Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Anti-Americana: Take That, Redux

As it has done regularly since the 1950s, the DPRK (North Korea) has issued a new propaganda postage stamp depicting Korean resistance to US aggression. In the familiar "Take That" tableaux used on dozens of similar North Korean images, a soldier in a helmet labelled "US" cringes with his nuclear weapons in the corner of the design, while an angry Korean soldier towers above him. While previous images have shown workers with sledgehammers or clubs, or soldiers with bayonets, this one shows a soldier gripping the barrel of his rifle about to slam the unlucky American with the gun's stock.

I'm guessing the design is based on a a street poster, but I'm not sure, and sadly I don't read Korean so I can't guess at what specifically the slogans on the images say. The release of these stamps obviously corresponds to the current heightened tension between the DPRK and the United States.

Similarly-themed DPRK stamps from 1971 and 1969
Click on the "stamps" link here to see many more examples of how postage stamps have been transformed into tiny propaganda statements.  Here's two more from decades past.

Previous propaganda poster issue from 2010

In 2010 the DPRK reminded us not only of resistance to US imperialism (right) but also the long history of resistance to Japanese imperialism (left). It's not widely remembered here, but Japan colonized Korea in 1905, doing its utmost to destroy indigenous Korean culture and turn Korea into a source of cheap labor for the rising Japanese military-industrial complex. Though Korean communist forces and the Russian Army brought an end to Japanese occupation in 1945, many have accused Japan of continuing to cast a covetous eye on the peninsula.

Click on the images to see them larger. For more in the "Anti-Americana" series of propaganda images click here.

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