North Korea


A year before the establishment of North Korea in 1948, the government of the then Soviet-controlled sector of Korea adopted a new anthem (the one in use at that time was the anthem of South Korea with its former melody of the Scottish tune “Auld Lang Syne”). Unlike most North Korean patriotic songs, the anthem does not mention either the ruling party or the founder of the nation. The title of the anthem is also the same as South Korea’s (as well as that of the predecessor to the Koreas, the Korean Empire), and the music is somewhat similar to the South Korean one as well. There has also been a “united Korean anthem” created by blending the melodies of the anthems of North and South Korea seamlessly, used by some to promote Korean re-unification.

There also exists a patriotic song, “Song of General Kim Il Sung” which, while not the official national anthem of the country, is a very popular patriotic song and, unlike the national anthem, does reference the ruling family and founder of the country, and thus is used more in the country as part of the government’s mission to spread information about the founder of North Korea to its citizens. As such, it is taught in schools and played at public gatherings more frequently than the national anthem is.

Special thanks to: Jo Hyo-roe for the sheet music.