What North Koreans think about us in Japan

There was some news about government-to- government talks between Japan and North Korea lately.

Some veteran journalists say that this is for giving pressure to South Korea. When we see things moving going on in the outside (such as Megumi Yokota’s parents meeting their grand daughter in Mongol , and the disposal of  a property from the General Association of Korean Residents), it means that there are a lot of negotiations being held in the inside, and I think that is better than nothing happening.


That’s what is happening in North Korea right now,

but today, I would like to talk about,

“What North Koreans think about Japan and the Japanese people.”

I hope my experiences can be used as reference.


As you may know, the language of North Korea uses unique expressions to criticize enemies.

The style is really inimitable and the phrase “pitiless” has permeated throughout Japan.

The Japanese government and politicians have been damned many times and it is obvious that North Korea has an impression as an anti-Japanese nation, disregarding the abduction issues.


From a linguistic point of view, I think things are a little different.

I major in comparative linguistics and the language of North Korea. I have written and received awards writing essays in Korean so I must say I know the language quite well.

I couldn’t plagiarize since no one has written about it and so I envy Ms. Obokata…haha…


Language is a reflection of cultural background and morphosis, and so words and sentences differ according to languages, even if they had the same kind of meanings.

In North Korean stylistics, it’s very important to create a strong expression to express one’s feelings, and I have had a lot of training in classes back then.

(I think there are some mistakes in the tone for translation of news about politics between Japan and South Korea. That’s maybe some of the reasons why the two countries are sometimes misunderstanding each other.)


I maybe exaggerating but all of that is just “Hello to the people of the Japanese government!”


I remember a man from the Japanese government saying, “I hate the words on the Rodong Sinmun. It always irritates me!”

I told him about this and he accepted it with a bad grace.


Let’s go back to the story,

I was speaking to a man in Pyongyang and he spoke these words…

“So, how are the Japanese fools?”

You might think that’s anti-Japanese…but that maybe jumping to conclusions.


I thought, maybe I should talk about Japan in a bad way, and they would feel good. I started to talk about how the Japanese politicians were stupid, and about the increasing taxes, and how people aren’t getting married, and so on….explaining all the negatives things about Japan. (sorry to the people of Japan)


I probably talked about it for ten minutes.

What I heard back from them was surprising.


North Koreans : “What were you talking about again?”


Everyone there was watching TV, and no one had interest in what I was speaking.


Me : “Well, what I was saying was that in Japan…..”

North Korean : “Oh…”


He was the one who asked me about Japan but he wasn’t listening at all.


I saw what was going on.


“They had no interest in Japan (or they didn’t really understand anything about Japan)”


I’ve never seen any anti-Japanese feelings from these people. They love sushi, they eat Japanese pork cutlets and there are Bashō freaks as I have written before.

Probably the phrase “Japanese fools” was just a term without any meaning and so they had no intensions of criticism, and not everybody uses these words there.


I was exhausted but I decided to talk about South Korea.


Things changed.

The people turned the volume from the TV down, and all asked me “What did you say about South Korea?”

They all asked me about politics and the detail of life in South Korea in a fierce look.It was obvious that they had strong feelings and rivalry towards the South.They all understood that the economy was way better in the South, but some of the people didn’t want to admire it.They had some kind of a feeling, that they were the people who were supporting their country, and they had a strong pride about it.

They also seemed to hate China and the U.S. Even though the government is Pro-Chinese.

They had no interest in Japan itself, but there was a different strong “image of Japan” inside them.

A North Korean man speaks,

“I hate Chinese products. I don’t want to use South Korean products( probably the possibility of punishment), and so I love Japanese products.”


This is a North Korean TV program. Each local most excellent student competes for intellect.The champion can enter the entrance into a school of higher grade school in Pyongyang. But the winner was a student of Pyongyang

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