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Korea, North

Democratic People's Republic of Korea East and Southeast Asia Pyongyang 24,851,627 inhabitants 120,538 sq km 206.17 inhabitants/sq km North Korean won (KPW) population evolution

Famous people from Korea, North

Here is a list of famous people from Korea, North. Curious if anybody from Korea, North made it our most famous people in the world list? Read the aformentioned article in order to find out.

Kim Jong-un


Kim Jong-un —also romanised as Kim Jong-eun, Kim Jong Un or Kim Jung-eun—is the supreme leader of North Korea, the son of Kim Jong-il and the grandson of Kim Il-sung. He has held the titles of the First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, First Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea, the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army, and also a presidium member of the Politburo of the Workers' Party of Korea. He was officially declared the supreme leader following the state funeral for his father on 28 December 2011. He is the third and youngest son of Kim Jong-il and his consort Ko Young-hee. From late 2010, Kim Jong-un was viewed as heir apparent to the leadership of the nation, and following his father's death, he was announced as the "Great Successor" by North Korean state television. At Kim Jong-il's memorial service, North Korean Chairman of the Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong-nam declared that "Respected Comrade Kim Jong-un is our party, military and country's supreme leader who inherits great comrade Kim Jong-il's ideology, leadership, character, virtues, grit and courage". On 30 December 2011, the Politburo of the Workers' Party of Korea formally appointed Kim as the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army. On 11 April 2012, the 4th Party Conference elected him to the newly created post of First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea.

Kim Il-sung


Kim Il-sung, also romanised as Kim Il Sung was the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly referred to as North Korea, from its establishment in 1948 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death. He was also the leader of the Workers' Party of Korea from 1949 to 1994. He invaded South Korea in 1950, and almost succeeded in overrunning the entire peninsula but for UN intervention. The Korean War, sometimes referred to as the Korean Civil War, was stopped with a cease-fire signed on July 27, 1953. As of now, the Korean War has technically not ended. His tenure as leader of North Korea has often been described as autocratic, and he established an all-pervasive cult of personality. From the mid-1960s, he promoted his self-developed Juche variant of socialist organisation, which later replaced Marxism-Leninism as the ideology of the state in 1972. In the Library of Congress Country Study on North Korea in 2009, he was described as "one of the most intriguing figures of the twentieth century". He outlived Joseph Stalin by four decades, Mao Zedong by two, and remained in power during the terms of office of six South Korean presidents, seven Soviet leaders, ten U.S. presidents, ten UK Prime Ministers, twenty-one Japanese prime ministers, five popes of the Roman Catholic Church and coincided with the entire apartheid era of South Africa.

Sun Myung Moon

Religious Leader

Sun Myung Moon was a Korean religious leader, business magnate and media mogul. A self-proclaimed messiah, Moon was the founder of the Unification Church and of its widely noted "Blessing" or mass wedding ceremony. Moon's extensive business interests included News World Communications, an international news media corporation which founded The Washington Times and owns other media in several countries, and Tongil Group, a South Korean business group active in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, tourism, and publishing. Born in what is now North Korea, Moon and his family converted to Christianity when he was a child. In 1954, he founded the Unification Church in Seoul, South Korea based on conservative, family-oriented teachings from new interpretations of the Bible. Moon outlined these principles in his book, Explanation of the Divine Principle. In the 1960s and 1970s, Moon was a leading figure in a wave of new religious movements that raised controversy on several issues. Followers, who were then sometimes called "Moonies", considered Moon their True Father while critics labeled him a cult leader. In 1982, he was found guilty of willfully filing false federal income tax returns in a controversial case.

Syngman Rhee


Syngman Rhee was the first president of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea as well as the first president of South Korea. When the way for the independence movement in the Japanese colonial period and the comments stood apart, he announced the domestic situation to foreign countries. His latter three-term presidency was strongly affected by Cold War tensions on the Korean peninsula. Rhee was regarded as an anti-Communist and a strongman, and he led South Korea through the Korean War. His presidency ended in resignation following popular protests against a disputed election. He died in exile in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is a 16th-generation descendant of Grand Prince Yangnyeong.

Lee Soon-jae


Lee Soon-jae is a South Korean actor. He has had a prolific career on the small and big screen spanning nearly six decades.

Taejo of Joseon


Taejo of Joseon, born Yi Seong-gye, whose changed name is Yi Dan, was the founder and the first king of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea, and the main figure in overthrowing the Goryeo Dynasty. He was posthumously raised to the rank of Emperor in 1899 by Gojong, the Gwangmu Emperor, who had proclaimed the Korean Empire in 1897. Taejo's father Yi Ja-chun was a minor Mongol official, but his ethnicity was Korean. Taejo joined the Goryeo army and rose through the ranks, seizing the throne in 1392. He abdicated in 1398 during the strife between his sons and died in 1408.

Kim Jong-nam


Kim Jong-nam, is the eldest son of the late Kim Jong-il, former Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. From roughly 1998 to 2001, he was widely considered to be the heir apparent to his father and the next leader of North Korea. Following a much-publicized botched attempt to secretly enter Japan using a fake passport and visit Disneyland in May 2001, he was thought to have fallen out of favor with his father. Kim Jong-nam's younger paternal half-brother Kim Jong-un was named heir apparent in September 2010. In exile, Jong-nam has become known as a sometime critic of his family's regime and an advocate for reform.

An Jung-geun

Deceased Person

An Jung-geun or Ahn Jung-geun was a Korean independence activist, nationalist, and pan-Asianist. On October 26, 1909, he assassinated Itō Hirobumi, the first Prime Minister of Japan and then-Japanese Resident-General of Korea, following the signing of the Eulsa Treaty, with Korea on the verge of annexation by Japan.

Taejong of Joseon


King Taejong was the third king of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea and the father of King Sejong the Great.

