Thoughts about Korean Philately (Looking at 2023 new issues)

Science / Archives

We all know and sadly recognise that the Korean nation has been divided since the end of the Second World War, and that a devastating civil war was fought there in the early 1950s. These two unfortunate facts, however, are the source of a major difference in the way in which the two governments of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) present themselves to the world of philately.

In a chapter in Stanley D Brunns’ edited volume Stamps, Nationalism and Political Transition (2023, page 56), I made the observation that on the whole, ROK (South Korea) stamps in the first 10 years following Liberation from Japan used themes which predominantly referred to Korean culture or history. On the other hand, DPRK (North Korea) stamps used themes which were overwhelmingly ideological. This fact should not surprise us, but it is interesting to see how stamp design gives evidence to it.

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