[KS] Answers about Pyongyang

Jim Hoare jim at jhoare10.fsnet.co.uk
Mon Sep 24 07:22:32 EDT 2012

One point to note is that being told that such and such a place is ‘closed
for renovation’ does not necessarily mean that it is. It may mean that you
did not ask to see ion your original itinery or that somebody more important
is visiting. Both the Central History Museum, which is as Don Kirk describes
it, and the Art Gallery were open when I lived in Pyongyang 2001-2 but that
did not mean that one could always visit them.

BJ’s  list appears to imply  that the Pueblo was moved back to Wonsan in
2002. I do not think it was. It disappeared from its Taedong River moorings
just before US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly visited, but it was
back soon after he left and before I left on 15 October.

Jim Hoare



From: koreanstudies-bounces at koreaweb.ws
[mailto:koreanstudies-bounces at koreaweb.ws] On Behalf Of Ruediger Frank
Sent: 24 September 2012 09:50
To: Korean Studies Discussion List
Subject: Re: [KS] Answers about Pyongyang


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
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 ? ==>
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? ==>
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). ==>  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? ==>
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? ==> 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 ? ==> 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). ==> 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? ==> 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? ==> 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)? ==> 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? ==> 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? ==> 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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