Ri Sol-ju


Ri Sol-ju is the wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Kim Yong-nam


Kim Yong-nam is the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea, a position he has held since 1998. Previously he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1983 to 1998. He was elected a member of the Presidium of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in 2010. He was born in the Central District, Heijo, on February 4, 1928. After graduating from a university, he worked as a teacher at the central party School, vice-department director of the WPK Central Committee, vice-minister of foreign affairs, and first vice-department director, department director and secretary of the WPK Central Committee, vice-premier of the administration council and concurrently minister of Foreign Affairs. As chairman of the Presidium, he is considered the de facto head of state of North Korea. He is not de jure head of state of North Korea, as no such office exists. However, he accepts the credentials of ambassadors, signs treaties, receives visiting heads of state and represents North Korea on all state visits—the functions normally performed by a head of state in other countries. He has held this office since 5 September 1998.

Shin Young-kyun


Shin Young-kyun is a South Korean actor and film producer.

Han Myeong-sook


Han Myeong-sook was the Prime Minister of South Korea from April 2006 to March 2007. She is South Korea's first female prime minister. She was from the United New Democratic Party as a member of the Korean National Assembly for Ilsan-gab, and is a graduate of Ewha Womans University in Seoul with a degree in French literature. She resigned as Prime Minister on March 7, 2007 and declared her presidential candidacy on June 17, 2007, but did not win election. Since 15 January, Han has been leader of the main oppositional Democratic United Party

Jang Sung-taek


Jang Sung-taek, is a North Korean politician. He is married to Kim Kyong-hui, aunt of Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea. He is a leading figure in the North Korean government. In 2008, South Korean government officials and academic North Korea watchers suggested that he may have taken on de facto leadership over North Korea due to Kim Jong-il's ailing health, and later death. Jang is currently Vice-Chairman of the National Defence Commission, a position considered second only to that of the Supreme Leader. He is a four-star general and is thought to have been promoted to that position around the time of Kim Jong-il's death as his first appearance in uniform was while visiting Kim lying in state. Jang has been termed as Kim Jong-un's "key policy adviser".

Shin Sang-ok

Film Director

Shin Sang-ok was a prolific South Korean film producer and director, with more than 100 producer and 70 director credits. He is most famous for having been kidnapped by the previous North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, for the purpose of producing critically acclaimed films. He was born Shin Tae-seo: he later changed his name to Shin Sang-ok when he started working in films.

Hwang Jang-yop


Hwang Jang-yop was a North Korean politician who defected to South Korea in 1997, best known for being, to date, the highest-ranking North Korean defector. He was largely responsible for crafting Juche, North Korea's official state ideology.

Kim Hyon-hui


Kim Hyun-Hui, also known as Ok Hwa, is a former North Korean agent, responsible for the Korean Air Flight 858 bombing in 1987, which killed 115 people.

Seung Sahn


Seung Sahn Haeng Won Dae Soen-sa, born Dok-In Lee, was a South Korean Jogye Seon master and founder of the international Kwan Um School of Zen—the largest Zen institution present in the western hemisphere. He was the seventy-eighth teacher in his lineage. As one of the early Korean Zen masters to settle in the United States, he opened many temples and practice groups across the globe. He was known for his charismatic style and direct presentation of Zen, which was well tailored for the Western audience. Known by students for his many correspondences with them through letters, his utilization of Dharma combat, and expressions such as "only don't know" or "only go straight" in teachings, he was conferred the honorific title of Dae Soen Sa Nim in June 2004 by the Jogye order for a lifetime of achievements. Considered the highest honor to have bestowed upon one in the order, the title translates to mean Great honored Zen master. He died in November that year at Hwa Gae Sah in Seoul, South Korea, at age 77.

An Chang-ho


An Chang-ho, or Ahn Chang-ho was a Korean independence activist and one of the early leaders of the Korean-American immigrant community in the United States. He is also referred to as his pen name Dosan. He established the Shinminhoe when he returned to Korea from the US in 1907. It was the most important organization to fight the Japanese occupation of Korea. He established the Young Korean Academy in San Francisco in 1913 and was a key member in the founding of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in Shanghai in 1919. Ahn is one of two men believed to have written the lyrics of the Aegukga, the South Korean national anthem. Besides his work for the Independence Movement, Dosan wanted to reform the Korean people's character and the entire social system of Korea. Educational reform and modernizing schools were two key efforts of Dosan. He was the father of Philip Ahn and Susan Ahn Cuddy.

Kim Yong-Jun

Soccer Midfielder

Kim Yong-Jun is a North Korean international football player, who is currently playing for Pyongyang City.

Kim Jong-chul


Kim Jong-chul is the middle son of Kim Jong-il, the former leader of North Korea. His older half-brother is Kim Jong-nam. His younger brother is Kim Jong-un, now the leader of North Korea. In 2007, Jong-chul was appointed deputy chief of a leadership division of the Workers' Party. However, on January 15, 2009, the South Korean News Agency reported that Kim Jong-il appointed his youngest son, Jong-un, to be his successor, passing over Jong-nam and Jong-chul. These reports were supported in April 2009 when Kim Jong-un assumed a low-level position within the ruling Workers' Party of Korea as Kim Jong-il was groomed by his own father, Kim Il-sung, in a similar way before becoming North Korean leader in 1994.

