The Arirang Mass Games of North Korea

The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 46, No. 2, December 2013

46 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2016

Date Written: December 2013

Abstract

Technically speaking, Arirang is a visual and acoustic artistic and gymnastics performance that takes place in a large stadium. It is said to involve 100,000 participants who either perform on stage or as “pixels” in a large “living” screen, a human canvas on which various images and slogans are shown. I look at Arirang as part of my attempts at understanding the North Korean system through the lens of its own public statements, often referred to as propaganda. I will thus not discuss the aesthetics or explore how the mass games relegate the individual to the role of a tiny piece in large machinery, how they suppress individuality and show that usefulness is only in the group. I will not try to discover parallels to Neo-Confucian ideals of loyalty and filial piety. I also regard the nationalist content of Arirang as obvious and do not present it as a finding.

Keywords: Korea (North and/or South), North Korea (politics and society), North Korea, North Korean Studies

Suggested Citation

Frank, Ruediger, The Arirang Mass Games of North Korea (December 2013). The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 46, No. 2, December 2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2881258

Ruediger Frank (Contact Author)

University of Vienna ( email )

Spitalgasse 2, 2.3
Vienna, Vienna 1090
Austria

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