Dan Pinkston weighs in from Seoul on the companion video to our earlier post on PSY’s Gangnam style: the female version (오빤 딱 내 스타일; “oppa, you’re just my style”) with the pouty Hyuna. But what about the other side of the tracks? PSY’s shtick is a take-down on Gangnam, so why not the Hongdae [...]
Melanie Kirkpatrick, who had a long and successful career at the Wall Street Journal, including as Deputy Editor of its editorial page, has written a lively and engaging book called Escape from North Korea: Asia’s Underground Railroad. The link to the American underground railroad is explicit; for Kirkpatrick, this is a story of an exodus [...]
Whatever one thinks about the likelihood of reform in North Korea, the theatrical aspect of politics has changed. From the pop concerts with Disney characters to the roller-coaster ride, it is clear that this is not your grandfather’s North Korea. Certain stylistic parallels are reminiscent of an earlier period of American politics. We too had [...]
Marcus Noland explains why the North Korean leadership needs to introduce market incentives but inevitably hates the result when it empowers people against the state.
We have argued in some detail that reform is unlikely to come with big announcements. Nonetheless, like others we got swept into the speculation that maybe—just maybe—there might be a sign from the SPA meeting. The silence on reform was deafening. The Education Bit The main initiative coming out of the meeting was the expansion [...]
Marcus Noland assesses the latest confusing reports that North Korea may be pondering market incentives in food and industrial production.
Several weeks ago, we posted on a new technical paper that contends that the Cheonan may have been sunk by a mine after all. The Russian investigation team advanced this theory at the time, apparently based on tangled line in the ship’s propeller that could have dragged a mine up. My colleague Marc Noland subsequently [...]
A few weeks ago I stumbled across an article by Steven Borowiec titled “South Korean Businesses in the North Going Broke.” The thrust of the piece, which paralleled other articles that appeared during the spring, is that the policies of President Lee Myung-bak have inflicted more damage on South Korean firms than the North. Borowiec [...]
In case you missed it, the Pyongyang Style parody of Gangnam Style has hit YouTube. The only problem is the title: we prefer Songun Style. And in case you’re one of the four humans on the planet who have not seen the original, it’s the perfect antidote to all that 60s and 70s nostalgia posted [...]
For those living in Southern California, UC Irvine is staging an exhibition of South Korean political art that looks like it is worth a visit. Following the Kwangju massacre, an important group of Korean artists—most born in the immediate post-war period—turned against Korean modernism by developing a dynamic, political; Youngwoo Lee offers a good introduction [...]