Juche philosophy, the reigning ideology of North Korea, has governed the country for over half a century. All realms, including politics, economy, society and culture, in North Korea are ruled by Juche philosophy. North Korean music has also been strongly influenced by the philosophy. It is regarded as a perfect tool to indoctrinate the philosophy to the public.
This study aims to interrogate how North Korean music has been transformed under Juche philosophy and the perception of the North Korean governors about music, by examining the political platforms and rules set by the North Korean government for musicians and music associations and the specific features in the music that can be identified as being influenced by the Juche philosophy. Although the dissertation restates much of the existing research on the topic, it is one of the first academic works that provides with the detailed analysis on North Korean music (specifically the Moranbong band) of the current Kim regime.
The Revolutionary Opera Sea of Blood and the Moranbong band embody Juche philosophy. Sea of Blood is one of the most representative musical pieces created during the Il-Sung Kim and Jung-Il Kim regimes. The opera contains an anti-Japanese plot and emphasises the autonomous (Juche) spirit and socialism. The Moranbong band has played the role of spokesman for the Jung-Eun Kim regime. All the reaction of the North Korean government against internal and external political issues is shown in concerts of the band. It is no exaggeration to say that all the arias and songs performed in the opera and the band concerts contain political messages. In this dissertation, the musical structure and characteristics of the opera and the band are thoroughly analysed to illustrate the relationship between North Korean music and Juche philosophy.
Dissertation (MMus)--University of Pretoria, 2016.