Visual Specificity of the Pyongyang Landscape - Perspectives of North Korea Tourism -

서구권의 북한 관광을 통해 본 평양 경관의 시각적 특수성

  • Ahn, Jin-hee (Interdisciplinary Program in Landscape Architecture, Seoul National University) ;
  • Pae, Jeong-Hann (Dept. of Landscape Architecture and Rural Systems Engineering, Seoul National University)
  • 안진희 (서울대학교 협동과정 조경학) ;
  • 배정한 (서울대학교 조경.지역시스템공학부)
  • Received : 2016.06.20
  • Accepted : 2016.08.16
  • Published : 2016.08.31


In what way is the urban landscape of North Korea used today, and what features do people prefer in the North Korean landscape? This study analyzed the characteristics of Pyongyang landscapes and their effects, based on an analysis of Western tourists motivation for tourism in North Korea and preferred enjoyment-seeking experiences. Using data from the tourist agency specializing in Western tourism in North Korea and a location based photo-sharing service, the study interprets the visual distinctiveness of Pyongyang landscape. The study concluded that widely known risk to travelers in North Korea is in fact an attraction, making people want to visit directly. However, this risk was mitigated in practical experience by the overall intermediation of the tourism agency and locals' conscious behavior to keep their distance from foreigners. Next, the scope of National ritual attributes was expanded to the locals' daily life as well as large-scale events such as mass games and military parades only if for national holidays. Also, the most preferred factors contributing to North Korean tourism were based on departure from routine through mobilization of the residents. This indicates the extension that the nature of North Korea as a theater state. The Pyongyang landscape represents a world politically isolated, people's congregated motion to display to the world, and people's lives hidden beneath a veil. These visualities fulfill the fantasy of Westerners regarding North Korea. Furthermore, these are superficial images that help create a basis to maintain the North Korea regime.


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