[KS] Re: Question RE Cemeteries in North Korea...

Andrei Lankov Andrei.Lankov at anu.edu.au
Fri Apr 9 20:59:31 EDT 1999

At 09:06 PM 4/9/99 -0700, you wrote:
>Dear Members,
>        I am a Ph.D student in Geography at UCLA, currently involved in a
>historical geography seminar in which we are looking at issues of
>commemoration, how memory is constructed through the built-environment.  We
>are having a lot of discussion on the "places of the dead."  I have worked
>on North Korea quite a bit, and of course I am familiar with material on
>such major sites as the Martyrs' Cemetery.  I also have encountered hearsay
>about overseas Koreans being taken to see what are ostensibly the graves of
>separated family members.  But I have never seen any papers on such issues
>as public cemeteries or the funeral industry in general.  Indeed, I had not
>ever thought about it until now.  Does anyone have any insights or
>        Sincerely,
>        Carol Medlicott
>        UCLA Department of Geography
>        cmedlico at ucla.edu

Dear Carol,

I used to live in NKorea for a year as a student in 1984-85, and lack of
ANY open information on 'funeral industry' was one of things I noticed
then. It looks like the official worldview pretends that death does not
exist, with a notable exception of Revolutionary Martyr's Heroic Death.
Then you could not find anything, apart of hearsay, on their real funeral
traditions. I would not speculate about the likely reasons of such an
approach (though I did speculate in one of my Russian language
publications). May be, the situation has changed recently, but then you had
to ask people, and very few were ready to discuss such subjects with a


Andrei Lankov

China and Korea Centre 
Faculty of Asian Studies 
Australian National University
ACT 0200

Fax: 02) 6249-3144


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