Life Inside in North Korea: Photos, Videos

Updated on March 15th 2013

See also

Since I started this photo essay on North Korea three days ago, already several of the photos I found showing the actual conditions that people are living in inside the country have disappeared from the internet, leaving “broken icon” images where the photos had been. That makes me only more determined to show other Americans what is really happening inside North Korea. I want North Koreans to know that someone on the outside is praying for their liberation. I have made up my mind on this, and until or unless WP yanks this news blog, I want to keep showing the world what I find when I look into conditions inside North Korea. I’d like for other news bloggers to join me in outing the real conditions there. Forget photos of Dennis Rodman hugging Kim Jong Eun. That’s all just part of the big lie. I want to focus on what is happening to everyday people in North Korea. That’s where my heart is drawn. There is real, sustained, gut wrenching human suffering, torture and death taking place hidden inside North Korea and it has to be brought into the light of day for the world to see. It’s time for a change to take place in North Korea.

For more than 55 years the North Korean people have been kept in more or less complete isolation from the outside world, existing in a literal time warp which is frozen somewhere between the late 1940s [ citing many of their fashions ] and the late 1960s.

They subsist intellectually on a steady philosophical diet of State created fairy tales and carefully crafted mythologies designed by the North Korean department of propaganda to instill awe and worshipful reverence of the Kim family dynasty. Any fleeting glimpses of real conditions on the outside world are caught from underground communications with defectors, or through the robust “black markets” which exist inside North Korea to supply much needed food, medicine and information about the outside world. People trade in these markets upon risk of death if they are caught.

hunger-gamesIn the West people make motion pictures like “The Hunger Games” which examines life in a totalitarian fascist state which literally starves it’s own people into generational submission. In the REAL WORLD we have the horrific actuality of North Korea. Sadly, no mighty heroine like Katniss Everdeen has caught fire yet to do something about the plight of her people. But she’s out there. She might only be two or three years old, but God already has His hand on her if she has been born inside North Korea. Since North Korea seems to hold female leaders in positions of power with such open contempt, it seems only fitting that in a future which may become manifest in the not-too-distant future, North Korea’s liberator might in fact, be a young woman. Truly God always has the last laugh in these matters, don’t you think?

Cited:  “The digital age has made it almost impossible for the North Korean regime to keep all outside information out of the hands of its citizens. Times of high tension and low resources in the country have historically made its people more willing to accept the notion that living conditions must be better.

The North Korean officer who spoke with US News had his own moment of dawning comprehension during the massive famine that crippled the country in the mid 1990s. As many as 3 million North Koreans or more died of starvation brought on by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the aid it provided, and the newly minted North Korean “great leader” Kim Jong Il‘s unwillingness to cast aside nuclear and military ambitions.”

“They’re getting more and more information about the outside world, especially DVDs of dramas of South Korea that show how wealthy the country is, or thumb drives with material on them, much coming from China,” says David Straub, associate director of the Korean Studies Program at Stanford University. This amounts to more and more anecdotal information proving the leadership has been lying to its citizenry, he says.

“It’s not possible to predict the outcome,” he says. “We’re some time from a tipping point, but the trends are not good if you’re a North Korean leader.”

Kim Il Sung: 1912-1994

The massive Kim family dynasty socialist lie all began in 1948 with the advent of Kim Il-Sung. The North Korean government refers to Kim Il-sung as “The Great Leader” (위대한 수령, widaehan suryeong) and he is designated in the North Korean constitution as the country’s “Eternal President.”  His birthday is a public holiday in North Korea.

Christian Apostasy Hall of Shame

The “Great Leader” and founder of socialist North Korea, the man who first instigated the epic 55 year era of hunger, starvation, oppression, human cruelty and abject suffering which has characterized the modern decades of life in North Korea, Kim Il-Sung, was in fact, the maternal grandson of a Christian minister.

Cited:  “Kim claims he was raised in a Presbyterian family, that his maternal grandfather was a Protestant minister, that his father had gone to a missionary school and was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, and that his parents were very active in the religious community.”

Today the charade of glossy socialist public appearances masking abject suffering within continues through his grandson, Kim Jong Eun. It’s been stated that as many as three million people in North Korea have died due to famine. But no one on the outside knows the exact numbers. That’s just an estimate.

Funny thing: usually when as many as three  million people are passing away from famine, the UN is all over it.  The awful story will be all over the alphabet news casts and the world begins gathering to DO something about it. Fund raisers kick in, celebrities get on board, and famine relief concerts are broadcast around the world to raise awareness and raise money. It’s an odd silence that instead fills the spaces where the world would usually be doing something to help the North Korean people. So into that odd silence I’ll interject this photo and video report, along with others.

