DPRK: The Logic of the Juche Calendar

The Patriarch Founder of the DPRK – Kim Il Sung – was born 1912. The Soviet Union assisted Kim Il Sung in founding the DPRK on September 9th, 1948. Like the USSR, the DPRK adopted the Gregorian Calendar. On September 9th, 1997, the DPRK instigated the ‘Juche Calendar’ (Korean: ‘주체연호’ – Ju Che Yeon Ho) – which marked the origin of the Juche ideology with the birth of its founder – Kim Il Sung – namely ‘1912’. This developed had been discussed for a number of years within the Korean Workers’ Party. It was first suggested by former Foreign Minister Choi Duk- sin in a letter to Kim Il Sung in 1988, although the idea had been informally discussed since 1986. Following the passing of Kim Il Sung ion the 8.7.1994, the idea took on a greater strength and was met with general agreement. As a means to continuously remember the founder of the North Korean State, his victory over US aggression, and his ability to build a Socialist State with Korean characteristics, it was thought a progressive move for the DPRK to instigate a dual-calendar system. The Juche Calendar begins with 1912 being ‘Year 1’. Given that Kim Il Sung was born on the 15.4.1912, and that the DPRK was founded on the 9.9.1948 (‘Year 37’ of the Juche Calendar), the year 1997 was designated ‘Year 86’ of the Juche Calendar. The Juche Calendar exists side by side with the Gregorian Calendar, but is considered more important. In the DPRK today, the date would be written like this: Juche 108 (2019).

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