World Religions


The Juche Idea is the official ideology of North Korea, and informally the political system based on it. It is also known as Kimilsungism for its founder Kim Il-sung. The core of Juche is that the people, collectively, must be the subjects and masters of social revolution; in other words, the people must remake themselves. Juche is often translated (although not by North Korea itself) as "self-reliance".

Juche Relation to socialism

The goal of revolution and construction under Juche is the establishment of socialism and communism. The North Korean government admits that Juche addresses questions previously considered in Marxism, but claims that it is a completely new ideology created by Kim Il-sung and does not depend on Marxism. In 1977 Juche replaced Marxism-Leninism in the country's constitution. Commentators outside North Korea often equate Juche with Stalinism and call North Korea's government Stalinist, but the government does not admit any connection between Juche and the ideas of Stalin. The government does however, support Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin as good previous leaders of socialism before Juche.

Juche Relation to Criticism

Human rights monitoring organizations and political analysts in several parts of the world continually report that the actual situation in North Korea bears no resemblance to Juche theory. The country's economy has depended heavily on imports and foreign aid before and after the collapse of the Communist trading block. They also claim that the opinions of the people have no actual weight in decision-making, which is under Kim Jong-il's personal control. Leading Juche theorist Hwang Jang-yop has joined these criticisms since defecting to South Korea, although he maintains his belief in the Juche Idea as he understands it.

Juche in other countries

During the Cold War North Korea promoted Juche as a guide for other countries, particularly third world countries, to build socialism. Romanian president Nicolae Ceaus,escu became especially interested in Juche after a visit to North Korea and sought to base his program of systematization on it. North Korea no longer promotes Juche in this manner and now teaches that Juche is only for Koreans. However, Juche study groups exist throughout the world. The Korean Central News Agency regularly refers to statements by these groups commemorating the discovery of Juche, but does not mention them developing the idea further or putting it into practice.

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  Facts about Juche
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