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Choson Mindshudshuy Inmin Konghwaguk       

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea



After the surrender of Japan on 16 August 1945, the Soviet Union installed Kim Il-Sung in September 1945 as head of the Provisional People’s Committee. He was not, at this time, the head of the Communist Party, whose headquarters were in Seoul in the U.S.-occupied south.

Kim established a professional army, the Korean People's Army (KPA) aligned with the Communists, formed from a cadre of guerrillas and former soldiers who had gained combat experience in battles against the Japanese and later Nationalist Chinese troops. From their ranks, using Soviet advisers and equipment, Kim constructed a large army skilled in infiltration tactics and guerrilla warfare.

Although original plans called for all-Korean elections sponsored by the United Nations in 1948, Kim persuaded the Soviets not to allow the UN north of the 38th parallel. As a result, a month after the Republic of Korea was granted independence on 15 August 1948, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) was proclaimed on 9 September, with Kim as premier. On October 12, the Soviet Union declared that Kim's regime was the only lawful government on the peninsula. Attempts of Kim, backed by the KPA, to conquer the Syngman Rhee government in the south, resulted in a war which lasted until 1953 when the front was stabilized. After long negotiations both parties agreed to a border.


The national emblem is said to be a creation of Kim Il-Sung who, in January 1948 ordered that “The National Emblem must have the working class at its core and be based on the alliance between workers and farmers to consolidate the unity of the people, and must be drawn to clearly express powerful modern industry, advanced agriculture and development”. Also the emblem had to “Show the future wealth, power and prosperity of the New Korea by drawing our Hydroelectric plant”. A proposal to incorporate a picture of the Kyongbok palace of the Yi Dynasty in the emblem was rejected.


The national emblem was adopted on 9 September 1948, the day of the proclamation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, together with the flag.

Chapter IX, Art 101 of the Constitution about the national symbols reads:

The arms of state of  the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea consist of a garland of ears of rice tied with a ribbon. Below is written Djo-sun Mindju-dju-i In min gong-hoa-guk (in Han-gul script).

Within the garland of ears of rice is a naturalistic picture of a hydroelectric plant, in the upper part a red radiating five-pointed star.


The present 2009 redaction  reads:


Article 169. The national emblem of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea bears the design of a grand hydroelectric power station under Mt. Paektu, the sacred mountain of the revolution, and the beaming light of a five-pointed red star, with ears of rice forming an oval frame, bound with a red ribbon bearing the inscription “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”.


The hydroelectric plant is the Sup’ung Hydroelectric Plant located in the northwest in the Yalu river and built by the Japanese in 1937-‘41. It symbolizes ‘a powerful heavy industry, a selfreliant modern manufacturing industry and the working class’. The star symbolizes ‘the revolutionary tradition and the bright future of the Korean people’. The ears of rice ‘represent the unity of the farmers with the working class’.


Sup’ung Hydroelectric Plant


Presidents’ Flag


Personal flag of Kim Jong Il (1991/’94-2011)

as a supreme commander


Armed Forces









Air Force




* The number 4.25 refers to the date of the foundation of the KPA: 25 April 1948. [1]




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© Hubert de Vries 2012-01-16


[1] Information about the armed forces flags and emblems Wikipedia & other sites

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