Breaking Down Cultural Norms in North Korea: A Deep Dive

Breaking Down Cultural Norms in North Korea: A Deep Dive

North Korea, a country that has long been shrouded in secrecy, is known for its socio-political and cultural norms that are drastically different from the rest of the world. Despite globalization, the Kim dynasty ruling North Korea fiercely protects these norms, making it difficult to understand how its people function in everyday life. In this deep dive, we will take a closer look at what cultural norms exist in North Korea, the reasons behind their existence, and their impact on the society.

Family First

One of the most prominent cultural norms in North Korea is the emphasis on family values. In North Korean culture, family is always prioritized over anything else. It is mandatory for every family to hang a portrait of the country’s founding father, Kim Il-Sung, as a sign of respect for the country’s leader and to honor the family. Family members are expected to behave in a manner that honors this tradition and the chosen leaders.

Korean Juche Ideology

The Korean Juche ideology is another significant cultural norm that is deeply ingrained in North Korean culture. The philosophy of Juche is based on the idea that individuals are in complete control of their own lives, and that the country should be self-sufficient in all aspects. This ideology is often linked to North Korea since it was founded by Kim Il-Sung and is still followed by the current ruler, Kim Jong-Un. All citizens are expected to follow this ideology, and any defiance can lead to severe consequences.

Patriotism and Propaganda

Patriotism and propaganda are omnipresent in North Korea. The government ensures that its citizens’ lives are infused with it, with daily compulsory education centered around Kim Il-Sung and his family. North Koreans are taught to believe that their leaders are the only ones capable of protecting their country from foreign invasion. Every citizen is expected to contribute to the well-being of the nation, and those who do not follow this norm are considered societal outcasts.

Gender Roles and Dress Code

The dress code is another cultural norm that North Koreans abide by, with a conservative way of dressing promoted to the populace. Men usually wear a suit and tie, while women are expected to dress modestly in long skirts or traditional dresses. They are also subjected to regular check-ups by higher authorities to ensure that they maintain this dress code. Additionally, gender roles are well-defined, and people are expected to follow them strictly. Men are expected to engage in physically demanding jobs, while women are encouraged to take up nurturing roles such as being a homemaker or a nurse.


The cultural norms of North Korea are deeply ingrained in its populace, with the government taking stringent measures to ensure that they are enforced. Any violation of these norms is punishable by law and can lead to consequences ranging from social isolation to being labeled an enemy of the state. Understanding these norms is imperative to have a broader perspective of North Korean society and its functioning in the world.

Breaking down the cultural norms in North Korea, we see that it is a country that operates very differently from the rest of the world. From prioritizing family values to enforcing strict dress codes and gender roles, every aspect of life is regulated by the state. It is crucial to understand the reasons behind the existence of these norms and their impact on society. Ultimately, it is only through knowledge and understanding that we can bridge the gap between North Korea and the rest of the world.

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