To understand more about what North Koreans are watching and what the government wants them to think, we arranged a screening with Jean Lee, who became an expert in North Korean television when she worked as a journalist in Pyongyang.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