WARNINGSome of the video reports on this page display graphic, explicit, violent or other uncomfortable scenes and imagery which may be disturbing to some viewers.  I had a hard time watching much of it myself.  The content of  some of the videos is appalling to the soul of a free human being. I am not posting this material to disgust readers. I am posting it to educate readers. There is a reason that we love and treasure our freedoms and our civil liberties in the United States. The video reports below provide just a mere glimpse of what happens to a human population in a nation where evil is allowed to flourish for decades on end. These videos cover a broad time period of approximately 50 years or more, including the era of Kim Jong Il, the father of current North Korean leader Kim Jong Eun, aka Kim Jong Un, as well as the era of his grandfather, Kim Il-Sung.

I was taken by the apparent veiled fear on the faces of this family, as they were apparently chosen to pose for a photo with leader Kim Jong Eun. None of them look very happy about it, and the grandmother holding the child looks as if she is about to burst into tears.

North Korean Spring? Defector Predicts Possible Insurgent Violence Brewing

U.S. Intelligence Chief ‘Very Concerned’ on North Korea

Personal Musings:  Christian scripture make reference to a series of “Lesser Antichrists” who make their appearance on the world scene before the final Son of Perdition appears.  If there has been a period of “lesser Antichrists” who have horrified the world with their vile actions since the times of Christ, [  tyrants like Saddam Hussein and Hitler ] , one would have to regard the generational crime regime of the Kim family in North Korea as part of that dismally wicked pantheon. The mere fact that this horrific oppression and population indoctrination has gone on for more than 50 years is extremely difficult for me to digest spiritually. The magnitude of the crimes perpetrated against their own people by North Korean leaders screams for justice to finally come for unborn generations of North Koreans and for the end of this regime to come as well.

If you don’t have time to watch all the videos posted, try to make time to watch the first one. It is a complete documentary on North Korea made just a few years back by a British film crew who were granted unusual access to the insides of North Korean society. Even what they saw was just a glimpse and 90% of what takes place in North Korea remained off limits to them. Nonetheless it not only stunned me, it made me want to kiss the ground that I was born free and cherished as a citizen of the United States of America.

Photos from inside North Korea

North Korea Daily Life

A few little known facts that I ascertained from watching these video reports:

  • At a certain point in time, as recently as 1994, it was literally against the law for any North Korean civilian to make eye contact with a foreign visitor or tourist.
  • Visiting journalists are forced to bow to all statuary and monuments to North Korean “Supreme Leaders” whether they wish to, or not. NOT to bow might be grounds for the immediate termination of the visit.
  • Visiting journalists are not allowed to query any North Korean citizen or State representative of the regime in public or private. Should a wrong question be presented, the visit is ended. Should a wrong answer be volunteered, the citizen or representative who gave this answer might spend the remainder of their life in a prison gulag for committing a crime against the State.
  • All hotel rooms in North Korea are bugged. Someone is always listening to all conversations held in those rooms.
  • Due to sanctions and the rarity of gasoline, North Korean streets are practically deserted. Foreign journalists from the UK video-taped a North Korean policewoman in an immaculate uniform directing traffic – that did not exist – in the center of a large empty thoroughfare.
  • No elderly or handicapped persons are visible on North Korean city streets. They have either been relocated to an undisclosed location outside of Pyongyang, or they are encourage to stay indoors. They are regarded as social “untouchables” for the most part. They are cast away.
  • Vast sums of money has been spent over the decades to create enormous monuments, displays, statuary and the like of the Kim Family dynasty which now sit desolate, as only a handful of foreign visitors arrive to tour these sites each week. Journalists were astounded at how desolate public squares and city monuments were in Pyongyang. Every locale was impeccably clean, and totally empty.
  • In Pyongyang, city block after city block of expensive high rise buildings and structures give the feeling of a pristine but deserted movie set. It’s all been done for show for any foreign guests. Everything is empty, hotels, office buildings, city squares, civic centers. UK journalists speculated as to whether the greater part of Pyongyang had been built to prop up appearances and to boost the moral of a beaten down and starving population.
  • Chauffeur and taxi drivers in North Korea are under strict orders to speed from one destination to the next, dis-allowing a foreign guest from taking any unscheduled stops along the way. Queries placed to the driver about anything observed en route are ignored.
  • The majority of all human activity observed in city squares in Pyongyang pertains to locals rehearsing for six hours a day to appear in celebrations and pageants dedicated to North Korean leaders. Children rehearse for their parts in these pageants for six hours a day as well.
  • Journalists speculate that there are may be about 18 “State sanctioned hair styles” which may be worn by North Korean women. I found a possible photo of these styles with their numbers showing and posted it. Some writers suspect the same rules are in place for the North Korean men, as photos of their “State preferred” hair styles have been seen and documented as well. See photos.
  • Although the world long ago moved on from the Korean War of the early 1950s [ just as we have now normalized relations with Vietnam in the decades since the 1960s] North Korea is locked into a virtual zero forward movement “time freeze” around the events of the Korean War. Huge museum displays about the war are mandatory viewing for every North Korean citizen, including young children. These museum displays are graphic and horrible. Every child in North Korea is educated to loathe and despise America and Americans from babyhood. It’s not unlike what takes place in the Muslim Mosques throughout the Mideast, regarding the generational inculcation of hatred of the West.
  • Every North Korean citizen is told, repeatedly, from infancy, that their “Supreme dear leader” has supernatural gifts. The Supreme Leader is regarded as somewhat of a living Deity on Earth. This macabre fairy tale has been kept going through three generations of the Kim family dynasty in North Korea. The entire nation is living as people enslaved in a cult might live, not unlike the notorious US based cult of Scientology. Newspapers, broadcasts, music, video, magazines or and sort of media from the outside world are strictly prohibited in North Korea. The entire population is kept completely ignorant of conditions and events from the outside world. Those who escape and live to learn about the actual world they live in are not only shocked by what they learn, they are stunned by how little they EVER knew about the real world from their upbringing in North Korea. They exhibit a peculiar type of “reality shock PTSD” that actually requires quite extensive counseling and even therapy to heal from. This healing and recovery process from their past in North Korea can take years to finally complete, if ever.