Pak Pong-ju


Pak Pong-ju served as the Premier of North Korea since elected by the DPRK's Supreme People's Assembly on September 3, 2003, until April 11, 2007 and again since April 2013. Pak began his career in 1962 as manager of the Yongchon food factory in North Pyong'an Province. He became an alternative member of the ruling Korean Workers' Party Central Committee in October 1980, and chief of the Namhung Youth Chemical Combine Committee in July 1983. In May 1993, he became vice director of the KWP's Light Industries Department, and in March 1994, he was the vice director of the party's Economic Policy Supervisory Department. In July of that year, Pak ranked 188th out of 273 members on the funeral committee of the late leader Kim Il-sung, indicating that he was on the periphery of the elite hierarchy. However, in September 1998, he was appointed to the chemical-industries portfolio under premier Hong Song-nam, and replaced him five years later. In 2005, in a plenary session of the Supreme People's Assembly Pak said regarding the re-introducing of the Public Distribution System. Pak proposed an administrative solution to food distribution and labeled it the party’s position: "By all means, we must reach this year’s grain production targets by thoroughly implementing the party’s policy of agricultural revolution by fully concentrating and mobilizing the entire country’s efforts into the agricultural front".

Paik Sun-yup

Military Commander

Paik Sun-yup is a retired South Korean military officer. He served both Manchukuo and South Korea, the latter during the Korean War. Paik is known for his service during the Korean War and for being the first four-star general in the history of the South Korean military. His brother, Paik In-Yeop, also served in the Republic of Korea Army during the Korean War, commanding the 17th Independent Regiment at the Battle of Ongjin and again in the Inchon Landings.

Kim Jong-suk

Deceased Person

Kim Jong-suk, also Romanized as Kim Chŏng-suk, Gim Jeong-suk, Kim Jong Suk, Kim Jong-sook was a Korean anti-Japanese guerrilla, a Communist activist, North Korean leader Kim Il-sung’s first wife, former leader Kim Jong-il’s mother, and current leader Kim Jong-un's grandmother.

Sohn Kee-chung

Olympic athlete

Sohn Kee-Chung became the first medal-winning Korean Olympian, when he won the gold medal in the marathon at the 1936 Berlin Olympics as a member of the Japanese delegation. He competed under the Japanese name Son Kitei, as Korea was part of the Japanese Empire at the time. The name is based on the Japanese Kanji pronunciation of his Korean name.

Kim Yong-il


Kim Yong-il was the Premier of North Korea from April 2007 to 7 June 2010. He was elected as Premier by the 5th session of the 11th Supreme People's Assembly in April 2007, replacing Pak Pong-ju. He was then replaced by Choe Yong-rim after a rare parliamentary session on 7 June 2010. He served in the Korean People's Army from 1960 to 1969, and then graduated from the Rajin University of Marine Transport as a navigation officer. He worked as instructor and deputy director of a general bureau of the Ministry of Land and Marine Transport for 14 years. He was the Minister of Land and Marine Transport from 1994 until his election as Premier in 2007. He oversaw the construction of new facilities at the Ryongnam Ship Repair Factory near the western port of Nampo, at the mouth of the Taedong River. As Premier, Kim Yong-il was the head of government in the DPRK, which means he appointed ministers and vice-premiers, who were confirmed by the SPA, and he was also responsible for economic and domestic policy. Premier Kim’s first major speech at the anniversary of the state’s founding largely reinforced state ideology. However, on the economy, he carefully balanced demands for heavy industry with consumer goods, light industry, and agriculture: "We will firmly adhere to the socialist economic construction line of the military-first era and while developing the national defense industry first, we will vigorously ignite the flames of the agricultural revolution and the light industry revolution, thus the food problem and the issue of the people’s consumer goods should be smoothly resolved".

Ji Yun-Nam

Soccer Midfielder

Ji Yun-Nam is a North Korean international association football player, who currently plays for April 25 in the DPR Korea League.

Choi Yong-kun

Military Commander

Choi Yong-kun was the Korean People's Army commander-in-chief from 1948 to 1953 North Korean defence minister from 1953 to 1957, and the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea from 1957 to 1972. Choi Yong-kun was born in T'aech'ŏn County in North Pyongan, Korea, in 1900. After having attended two military academies, he fought in the Chinese Northern Expedition of 1927 and took part in the Canton Communist riots in December later that year. He led a guerrilla unit against the Japanese after they occupied Manchuria in September 1931. In August 1936, Choi became an officer in the Korean People's Revolutionary Army. In 1946, he became the chairman of the Korean Democratic Party and led this organization to a pro-communist course. Afterwards, he came into more promotions and by February 1948, he was appointed the commander-in-chief for all the armies of the Democratic Republic of Korea. He was in fact the senior field commander for all the North Korean armies during the Korean War, from the first invasion of South Korea in June 1950 till the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed in July 1953.

Kim Chaek

Military Commander

Kim Chaek was a North Korean general and politician. Born in Sŏngjin, Kim joined the guerrilla war against the Japanese occupation in 1927 and fought alongside Kim Il-sung in Manchuria. He joined the Korean People's Revolutionary Army in 1932. He defected to the Soviet Union to escape the Japanese conquest of the partisans in 1940. He lived in Khabarovsk where he met with Kim Il-Sung and formed the 88th Special Brigade. He returned to Korea along with the Soviet Army. He was appointed number 2 Committee Vice Chairman in the Korean Workers Party. Kim Chaek became industry minister and deputy prime minister under Kim Il-Sung in 1948. In the Korean War, he was commander of the North Korean troops on the front lines. Kim was purged when he was found responsible for the failure at the Incheon Landing. He died in January 1951. Some believe that his death was an assassination after a power struggle, and caused by gas poisoning rather than a heart attack as officially claimed.

Kim Han-sol


Kim Han-sol is the eldest son of Kim Jong-nam and the grandson of the former North Korean ruler, Kim Jong-il. His father was the heir-apparent until 2001, when he fell out of favor with the regime following a failed attempt to secretly visit Japan’s Disneyland in May 2001. His uncle, Kim Jong-un, was named the heir apparent in September 2010, and succeeded Kim Jong-il upon the latter's death in December 2011.

