For most of the world it’s 2017, but for North Korea, it’s currently the year 106.
Because the country follows what’s called the JUCHE CALENDAR.
Yes, Juche not Julian calendar.
Juche calendar starts with the birth of the north Korean leader Kim IL-sung.
This is not the only way how North Korea is isolated from the world, its population of an estimated 25 million doesn’t have any direct contact with the world, in short, no foreign TV, ISD calls and the Internet. And they cannot leave the country without the state’s permission.
But why is it like this?
These isolation loving sentiments goes back till 7th century, long before the Kim Dynasty (The present rulers) or even North Korea was even a country.
It all started in china, whose culture had a strong impact on the small peninsula of Korea. At that time China was ushering in a new era of isolation, closing its borders to any and all foreign connections, and trade and also restricting its own citizens to go abroad.
Why, You ask?
Well blame Japanese raids for all these and also the new philosophical changes called Neo-CONFUCIANISM. It strongly advocated for ETHNOCENTRISM and RECLUSIVENESS.
In the 19th century, European traders reached out to Korean peninsula for trade but no success.Around the year 1866, an American ship attempted to forge trade ties, but was refused but the locals. In response Americans took the local officials hostage and triggering a bloody massacre, killing many on both sides.
Not so Nobel America after all.
Some years, later the French attempted to invade, Korea, which was fended off by the locals bravely.
So, The Korean leaders concluded, outside world is bad and thus all connections and influences should be restricted.
As one of the few places in the world free from western influence Korea earned its nickname the “HERMIT KINGDOM”.
Cut to Post World War 2
A Korea is now split in two. The south kora more open and liberal is now open to foreign influence where the North is still sticking to its old beliefs, cultures, and tradition and sticks with its ideas of isolations.
North Korea’s First leader Kim Il-Sung, went on to develop a new isolationist ideology, which was loosely based on communism, called Juche literal translation “Self-Reliance”.The idea was simple, North Korea should be Economical, Politically and Militarily independent while keeping a high degree of National Pride.Apart from this, a number of world events closed North Korea even Further like the collapse of its principal ally Soviet Union in 1991 or Chinese increasing closeness to America.
All these, forced Korean leader Kim Jong IL, to withdraw from the global community rather than compromise.
But after Centuries of Isolation Current leader Kim has loosened North Korea’s Isolative stands a bit, even though TV, ISD, and internet are restricted, But Some part of North Korea is open to foreign tourism. Even though under strict supervision and a foreign newspaper outlet recently opened its Bureau in North Korea.
Maybe these are the winds of change in North Korea, but it will take a million years to end North Korea’s total reclusion, or a revolution or a foreign invasion.
But in light of its history, the country is not likely to change anytime soon.