“Everyone is scared, permanently.”– description of North Korean society given by a former propaganda writer from North Korea who swam to freedom in South Korea with his two daughters in recent years.

More Little Known Facts & Statistics about North Korea

Life Inside North Korea:  2009 Video Report


The population currently stands at around 24.45 million, according to the UN Population Division, a growth of 151% since 1950. The UN estimates that the North Korean population will rise to 24.55 million by 2100.


North Korea is officially the world’s most corrupt country, according to the
Corruption index 2011 from Transparency International
, which ranks countries on a scale of one to ten. Kim Jong-il‘s homeland made its index debut this year with a score of one.

Capital punishment

North Korea ranks third for meting out the death penalty, behind China and Iran, according to Amnesty International’s death penalty statistics. 60 people were executed there in 2010.

Military strength

According to the IISS Military Balance 2011, North Korea has 1.19 million people on active duty (1.02 million army personnel, 60,000 navy and 110,000 air), plus 189,000 active paramilitary personnel, and a further 600,000 reservists. 5.7 million North Koreans are reservists in the worker/peasant red guard, which is compulsory to the age of 60.

Nuclear capability

North Korea is a nuclear power, but only has two nuclear warheads (2009 est.), lagging far behind the world’s other atomic powers. According to 2009 research by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Russia has nearly 13,000, the US 9,500 and the UK 192.

North Korea v South Korea

Between 1958 and 2010 there were around 150 incidents between North Korea and South Korea (that we know about). The Datablog mapped them in 2010.


North Korea scored 19.4 on the 2010 Global Hunger Index, a level classed as alarming by the International Food Policy Research Institute. The situation has worsened since 1990, when the country scored 16.2. The proportion of the population that is undernourished has risen from 21% to 32% in that time.


North Korea ranks 149th on the Institute for Economics & Peace’s Global Peace Index 2011, with a score of 3.09. Only Somalia, Iraq, Sudan and Afghanistan are less peaceful.

Carbon dioxide emissions

North Korea ranks 44th on the world carbon emissions index (using 2009 figures from the Energy Information Administration), with a CO2 emissions level of 79.55m tonnes (3.51 tonnes per capita). That’s an increase of 14.3% year on year, the 14th highest (a rapid increase is an indicator of economic growth).


The North Korean football team scored one goal in the 2010 World Cup (though that was against Brazil), conceded 12 goals and received two yellow cards. They didn’t make it beyond the group stage.

Han: The Price of Freedom

Late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died ‘in a fit of rage’ over damages at crucial power plant project: report

North Korean Spring? Defector Predicts Possible Insurgent Violence Brewing

U.S. Intelligence Chief ‘Very Concerned’ on North Korea

Rodman’s North Korea tour amuses elites at expense of starving poor: White House

Avoiding Korean War Two

Tags: life in North Korea, North Korea, videos North Korea, photo gallery North Korea, fascism, socialism, Kim family dynasty North Korea