Chung Il-kwon

Military Commander

General Chung Il-kwon was a South Korean politician and solder, ambassador, and General during the Korean War. His penname was Chungsa. Chung was Foreign Minister 1963 to 1964, and Prime Minister of South Korea from 1964 to 1970. He was the Republic of Korea Ambassador to USA from 1960-1961 and 1962-1963. He was one of allies of President Park Chung-hee.

Kim Kyong-hui


General Kim Kyong-hui is the daughter of the former leader of North Korea, Kim Il-sung and his first wife Kim Jong-suk, and the sister of the late leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il. She currently serves as Secretary for Organisation of the Workers' Party of Korea. An important member of Kim Jong-il's inner circle of trusted friends and advisors, she was director of the WPK Light Industry Department from 1988 to 2012. Her husband is Jang Sung-taek.

Ryang Chun-Hwa

Olympic Weightlifter

Ryang Chun-Hwa is a North Korean weighlifter. She competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in the Women's 48 kg, winning the Bronze medal.

Ri Myung-Hun

Basketball Player

Ri Myung-Hun, also known as Michael Ri after his favorite basketball player Michael Jordan, was a former North Korean basketball player. He played the center position for the national basketball team of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Once proclaimed to be the tallest living human being in the world, he stands 7'8½" tall and once planned to play in the National Basketball Association in the 1990s. According to the Associated Press, he was "the world's tallest basketball player." In anticipation of joining the NBA, Ri worked out in Canada, where he was scouted by numerous teams. But he was unable to play in the league because of the U.S. ban on trade with North Korea, which is set forth in a piece of legislation called the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917. The US State Department permitted Ri to compete in the country in 2000, on the main condition that none of Ri's salary could be repatriated to North Korea. North Korean officials responded by refusing to let Ri leave. Ri was permitted to conduct an interview with CNN's Mike Chinoy in which he was quoted as saying, "I'm a big man. I want to test my ability. I am not interested in money or politics. As a sportsman, I just want to try." Eventually, Ri said he was content to remain playing basketball in the "bosom" of North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-il. In a game between mixed teams of players from North Korea and South Korea, Ri scored 26 points in 21 minutes, though his "dankyol" side lost 141–138.

Ahn Eak-tai


Ahn Eak-tai was a Korean classical composer and conductor. He conducted numerous major orchestras across Europe, including the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Rome Philharmonic Orchestra. Ahn composed the Aegukga, now the national anthem of South Korea, Korean Dance, Nongae, and the Symphonic Fantasy Korea. His unpublished works, some of which have been discovered recently, include Poema Synfonic ‘Mallorca, Lo Pi Formentor, and The Death of Emperor Gojong. Ahn Eak-tai was born in the northern part of the Korean peninsula just before the Colonial Era, and attended a school staffed by Catholic missionaries. There he developed an interest in music as he played a trumpet in the school orchestra. He received his higher education from the Kunitachi Music School in Japan, at the University of Cincinnati, and at the Curtis Institute of Music in the United States during the Great Depression. Ahn continued his study at Vienna under Bernhard Paumgartner, and under Zoltán Kodály at the Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary. Upon a second visit to Vienna, Ahn received assistance from Richard Strauss to bring Symphonic Fantasy Korea to near completion. Beginning with a concert in Budapest, Ahn spent the next five years conducting in Europe. The escalation of World War II brought Ahn to Spain, where he met Lolita Talavera, his future wife. After their marriage in 1946, the two moved to the United States, where Ahn conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra. Then, in 1955, Ahn returned to South Korea, and conducted the Seoul Philharmonic until his death.

Gwangjong of Goryeo

Deceased Person

Gwangjong, personal name Wang So, was the fourth king of Goryeo. He was known for squashing his political rivals and creating an atmosphere of fear within the political realm at the time. Goryeo met the time of change by ascending of Gwangjong. At his early stage as ruler, he maintained a passive attitude to nobles. However, he became more and more drastic. Choi Seung-Ro said that his regime can be divided into three parts. First is the period of groping. Second is the period of strengthening power, and the last is the period of purge.

Choi Chung-Min

Soccer Forward

Choi Chung-Min is a retired South Korean football player and football manager. He has played for the South Korea national team.

Dragon Lee


Dragon Lee, is an actor and practitioner of Taekwondo and Hapkido. His birth name is Moon Kyoung-seok but has been called Keo Ryong in South Korea. Soon after his birth, his family relocated to the former U.S.S.R where he was given the name Vyachaslev Yaksysnyi. His family remained there until Lee was a teenager after then they relocated to South Korea. After that he studied taekwondo with friend and actor Kim Tai Chung It was at this stage of his life that Lee began studying also the Korean martial art of hapkido under the direction of Hwang In-Shik. Once Lee was in a theater, a man told him he resembled Bruce Lee. That was a big compliment because Bruce Lee was popular at the time. That man knew film directors in Hong Kong and helped him with his career. In his early 20s, Dragon Lee moved to Hong Kong and starred in numerous martial arts films, often credited as Bruce Lei because he bore a striking resemblance to actor Bruce Lee. Among his many film credits is the semi-documentary The Real Bruce Lee. Dragon Lee moved back to Seoul, South Korea, and is a television actor and producer.

Choe Yong-rim


Choe Yong-rim was the Premier of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from June 2011 to April 2013 and Workers' Party of Korea central committee presidium member since September 2010. He has been described by the New York Times as a "KWP insider" and a "friend of Kim Jong-Il's family." He is honorary vice-president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, the country's parliament.

Hong Yong-Jo


Hong Yong-Jo is a North Korean international football striker. He last played for FC Rostov in Russia. He previously played for 25 April FC in the North Korean 1st division and FK Bežanija in the Serbian SuperLiga. He captained the North Korean team that qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Kang Chol-Hwan

Human rights activist

Kang Chol-Hwan is a defector from North Korea. As a child he was imprisoned in the Yodok concentration camp for 10 years; after his release he fled the country, first to China and eventually to South Korea. He is the author, with Pierre Rigoulot, of The Aquariums of Pyongyang and is a staff writer for The Chosun Ilbo.

