWarIII, the North Koreans finally invaded the South only to [[CurbStompBattle have their military crushed by the ROK Armed Forces and what troops the Americans had not moved to other theatres yet and get themselves bombed back to stone age]], at which point the Chinese came in force to prevent an invasion (that neither the South nor the Americans were willing to do for fear of escalating the war) and simply never left, transforming the place in a puppet state. By the time of the series, North Korea is theorically an independent member of Earth Alliance (as China brought them in for the ride when they joined), but is effectively ruled by Chinese senators who keep the country in poverty, with the people desperately wishing for reunification with the still independent South Korea.
* In ''LightNovel/FullMetalPanic'', the students and teachers at Jindai High end up in North Korea after their airplane is hijacked. The country was changed to USSR in the [[TooSoon anime however]]. Agent Wraith is also from North Korea.


[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: The North Korean flag ]]

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/north_korea_flag_4046.png
->The flag reuses the standard red, white and blue colors of the Korean Empire, but with more prominence placed on the red (as reflected on its central placement), symbolizing the revolution, while the blue side stripes stand for sovereignty, peace and friendship, and the white fimbriations stands for unity; the red star on a white disk symbolizes communism, and later, after North Korea disassociated itself from post-Stalinist USSR, the ''juche'' philosophy.
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--->''North Korean society is shut down—animation suspended, all dead quiet on the set, endlessly awaiting not action (we hope) or even cameras, but light.''