North Korea’s Culture of Commemoration

  • Heonik Kwon
Part of the Global Diversities book series (GLODIV)


The cemeteries of fallen soldiers, together with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, are important material and symbolic objects in the history of modern political life. In most cases, these sites of memory are regarded as an emblematic object that represents the authority and integrity of the nation-state. This is evident not only in Europe and North America, but also in many parts of the non-Western, postcolonial world. The same is true in revolutionary postcolonial societies such as postwar Vietnam. After the war against America was over in 1975, Vietnam’s state authority sought to bring the confused central and southern regions into the fold of national unity by advancing the commemoration of revolutionary war martyrs as a principal civic duty. Its effort, in fact, went well beyond those of earlier European exemplars and brought the cemeteries of fallen soldiers and memorials dedicated to their memory to the center of postwar communal ritual lives and the village moral landscape.


Mass Grave Filial Piety National Memory Armed Struggle Supreme Leader 
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© Heonik Kwon 2015

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  • Heonik Kwon

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