Kim Jong-Hun

Soccer Defender

Kim Jong-Hun is a retired North Korean football player and was the head coach of the Korea DPR national football team.

Kim Pyong-il


Kim Pyong-il is the younger paternal half-brother of the former leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il, and the son of former leader Kim Il-sung. He is the current ambassador of North Korea to Poland.

Joo Hyun


Joo Hyun is a South Korean actor.

Hwang In-Shik


Hwang In Shik is one of the foremost Korean hapkido teachers today. A great popularizer of the art in Asia through his work in the Hong Kong based films of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Angela Mao, he is known nevertheless as one the top teachers of the art and was eventually awarded a 10th degree black belt, the highest rank possible in the art, by the World Hapkido Association.

Choi Hyunmi


Choi Hyun-Mi is a South Korean female boxer fighting in the featherweight division, and a World Boxing Association champion. At age 13 Choi was asked to prepare to compete in the 2008 Olympics as a member of the North Korean team; eventually the International Olympic Committee decided against including women's boxing in the competition. In 2004 her father, a successful businessman in North Korea, fled the country, followed by his family, who traveled first through China, then were smuggled through Vietnam before settling in South Korea, where Choi's promoters advertised her as the "Defector Girl Boxer".

Kim Kye-gwan


Kim Gye Gwan is a North Korean diplomat. His official position is First Vice Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to which he was promoted immediately before the Korean Workers' Party Conference of 28 September 2010. He is the leading figure in international talks over the country's nuclear weapons program, including the six-party talks in Beijing. North Korea agreed 2007-02-13, with the help of Kim Kye Gwan, to disarm their nuclear program. This includes shutting down its nuclear reactor and eventually dismantling its atomic weapons program, just four months after the communist state shocked the world by testing a nuclear bomb. Kim Kye Gwan is North Korea's leading spokesperson and head negotiator in matters concerning the North's nuclear ambitions, and will most likely enter the limelight for his role in facilitating North Korea's Nuclear Disarmament deal struck in February. Kim met with Christopher Hill, the U.S. assistant secretary of state, when Hill visited Pyongyang in June 2007, afterwards announcing that North Korea would promptly shut down its Yongbyon nuclear facility. He was also present at the airport to greet Bill Clinton on his arrival in North Korea for a visit in August 2009 concerning the release of two American journalists imprisoned by North Korea.

Pak Nam-Chol

Soccer Midfielder

Pak Nam-Chol is a North Korean international footballer who currently plays for Thai Premier League side Muangthong United. Pak has appeared for North Korea in various FIFA World Cup qualifying matches since 2006, scoring three goals. He was also in the North Korea squad that qualified and played at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Pak is described as the best North Korean player at the moment, and is the most capped player of the national team with 65 appearances.

Lee Jung-seob

Painting Artist

Lee Jung Seob was a Korean oil painter. He entered into Dosan School and met an art teacher named Lim Yongryeon who had studied art at Yale University and worked as an artist in Paris. He was affected by Lim Yongryeon who emphasized drawing. Born on 1916, He entered Teikoku Art School for Occidental Painting in Japan in 1932 and studied Art in earnest. But he abruptly quit that school and entered Bunka Gakuen, which was more fascinated with the avant-garde than Teikoku Art School. He showed Fauvist tendencies and a strong and free drawing style at Bunka Gakuen. Also he met a woman named Yamamoto Masako who would later be his wife. He graduated from Bunka Gakuen in 1944 during the last stage of World War II, and married Masako the following year. In 1946, his first child was born but the baby died suddenly from diphtheria. At that time, he was preparing an exhibition and making artwork as an unknown artist and the death of his child shocked him. Taking this event, he sent his painting "A Child Flies with a White Star", which was inspired by his loss, to the exhibition commemorating the independence of Korea in 1947.

Jo Myong-rok


Jo Myong-rok was a member of the North Korean military. He held the North Korean military rank Chasu. In 2009, he was appointed First Vice-Chairman of the National Defense Commission, Director of the Korean People's Army General Political Bureau. In the past, he was the commander of the air defense forces. Jo was born in Yonsa County, North Hamgyong province, on 12 July 1928 and he joined the Korean People's Army in December 1950. He was a graduate of the Manchuria Aviation School and Soviet Air Academy. After serving as a pilot in the Korean War, Jo was promoted to major general in 1954 and lieutenant general in 1976. Meanwhile, he held other important posts, such as commanding officer of Pyongyang's Air Defence Command, and commanding officer of the KPA Air Force from 1977 till 1995. At the 6th Party Congress in 1980, Jo Myong-rok was elected both member of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea and its Military Commission. In the 1990s, he saw a huge increase of his importance: in 1992 he was promoted to general; in 1994 he was part of Kim Il-sung's funeral committee; in 1995 he was promoted to Vice Marshal and director of the KPA General Political Bureau.

Kim Yong-chun


Kim Yong-chun was a leader of the North Korean military. He held the North Korean military rank Chasu, was Vice Chairman of the National Defense Commission of North Korea, and was Minister of People's Armed Forces. Currently, he holds a minor post within the Workers Party. Born in 1936 in Yanggang Province, he attended the Mangyongdae Revolutionary School and the Kim Il-sung Military University before starting his career in the party apparatus and the Korean People's Army. He served as secretary of the South Pyongyan Provincial Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in the 1960s and was elected alternate member of the WPK Central Committee in 1980 at the 6th Party Congress. In 1986 he was elevated to Central Committee full member, director of the KPA General Staff Operations Bureau and deputy to the Supreme People's Assembly. He was abruptly purged in 1988 along with Chief of General Staff O Kuk-ryol for disputes with O Jin-u. Kim Yong-chun reappeared in the 1990s as he was promoted to general and director of the General Munitions Mobilization Bureau. He also oversaw the disbandment of the North Hamgyong Province's Sixth Army Corps, accused of corruption. In 1995, after O Jin-u's death, he was promoted to Vice Marshal and Chief of the KPA General Staff, a post he held until 2007, when he was appointed a vice-chairman of the National Defence Commission.

