We binge-watched North Korean soap operas to learn more about Kim Jong Un's policy priorities and everyday life in the secretive kingdom. See it on VICE News Tonight, 7:30 on @hboRead More
Michel Martin asks North Korea expert Jean Lee, former Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert, and former COO for the U.S. Olympic Committee Lt. Gen. Wallace Gregson about behind-the-scenes diplomacy.Read More
“As a young man in his mid-30s, Kim Jong Un must woo the next generation if he’s to rule for decades to come,” Lee told Fox News. “Sports and technology — two things all young people love — are part of that equation.”Read More
"Snowboarding just doesn't have the same exposure there, and she doesn't have the same accomplishments yet as someone like Yuna Kim," says Jean Lee, a global fellow at the Wilson Center, who previously served as Associated Press bureau chief in Pyongyang, North Korea. "But she has the potential. If she goes home with a medal, and I think she probably will, she'll become a huge star in South Korea."Read More
Political experts say there is much to be learned from the warship crisis 50 years ago that brought the Korean peninsula to the brink of a second war.Read More
I was just on a snowboarding trip with Jean and downloaded her brain for two hours (look out for that in a future article). - Jada Yuan, the New York Times' world travelerRead More
Go inside the North Korean ski field where South Korea will join the North for Winter Olympics training. With photography by Jean H. Lee for Getty Images.Read More
Jean Lee (@newsjean) is a journalist and Global Fellow at the Wilson Center. She speaks with Here & Now's Robin Young about the Olympic detente that North and South Korea are negotiating, which is leading to a unified march during the PyeongChang Olympics opening ceremony next month, and a delegation of North Korean musicians and cheerleaders attending the games.Read More
The two Koreas met for the first time in years - to talk Olympics and more. It's just a first step - expect the North to want more, soon.Read More
The relationship between President Trump and Kim Jong Un made headlines again this past week. NPR's Michel Martin talks with North Korea expert Jean H. Lee, of the Wilson Center about how people on the Korean peninsula view the U.S.Read More
Beer and other goods have been part of a deliberate push by the government, say experts, to increase the number of consumer goods on North Korean store shelves, and to decrease their reliance on Chinese products.Read More
One of 2017's defining geopolitical slugfests was between heavyweight personalities President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
It was an international standoff that descended into personal name-calling, with Trump labeling Kim "little rocket man" and the U.S. president being described as an "old lunatic" and a "dotard" in return.
If the past year were one round in a boxing match, most analysts say there's only one winner.Read More
Leading experts on North Korea discuss the challenges surrounding North Korea's nuclear and missile capabilities. What does North Korea want, and what leverage does the U.S. have? How close to nuclear war are we?Read More
It's hard to know what exactly is going on in North Korea, but it is possible to get glimpses. Seasoned North Korea observer Jean Lee has looked at the evolution of television soap operas in the era of Kim Jong-Un. What gave her the idea?Read More
North Korean state media is often known for its bombast and fiery rhetoric. But spend some time watching North Korea’s televised dramas and soap operas, and you may be surprised to see that the country acknowledges some of its weaknesses, too.Read More
A group of women gossiping about the new neighbor. A feisty middle schooler using a homemade drone to prank his classmates. A young military officer seeking information from his past. These themes could be from any American TV show. But they are, in fact, storylines from a new wave of soap operas produced by the North Korean state.
Former AP journalist Jean Lee, now a Global Fellow at The Wilson Center, analyzed four of these North Korean soaps for a new research paper commissioned by KEI. In this episode of Korean Kontext, she discusses some of her observations, including a shift from emphasizing military service to emphasizing family ties and a focus on youth and the next generation of North Koreans - themes which may indicate some of Kim Jong-un's main domestic prioritiesRead More
This is the new face of propaganda in North Korea, says Jean Lee, a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. It’s softer and more subtle than the nightly news broadcasts, and more entertaining too, she said. “[North Koreans] are much more inclined to pay attention because they’re enjoying it.”Read More
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.Read More
In new research, Jean H. Lee described how Kim Jong Un's administration is creating made-for-TV dramas concentrated on youth and technology to appeal to the next generation of North Koreans.Read More