Probably the world’s first report on mobile phones in North Korea(in 2010)

When I visited North Korea about four years ago, about 40% of the people in Pyongyang were using mobile phones.

How would they use the phone?

Well, it’s quite the same way we use it in the world.

The way I received the screenshots of the emails are written on “Weekly SPA!” (2010/12/14 edition).

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I can’t show you all of what was going on….but here is what is was like.


Me: I’m interested in what kind of mails you send to each other in North Korea. Would you mind showing me some?

Women : No problem. I’ll ask my friend to text me. (calls man on the phone)

Me: (Speaks to man on the phone) Sorry, could you send something to her?

Man: Sure.


A few minutes passed but nothing came so we called the man again.


Man: Huh? I’ve already sent “strongly”,it three times!! Check again!

And then we received a fancy mail like this.

IMG_08211 - コピー (2)


It was somewhat like ASCII Art saying “Aja Aja Fighting!” or whatever and they were slangs that were used in South Korea.

I was surprised by this.


This is probably the first coverage of a screenshot from a mobile phone in North Korea.

I wrote about this in “Tantei Files” too.

I also wrote this in “Shu-kan Tai-shu EX” and posted pictures in “Tokyo Newspaper”.


These mails with graphics were shown to me from a nurse when I was ill in North Korea.She was 24 and she had a boy friend.She was shy at first, but my tour guide shouted to her “Come on! Just show it to us!” and she finally did….only for a little while.

#SCF1282 #SCF1280

Back then, the fees for the phones had to be prepaid with this card.

DSCF0953 DSCF0951


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