KEI: Press Release | Soap Operas and Socialism: Dissecting Kim Jong-un’s Evolving Policy Priorities through TV Dramas in North Korea

Nov. 30, 2017 | Washington, DC

The Korea Economic Institute of America published today a new analysis by Jean Lee, a journalist and veteran North Korea watcher who opened the AP’s Pyongyang bureau, focused on how North Korean soap operas can shed light on Kim Jong Un’s policy priorities. For her study, Lee analyzed four North Korean TV dramas that aired from 2013 to 2016. She used the dramas to tease out details of what these dramas can tell us about North Korean thinking, and what the regime wants the general populace to focus on in their daily lives. Things like clothing choices, apartment decorations, and career choices that are seen in the dramas shed light on how Kim Jong Un sets domestic priorities in North Korea.

Please find below some quotes from Lee’s presentation today at KEI. You can view the video of her presentation, including several clips from these North Korean shows, by clicking here. You can read her full paper by clicking here.

Please contact KEI Communications Director Jenna Gibson at jg@keia.org for more information.