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The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See…
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The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters (original 2010; edition 2010)

by B.R. Myers (Author)

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258979,820 (3.84)9
Much hearsay surrounds North Korea and the intentions of Kim Jong-il. But B.R. Myers, an analyst of North Korean politics, argues that much of this knowledge' is wrong, maintaining that there is more discourse on North Korea's nuclear programme than on the motivation behind it. Drawing on decades worth of research on Worker's Party ideology and propaganda, Myers shows how Kim Jong-il's regime is guided by a paranoid, race-based nationalism with roots in Japanese fascist thought.'… (more)
Member:tatuahponen
Title:The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters
Authors:B.R. Myers (Author)
Info:Melville House (2010), Edition: 1St Edition, 208 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters by B. R. Myers (2010)

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I'm fascinated by North Korea. Unlike most of the other stuff I've read about the DPRK, this book attempts to paint a full picture of the Text -- Myer's term for the official story of Korean history, the Kims, and their views of South Korea, the US, and the rest of the world. Myer's is very direct: North Korea is not like Stalinist Russia, the former Soviet Eastern Bloc, or Nazi Germany. It's something very distinct that can only be understood by understanding what North Koreans believe about themselves. Myer's book is very well written and very easy to absorb. Fascinating stuff. ( )
  chasing | Jan 18, 2016 |
The Cleanest Race is a new and much-needed assessment of North Korea and its domestic propaganda. The domestic propaganda, which focuses on race-based nationalism - namely that the Korean people are the purest and cleanest race, but their naïveté and child-like innocence requires a parental figure to lead them: that is the Kim family - is analysed and each of the regime's myths official myths are outlined.

Myers explains that North Korea is not a hard-line Stalinist bastion nor a Confucian patriarchy gone wrong, but rather a far-right, nationalist, paranoid state which draws heavily from wartime Japanese fascist thought. This therefore forces the reader to reassess North Korea on the international stage and Myers convincingly argues that North Korea cannot be bullied into giving up its nuclear weapons' programme. This argument alone merits its reading by anyone interested in North Korea and its affairs.

The Cleanest Race is concise but well-researched: Myers draws on numerous North Korean domestic propaganda works from art to novels to illustrate his point. This book explains for the first time how North Koreans perceive themselves vis-à-vis the rest of the world and will be an important tool in further understanding the country and its government. ( )
  xuebi | May 30, 2014 |
Anyone who has any interest in or responsibility for Korean affairs should read this succinct, very insightful book. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
A fascinating premise rendered unpleasant to read by the author's asides. Interesting ideas, the flow of which is frequently interrupted by the Myers's compulsion to snarl at, bite, and cast aspersions upon others who have studied North Korea and its beliefs. I'd teach with it, but I don't want my students to think that this is an acceptable way to critique other academics. ( )
1 vote OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
A cultural/social analysis of North Korean myth-history and propaganda.

The underlying theme, taken from the title, is the portrayal of the Korean people as a 'clean' or 'pure' race. They are simultaneously brilliant, precious, clean, and childlike, but they are also weak and infantile. Therefore, the need the protection of their Dear Maternal Leader. They lead the eternal struggle against the contamination and corruption of other races and the American imperialists, which are described as half-Jew, half-animal. The same contempt is reserved for the Japanese, whose imperial propaganda from the 1930s is copied for Kim's image.

The Kim clan is maternal as much as it is autocratic. In contrast to other dictatorial figures, which intend to be a rough Fatherly figure providing guidance, the members of the Kim clan are portrayed as being nurturing, kind, and listening. Their live is not strong, but all-encompassing, like a mother's love. The state's propaganda is aimed at perpetuating this image. Their love is strong and pure, they are the archetype and the highest example of Korean-ness which North Korea has to offer. This sort of idea is comforting, despite all evidence of the government's domestic abuse.

Another contradiction is the North's portrayal of their Southern relatives. At times, they are idealists and innocent people who had the misfortune of being imprisoned by the Imperialists, and shameless whores.

An interesting look at the prism of North Korean ideas. I'd like to see what the author now thinks of Kim III's propaganda. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Much hearsay surrounds North Korea and the intentions of Kim Jong-il. But B.R. Myers, an analyst of North Korean politics, argues that much of this knowledge' is wrong, maintaining that there is more discourse on North Korea's nuclear programme than on the motivation behind it. Drawing on decades worth of research on Worker's Party ideology and propaganda, Myers shows how Kim Jong-il's regime is guided by a paranoid, race-based nationalism with roots in Japanese fascist thought.'

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