[KS] Answers about Pyongyang

Ruediger Frank ruediger.frank at univie.ac.at
Mon Sep 24 04:49:51 EDT 2012

Dear all,
I would add that the history museum in Hamhùng (located in a building that the East Germans helped erecting in the 1950s; with its yellow glazed wall tiles it resembles the simultaneously built Stalin Allee in Berlin) feels like a miniature copy of the history museum in PY. In other words, what we see there is not just a museum but the official version of history. At least visitiors are allowed to take photos there, unlike in the Party Foundation Museum or in the Fine Arts Gallery (they have a few really nice Kim Hongdo's there).  
As for the coffee shop, it is called "Ryòn'gwang Ch'ajip"; in English it is referred to as "Viennese Coffee House". It is part of a franchise called Sacher's Kaffee (founded 1929 in Vienna) and is run by a German who lives a few blocks away from me in Vienna's 19th district. I first met the gentleman at a trade fair in PY in 2010 and never thought he would be able to get the project off the ground, but he did although he had to struggle over the smallest things. The prices are hefty, yet one should consider the prime location and the fact that everything except labor is imported. I had my last melange there two weeks ago and can confirm that the quality is good. But the competition doesn't sleep, with dozens of new siktang and sangjòm (previously called pongsa sent'o; a combination of shop, restaurant, and sauna) seemingly having emerged in the past few months alone. PY is booming!
Rudiger Frank

on Montag, 24. September 2012 at 08:29 you wrote:

There may be some misunderstanding here. The Korean History Museum is now on Kim Il Sung Square, filling almost one entire side. I've been told on at least two visits that's what it is and was taken on a walk-through in July. It does not cover the Korean War and is not much about revolutionary struggle. Exhibits begin with archeological remains, birth of Tangun (of course!) and move through the millennia. At least that's what I saw when I visited for an hour or so, with minder, in July. I would have liked to have stayed longer, but that's how guided tours are. (Speaking of western-style resfaurants, a coffee shop on the corner almost next to the museum, nearest the river, offers Austrian -- or anyway European -- coffee and cake at Seoul-coffee-shop prices.)
Don Kirk

--- On Sun, 9/23/12, BJ <joinau at chollian.net> wrote:

From: BJ <joinau at chollian.net>
Subject: [KS] Answers about Pyongyang
To: "'Korean Studies Discussion List'" <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
Date: Sunday, September 23, 2012, 12:22 PM

Dear List members,
I’d like once again to thank you all for your many answers to my questions about Pyongyang. 
Since they came in many posts, sometimes in private messages and could be of interest for some members, I have listed them below. 
Please note that these informations are mostly indicative and are often hypothetical. Just pieces of a puzzle… 
Questions about Pyongyang 
1.       Korean Central History Museum : it used to be on Moran Hill before 1977 (it is said to have opened there in 1945). Where was it located ? è Called “State Museum of History”, it was located on Moral Hill close to Ulmil Pavillion up to 1977. 
2.       It was closed for renovation until recently. Has it reopened? è Yes – date of reopening unknown (was it really closed for renovation? That’s what I had been told in 2009). 
3.       Korean Revolution Museum : before being behind the Grand Monument of Mansudae (1972), where was it located? It was supposed to be founded in 1948 under the name of Central State Museum of the Liberation Fight (I translate from French). è  The National Central Museum of the Liberation Struggle was set up on August 1, 1948. It was renamed the Korean Revolution Museum in January 1961 and placed on Kim Il Sung Square. (It is not sure where it was located before that). 
4.       The Korea Art Gallery had been closed for “renovations” for years. When has it reopened? (If it has). Was it opened first in 1954 or 1960? è It reopened after renovations in 2010. 
5.       Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum : it is said to have opened initially in August 1953, but before being rebuilt in its actual location in 1974, where was it located? è It was located on Haebangsan, in what is now the Party area. 
6.       Chris Springer says that the Three-Revolutions Exhibition opened in 1993 (I have 1992 in another source…), on the site of a former “exhibition”. Does anybody know what kind of exhibition it was ? è The former exhibition was the "Exhibition of Achievements of Socialist Construction." 
7.       Was the USS Pueblo moved from Wonsan to Pyongyang in 1999? (I found different dates). è Moved from Wonsan in 1999, moved back temporarily in 2002, and then back again to Pyongyang. 
8.       Does anybody know where are located the fast food restaurant, the new Italian restaurant and the micro-brewery? è There are two "fast food" restaurants -- though there are five known establishments in Pyongyang in which you can get a hamburger (if you count Air Koryo). There are also two Italian restaurants. There at least 5 different beer breweries. 
9.       Does anybody know the date of construction of Mansudae Art Studio? And why it was named this way despite the fact that it is not in Mansudae area? è Created in 1959; location  unknown. “Their signature project is the Mansudae Grand Monument, the huge statue of Kim Il Sung” (C. Springer) : the reason for the name? (although the Grand Monument was opened in 1972…) 
10.   When was the Kim Il Sung Stadium first built (before the extensions and renovations of the 1970’s and 1980’s, when it was still called the Moranbong Stadium)? è rebuilt in 1954, on a previous sports field. 
11.   From when the site of Anhak palace in Taesong area has been “discovered” and opened to the public? è excavations took place under KIS. Apparently not opened to the public. 
12.   When did the so-called mausoleum or tomb of Tangun open to the public: 1993 or 1994? è 11th October 1994. 
New reference: 
Roger Mateos Miret with Jelena Prokopljevic: Corea del Norte, Utopía de hormigón. Arquitectura y urbanismo al servicio de una ideología. Brenes, Spain 2012 (Munoz Moya Editores). (thanks to Prof. Dege). 
For information, since I didn’t explain at first the reason of my questions: 
I have just worked on a diachronic reading of the imaginary of Pyongyang's urban planning and the way the ideology and the regime’s mythology are staged in the city itself (what I call a “topo-mythanalysis“). It was the first part of a research about the regimes of visibility in cities (comparison Pyongyang-Seoul). The article about the topo-mythanalysis has been written and translated, it will be presented at the World Conference of Korean Studies in Seoul this week. My approach follows a cultural anthropology methodology (Durand). The article has been published in French in the journal Croisements (April 2012) and will hopefully be published next year in English. 
Benjamin JOINAU 
Yongsan-gu Itaewon-dong 119-28 
140-200 Seoul, South Korea 
Tel/fax : (822) 795-2465 
Cell phone : (82) 10-8905-0696 
E-mail : joinau at chollian.net 
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