Juche (pronounced "Joo-cheh"), also Kimilsungism, is the official government-sponsored ideology of North Korea. The name is Korean for "self-reliance"; in this sense autarchy. Juche has developed from Stalinism and the teachings of Kim Il-sung; it is often confused with Stalinism proper, despite important differences.
Juche has been promoted by the North Korean government and educational system since the term was first used in a 1955 speech by Kim Il Sung. At first, the ideology consisted of two fundamental ideas: that the proletarian revolution belonged to the people, and that the masses must be organized by a great leader. In the 1970s, Kim introduced a refined analogy: that the leader is the brain to the body of the people, and that the Korean Workers' Party is, in turn, the nervous system that communicates with the brain on behalf of the people.
From an economic standpoint, Juche also calls for North Korea to be self-sufficient in industry and services, with as little foreign aid or interference as possible, and it has been applied more strenuously since the 1960's. Most of the economic focus has been on heavy industry, military spending, and agriculture, which North Korea considers its basic mainstays.
Juche was first conceived at a time when the USSR and China were vying for influence over North Korea's internal affairs; many historians view the emergence of Juche as Kim Il Sung's way of continually reasserting the state's independence. One noteworthy demonstration of this was the Juche-influenced Chollima (later known as Taean ) economic campaign of the 1960s, where the government placed the economy under the strict control of the military in an attempt to build it up independently of Soviet support.
In 1977, Juche replaced Marxism in the North Korean constitution, solidifying its position in the state's government and society.
Admirers of Kim Jong Il in many countries have formed Juche Study Groups in order to promote the idea. Opponents of Juche might suggest, however, that these groups do not critically study the concept but rather exist to grasp the truth which they believe is already present therein.
Some sociologists and other overseas scholars have likened Juche to a religious movement. They have claimed that the modern ideology indicates that adherents can achieve immortal life by shaping the immortal state and that the leader, according to Juche literature, is received in the same language in which Korean Christians would receive communion. Juche authorities state that the idea is a secular one.
- The International Institute of the Juche Idea http://www.cnet-ta.ne.jp/juche/defaulte.htm
- Juche Idea Study Group of England http://www.korea-dpr.com/users/jisge
Last updated: 02-08-2005 15:49:32