Ri Kwang-Chon

Soccer Defender

Ri Kwang-Chon is a North Korean international football player. He currently plays for SCG Muangthong United in Thailand. He played an integral part of the North Korea team that qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

O Chin-u

Military Person

Marshal O Chin-u was a soldier and politician of North Korea. He was the Minister of Armed Forces for many years until his death in February 1995. O was the third most powerful person in North Korea, after Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. Very little is known about him except for the fact that he served with Kim Il-sung's partisan unit and eventually rose through the ranks of the North Korean Army. He distinguished himself during the Korean War and was a trusted advisor of the North Korean leader until his death, also being his chief guard in 1945. O Chin-u rose rapidly through military ranks: he was appointed chief of general staff of the Korean People's Air Force in 1958, vice-minister of People's Security in 1962, general in 1963, director of the KPA General Political Bureau in 1967 and Chief of General Staff in 1968. This concurred with his ascent to the top leadership of the Workers' Party of Korea, becoming Central Committee member in 1954, Political Committee member in 1966, Secretariat member in 1968 and Presidium member in 1977. Extremely close to Kim Il-sung, he is credited among the top officials who "proposed" Kim Jong-il to be Kim Il-sung's heir at a Central Committee plenum in 1974.

Kang Hyo-shil


Kang Hyo-shil was a South Korean film and stage actress.

Ok Jeon


Jeon Ok was a Korean actress and singer. Jeon was referred to as "Queen of Tears" for her excellence at acting for tragic dramas.

Tae Hyun-sil


Tae Hyun-sil is a South Korean actress. Tae was born in Songjin, North Hamgyong province, Korea in 1941. While studying Film at Dongguk University, she was selected as a TV actress in a public recruit held by KBS. While preparing to star for a drama series, Tae was offered to be an exclusive actress of Shin Film established by Shin Sang-ok. Tae's first debut film is Beautiful Shroud directed by Lee Hyeong-pyo in 1962. With the film, she won New Actress from the 1963 Buil Awards. Since her debut as an actress, Tae has starred in about 300 films. 250 films were shot during 7 years, and were mostly roles in depicting a cheerful university student or cute daughter characters. Tae married businessman Kim Cheol-hwan in 1968. She resumed her acting career by starring in a daily soap opera Jangmi-ui geori.

Kim Sung-ae


Kim Sŏng-ae was the second wife of the late North Korean leader, president Kim Il-sung. They became husband and wife in 1952, following the death of Kim Il-sung's first wife in 1949, although due to the Korean War no formal ceremony was held. One source indicates Kim Il-sung had had an affair with her even before his first wife died. She gave birth to a daughter and two sons. She later rose in political power, becoming vice-chairwoman of the Central Committee of the Korean Women's Association in the mid-1960s and chairwoman in the 1970s. She held that post until resigning in 1998; since that time, little information about her has reached the outside world. There are rumors that she was killed in a car accident in Beijing in June 2001. Other reports claim she is still alive as of July 2011, though in poor health, and that Kim Pyong-il returned to Pyongyang from his posting in Poland to visit her.

Chae Myung-shin


Chae Myung-shin is a Republic of Korea Army general and Commanding Officer of ROK forces in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

Yi Sung-sun

Deceased Person

Yi Sung-sun, nicknamed Lynx, was a South Korean street knight. He was born in 1916, in the North Korean city of Sinuiju. In July 1945, Yi's friend was half dead after an attack by 40 Japanese gang members. After the independence of Korea, Yi ran away to South Korea to join with his gangster friend Yi Hwa-ryong's gangs of Myeongdong. After the Korean War broke out, Yi worked in the Headquarters of the Intelligence Detachment. In 1953, the political hoodlum Yi Jung-jae lured Yi out and lynched him to make Yi disabled. Yi left the gangs, and escorted Chang Myon and Shin Ik-Hee from political hoodlums. Jung-Jae and other foes were punished to death during the 5·16 Coup d'état. After that, Yi converted to Christianity. He died on 25 February 1983. Yi hated organized violence and had no criminal record. Thus, Yi is called "the last street knight".

An Kum-Ae

Olympic Judo Athlete

An Kum-Ae is a North Korean judoka. In the 2012 Summer Olympics, she won the gold medal in the Women's 52 kg Judo competition after defeating Yanet Bermoy of Cuba. She won a bronze medal in the half-lightweight category at the 2005 World Judo Championships, having defeated Lyudmila Bogdanova of Russia in the bronze medal match. She won the gold medal in the same weight category at the 2006 Asian Games, having defeated Mönkhbaataryn Bundmaa of Mongolia in the final match. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, she won the silver medal in her weight class after Xian Dongmei of China, who won the gold medal. In the 2012 Summer Olympics, she won the gold medal in her weight class, the 52 kg category. She currently resides in the North Korean capital city Pyongyang.

Jong Song-ok


Jong Song-ok is a female long-distance runner from North Korea, who won the world title in the women's marathon at the 1999 World Championships in Athletics in Seville, Spain. She competed at 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, finishing 20th in the women's marathon. During the 2008 Olympic torch relay in Pyongyang, she was the last person to carry the Olympic torch through the streets.

Hwang Sun-won


Hwang Sun-wŏn was a Korean short story writer, novelist, and poet.

