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Guest Editor’s Introduction

Guest Editor’s Introduction The topic of this special issue is ‘‘North Korea and Religion.’’ At first glance, religion and North Korea are two subjects that may not appear to be closely associated. North Korea is a communist country and Marxist Communism has traditionally been very negative towards religion. Although North Korean communism has often strayed far from its Marxist roots, in relation to religion, the North Korean regime has actually gone beyond many communist regimes in its repression and control of religious organizations. As shown by several articles in this special issue, the policy of the North Korean state towards religion has gone through several phases and its relations towards religious organizations have been complex, ambivalent, and unpredictable, in many ways in line with much of the regime’s behavior on other issues. In his article on Buddhism in North Korea for this special issue, Bernard Senécal mentions that scholars have posited four main phases in North Korea’s policy on religion. The first phase before the Korean War involved cooptation and increasing control as the government attempted to both discourage religion as superstitious, but also use religious organizations and subvert them to gain support for the new regime. Suppression and eradication was characteristic http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Korean Religions University of Hawai'I Press

Guest Editor’s Introduction

Journal of Korean Religions , Volume 4 (2) – Nov 28, 2013

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © Institute for the Study of Religion, Sogang University, Korea
ISSN
2093-7288
eISSN
2167-2040

Abstract

The topic of this special issue is ‘‘North Korea and Religion.’’ At first glance, religion and North Korea are two subjects that may not appear to be closely associated. North Korea is a communist country and Marxist Communism has traditionally been very negative towards religion. Although North Korean communism has often strayed far from its Marxist roots, in relation to religion, the North Korean regime has actually gone beyond many communist regimes in its repression and control of religious organizations. As shown by several articles in this special issue, the policy of the North Korean state towards religion has gone through several phases and its relations towards religious organizations have been complex, ambivalent, and unpredictable, in many ways in line with much of the regime’s behavior on other issues. In his article on Buddhism in North Korea for this special issue, Bernard Senécal mentions that scholars have posited four main phases in North Korea’s policy on religion. The first phase before the Korean War involved cooptation and increasing control as the government attempted to both discourage religion as superstitious, but also use religious organizations and subvert them to gain support for the new regime. Suppression and eradication was characteristic

Journal

Journal of Korean ReligionsUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Nov 28, 2013

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