15 Bizarre Facts about North Korea

Facts about North Korea

North Korea is famous for many things, from nuclear powers to weird customs and leaders. Here is a list of some of the most fascinating yet frightening facts about the isolationist country.


1. North Korea uses a different dating system.

While the rest of the world is in the Year 2021, North Koreans use the Juche Calendar and are in the year 110. Although not adopted until 1997, The Juche Calendar begins at the birth of the first founder, in 1912, which is counted as Year 0. 


2. Highest number of military personnel.

Despite being a relatively small country, North Korea boasts of the highest number of men and women in their military workforce. In terms of the strength of their active-duty personnel, they are ranked fourth in the world.


3. Taekwondo, now an Olympic sports game, originated from North Korea. While China and Japan boast of Kung Fu and Karate respectively, the art of elaborate kicking techniques belongs to the Koreans.


4 Caste System

North Koreans are divided into three based on their status in society: Tomatoes, Apples, and Grapes. 

That's right, and it's named after fruits for some reason. Red is the color of Communism, so as tomatoes are red outside and inside, the term is for those of high status. Politicians and high-ranking military personnel make up this elite class.

Next are the Apples. Red apples are red on the outside, but not on the inside, so the term is for the common civilians.

Coming last are the Grapes, who are the delinquents and the lawbreakers of the society. Certain rights are available for the Tomatoes; rights which the Apples and Grapes may not enjoy.


5. Tunnels into South Korea

Everyone knows of the eternal discord that exists between the two countries of North and South Korea. Presently, both countries have ceased fire, and for the time being, no direct act of war is allowed from any of the two.

Even so, South Korea has discovered 4 tunnels that the North Koreans have dug into their country. These tunnels are so big that they can easily accommodate 30,000 soldiers and transport them all the way to the South in little time. It is believed that there are 20 more of these tunnels.

When asked about this obvious violation of the rule, North Korea claimed the tunnels were for mining coal, even though there was no coal in the area.



6. Kim Dynasty

North Korea is ruled by the Kim Family, which is the ruling family. The role of president has been passed down from father to son over three generations now.

The most ridiculously absurd thing about them is the biographies written for the two past leaders. It is published in North Korea that the founder, Kim Jong Il walked when he was three weeks old, and could drive a car by the time he was 3. What's more, he had the power to change the weather conditions based on his moods.


7. North Korean elections.

Funny enough, North Korea holds periodic elections, once in five years. The funny part is that only one candidate contests for the election, who is no doubt the well-known Kim Jong Un. 


8. North Korea has only three TV channels.

The government controls the media fully, and as such, they're only three TV channels, which of course only display shows about government propaganda and patriotism to North Korea. 

At a point, the government kidnapped a South Korean movie director and made him make rip-offs of popular conventional movies like Godzilla, using Korean style and surely, advocating North Korean policies.


9. Internet access.

Have you ever chatted with anyone from North Korea? Certainly not.

The country has a very limited number of websites and IP addresses, and the information network is governed and strictly monitored by the country. What's more, you need to have a license before owning a computer. 


10. Limited number of haircuts.

As men, you can only choose one of the 10 approved haircuts, and as women, you may choose from 18 approved haircuts. Disobedience is seriously punished.


11. Jeans are prohibited.

You can't just walk about in Jeans and expect not to be duly prosecuted. It is believed in North Korea that Jeans are symbols of American style, and as such are strictly banned.


12. There Generation Punishment

Perhaps the most bizarre rule is the policy of three-generation punishment. Under this policy, you could be jailed in a brutal labor camp for a crime committed by your grandfather or your nephew. 

Imagine spending years in a labor camp because your cousin put on Jeans.


13. Principle of Self Reliance.

North Korea is governed by the Juche Principle, which emphasizes the importance of self-reliance. In that way, North Korea does not seek assistance or engage in any mutual relationship with any foreign country.



14. Poverty and Corruption in North Korea.

Yes, many parts of North Korea are drowning in poverty, and have suffered many famines, owing to the lack of enough natural resources in the country. Admittedly, the nation has a 99% literacy rate, which is quite an achievement.


15. Death penalties.

Like many other countries, death penalties are still in use in North Korea.

Yet North Korea remains unique, in that it can exact death penalties for even crimes considered minor by the rest of the world.

Such crimes that have resulted in death penalties include defecting and the possession of the bible.


This brings us to the end of this list of bizarre facts about North Korea. You could go on and on, but let's take a break here.