Jo Young Nam


Jo Young-nam is a singer.

Nelson Shin

Film Director

Nelson Shin is an animation director who is the founder and president of Akom Production Co., Ltd., in Seoul, South Korea. He founded Akom in 1985. In the 1970s, Shin worked as an animator at the DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, where he worked on the Pink Panther films. While at DFE, he also contributed to the animation of the lightsaber blades in the original Star Wars. Much of the animation Shin's studio has produced has been for American television series. Some of Akom's credits are: The Simpsons, Batman: The Animated Series, X-Men, Invasion America and Arthur. Shin's most well-known accomplishment is his direction of the television series The Transformers and The Transformers: The Movie. Shin also directed the first season of the Canadian animated TV series, Toad Patrol. Beginning in 1999, Shin worked on the animated feature film Empress Chung. The film was largely animated in North Korea, and in August 2005 became the first movie ever to open simultaneously in North and South Korea. In 2009, he was elected president of the International Animated Film Association, a post he held through 2012.

Kim Il


Kim Il was a North Korean politician. He was Prime Minister from 28 December 1972 to 29 April 1976.

Choi Kwang


Marshal Choi Kwang was a prominent military leader in North Korea. He was Chief of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army. He was also the Minister of People's Armed Forces between 1995-1997. He died of a heart attack on February 21, 1997. He was one of three military officers in the North Korean Armed Forces who reached rank of Marshal with the title "Marshal of the Korean People's Army".

Pak Chol-Jin

Soccer Defender

Pak Chol-Jin is a North Korean international football player. He currently plays for Amrokgang in the DPR Korea League. He played in the North Korean team that qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Kim Myong-Gil


Kim Myong-Gil is a North Korean international football player. He plays for Amrokgang in the DPR Korea League. He has played on ten occasions for the North Korean national team, and has been called up to their 23-man squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Om Yun-Chol


Om Yun-Chol is a weightlifter representing North Korea. He is 152 cm / 5'0" and weighs 56 kg /123 lbs. He won the gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics at the men's 56 kg event. He became only the fifth man to ever lift three times his own body weight. He is also the fourth man to lift over 3 times bodyweight multiple times after succeeding in breaking the world record clean and jerk of 169kg in the –56kg weight class during the Asian Interclub Championships.

Lee Soon-ok


Lee Soon Ok is a former political prisoner and defector from North Korea. She resides in South Korea.

Kim Yong-ju


Kim Yong-ju is a North Korean politician and the younger brother of the country's former supreme leader Kim Il-sung. He currently holds a ceremonial position as Honorary Vice President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, North Korea's parliament.

Kim Kuk-Jin

Soccer Midfielder

Kim Kuk-Jin is a North Korean international football player. He last played for FC Wil in Switzerland.

Kim Sul-song


Kim Sul-song, or Kim Seol-song, is the daughter of North Korea's former leader Kim Jong-Il and Kim Young-sook. She has reportedly been active within the propaganda department, been in charge of literary affairs, and in charge of the security and schedule of her father as his secretary. "Seol-song" literally means "snow pine", and the name was reportedly given by her grandfather, Kim Il-sung. Reportedly, she was a favourite of her father. She attended the same school as her father, graduated from Kim Il-sung University's Economics Department and was assigned to the propaganda department of the Workers' Party Central Committee. She is also reported to have been in charge of literary affairs: according to reports, all the signatures on works of literature coming into the department were signed by her. According to a North Korean defector, who used to be a high-ranking official in Pyongyang, Seol-song was in charge of the security and schedule for Kim Jong-Il since the late 1990s. In this capacity, she accompanied her father during trips to North Korean Army units and local villages. During these trips, she has been observed wearing the uniform of a lieutenant colonel of the North Korean People's Army.

Richard E. Kim


Richard Eun Kook Kim was a Korean-American writer and professor of literature. He was the author of The Martyred, The Innocent, and Lost Names, and many other works. He was a Guggenheim Fellow and was a recipient of a Fulbright grant. His most popular work is Lost Names, a fictional work based on his experience during the Japanese colonization of Korea.

Sejo of Goryeo


Wang Ryung was the father of Wang Geon. After his son founded the Empire of Goryeo, he was titled Yonggeon, Munmyeong.

Mun In-Guk

Soccer Midfielder

Mun In-Guk is a North Korean international football player. Mun has made 22 appearances for the Korea DPR national football team in FIFA World Cup qualifying rounds.

Kim Ki-nam


Kim Ki-nam is a North Korean official. He is vice-chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, in which capacity he has led numerous visits to the South. He is also Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, and has served several terms in the Supreme People's Assembly, to which he was first elected in November 1977. He is also the Secretary and Director of the Propaganda and Agitation [publicity and information] Department. As such, and because forty years of service in this field, he controls the country's press, media, fine arts, and publishing. Kim Ki-nam, a graduate from the Kim Il-sung University and Soviet party schools, at first worked in foreign affairs before moving to the Propaganda and Agitation Department in late 1960s. In 1974, he was appointed editor of the Party's theoretical magazine, Kulloja, and in 1976 he was promoted to editor-in-chief of Rodong Sinmun. He is credited with having produced articles and essays creating the cult of Kim Jong-il and praising Kim Il-sung's historic role. He was elected to the WPK Central Committee at the 6th Party Congress in October 1980, director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department in April 1989 and simultaneously secretary for party history in 1992.

Yu Hyun-mok

Film Director

Yu Hyun-mok was a South Korean film director. Born in Sariwon, North Hwanghae, Korea, he made his film debut in 1956 with Gyocharo. According to the website, his 1961 film Obaltan "has repeatedly been voted the best Korean film of all time in local critics' polls." Yu attended the San Francisco International Film Festival in 1963, where Variety called Obaltan a "remarkable film", and praised Yu's "[b]rilliantly detailed camera" and the film's "probing sympathy and rich characterizations." His dedication to the intellectual side of film and interest in using film to deal with social and political issues led him to have difficulties both with box-office-oriented producers, and with Korea's military government during the 1960s and 1970s. Korean critics have said his directing style is "in the tradition of the Italian Neorealists," yet "the terms 'modernist' or 'expressionistic' [are] just as applicable to his works." Besides his directing activities, he has taught film, and made a significant contribution to Korean animation by producing Kim Cheong-gi's 1976 animated film, Robot Taekwon V. A retrospective of Yu's career was held at the 4th Pusan International Film Festival in 1999.

Kye Sun-Hi

Olympic athlete

Kye Sun-Hui is a North Korean judoka. Kye won three Olympic medals in different weight classes, in 1996, 2000 and 2004. When she won the gold medal in Atlanta, 1996 she became the youngest gold medalist in judo. She had entered the Games thanks to the wild card system, and her Olympic gold has been described as one of the biggest surprises of the Atlanta Olympics. Kye competed for a fourth time at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing but did not fare too well. She has been awarded the Kim Il Sung Prize and the title of "labour heroine".

Yon Hyong-muk


Yon Hyong-muk, also spelt as Yong Hyong-muk was a longserving politician in North Korea and at the height of his career the most powerful person in that country outside the Kim family. He was premier of North Korea from 1989 until 1992 . He was born in Kyongwon County and had a strong revolutionary background in his family. Although details about his early childhood are not well known, it is known than Yon was educated in Czechoslovakia and by the 1950s he was firmly established within the hierarchy of the Workers' Party of Korea, which became the only political party in North Korea after the Korean War ended. By 1968, after one of several purges to occur during Kim Il Sung's long reign, Yon was established as one of Kim's most trusted comrades and had become a secretary of the Central Committee of the Party. During the 1970s, Yon further advanced in the Party and by the middle 1980s he was regarded as the fourth most powerful person in North Korea after Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, and veteran marshal and defence minister O Chin-u. He was a candidate member of the Politburo from the early 1980s and became premier of North Korea in 1989 . During this era, Yon served as Minister of Heavy Industry and this cemented his major role in the North's large armaments sector.

Kim Yong-Sik


Kim Yong-Sik was a Korean football player and manager, and one of the original inductees to South Korea's Football Hall of Fame.

Cha Jong-Hyok

Soccer Defender

Cha Jong-Hyok is a North Korean international football player, who currently plays for FC Wil.

Yang Hyong-sop


Yang Hyong-sop is a North Korean politician. He was elected chairman of the Supreme People's Assembly in 1983, and served until 1998. He is currently vice president of the Presidium of the SPA. Yang attended Moscow State University and Kim Il-sung University, and is married to Kim Shin-sook, a cousin of Kim Il sung. According to the official biography released by the Korean Central News Agency, he joined the Korean People's Army in June 1950; after graduating from the Kim Il-sung University, he served as section chief and then secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, director of the Central Party School, minister of Higher Education, and president of the Academy of Social Sciences. He was elected Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly in 1983, after having been a vice-chairman since 1962; in this capacity, he assumed the functions of de facto head of State after Kim Il-sung's death in 1994, as the post of President of the DPRK was never re-assigned; he was however under the actual leadership of the new leader Kim Jong-il. In 1998, a new Constitution passed the President's powers to the President of the Presidium; in the same year, Yang was replaced by Kim Yong-nam in that capacity, but continued to serve as vice-president again.

Jon Kwang-Ik

Soccer Defender

Jon Kwang-Ik is a North Korean professional football player who currently plays as a defender for Amrokgang in the DPR Korea League. Jon has appeared for the Korea DPR national football team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying rounds, 2011 Asian Cup, and the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup. At a youth level, he also played at the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship and the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Kang Song-san


Kang Song-san was the Premier of North Korea from 1984 to 1986 and again from 1992 to 1997. He succeeded Li Jong-ok in his first term and Yon Hyong-muk in his second term. He was born in North Hamgyong.

Kim Hyok-Bong

Olympic athlete

Hyok Bong Kim is an athlete. He represents Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Yun Sim-deok


Yun Sim-Deok was the first woman soprano to achieve fame throughout Korea.

Francis Hong Yong-ho


Francis Hong Yong-ho is listed as the Roman Catholic bishop of Pyongyang, North Korea. Francis Hong Yong-ho was imprisoned by the communist regime of Kim Il-sung in 1949 and later disappeared. According to Cardinal Nicolas Cheong Jin-suk, speaking in 2006, The Annuario Pontificio for 2013 acknowledges Hong Yong-ho as deceased, though the actual date and place of death is unknown.

Kim Myong-Won

Soccer Forward

Kim Myong-Won is a Korean football player who currently plays for Amrokgang.

Choe Kum-Chol


Choe Kum-Chol is a North Korean international football player who currently plays for Thais club side Nakhonnayok in Regional League Division 2 on loan from Muangthong United. Choe has made eight appearances for the Korea DPR national football team in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.

Pak Li-Sup

Soccer Defender

Pak Li-Sup is a North Korean football defender who played for North Korea in the 1966 FIFA World Cup. He also played for Amrokgang Sports Team.

Jong Chol-Min

Football player

Jong Chol-Min is a North Korean international football player. Jong has made two appearances for the Korea DPR national football team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying rounds. He also played for Korea DPR in the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Peru and the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada.

Pak Nam-Chol

Soccer Defender

Pak Nam-Chol is a North Korean international football player. Pak has appeared for the Korea DPR national football team in 4 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.

Choe Myong-Ho

Soccer Midfielder

Choe Myong-Ho is a North Korean footballer, who currently plays for Pyongyang City Sports Group.