International Friendship Exhibition
|International Friendship Exhibition|
|Revised Romanization||Gukje Ueui Jeollamgwan|
|McCune–Reischauer||Kukche Uŭi Chŏllamgwan|
The International Friendship Exhibition is a large museum complex located just west of Pyongyang in North Korea. It was previously located at Myohyangsan, North Pyongan province. It is a collection of halls that house gifts presented to former leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il from various foreign dignitaries. The protocol of gift-giving is well established in Korean culture.
Built in a traditional style, the halls opened on 26 August 1978 and consist of over 150 rooms covering a total area of between 28,000 and 70,000 square metres. The building offers the impression that it has windows, though it has none. According to one legend, Kim Jong-il built the International Friendship Exhibition in three days; however, actual construction took a year. Currently, estimates of how many gifts the exhibition holds vary between 60,000 and 220,000 gifts. On entering the exhibition, shoes must be discarded and visitors are asked to bow before portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.
The setting of the museum in the Myohyang-san mountains, near the Pohyon temple, was the subject of a poem by Kim Il-sung, which he later chanted from the balcony of the International Friendship Exhibition on October 15, 1979:
"On the balcony I see the most
glorious scene in the world...and Piro Peak looks higher still."
The Exhibition stands here,
its green eaves upturned, to exalt
The dignity of the nation,
The museum is said to act as propaganda, giving the impression of worldwide support for the North Korean government. Visitors to the museum are informed that the number of gifts constitute "proof of the endless love and respect toward the Great Leader [Kim Il-sung]". However, North Korean visitors to the site are unaware of the ceremonial exchange of gifts in diplomatic protocol, and are described by Helen-Louise Hunter to be "impressed by the self-serving explanations offered to them". Another author, Byoung-lo Philo Kim, states that the entire exhibition is "aimed at convincing [North] Korean visitors that their leaders are universally admired".
- A bear's head from former Romanian leader Nicolae Ceauşescu
- A metal horseman and ornate chess boards from former Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi
- A crocodile skin suitcase from former Cuban leader Fidel Castro
- A gem-encrusted silver sword and a miniature mosque in mother of pearl, given by former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
- An antique gramophone from China's first premier Zhou Enlai and an Armored Train car from chairman Mao Zedong (entire wings are dedicated to gifts from the country)
- An ivory lion from Tanzania, gold cigarette case from Yugoslavia, bronze USSR tank from East Germany, silver chopsticks from Mongolia
- A basketball signed by Michael Jordan given by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
- A bullet-proof limousine from former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin
- A VHS copy of Space Jam 
- A copy of Bootsy Collins' 1994 album Back in the Day: The Best of Bootsy
- Martin, Bradley, K. (May 16, 2007). "Kim Jong Il Gets the Gifts, and All North Korea Ends Up Paying". Bloomberg L.P.
- "Anniversary of International Friendship Exhibition marked". Korean Central News Agency. August 26, 1998.
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- "International Friendship Exhibition, treasure-house of Korea". Korean Central News Agency. June 5, 1998.
- Lim, Jae-Cheon (2009). Kim Jong Il's Leadership of North Korea. Taylor & Francis. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-415-48195-3.
- Houtryve, Tomas Van (August 20, 2009). "Journey to North Korea, Part II: The Pack-Rat Dictatorship". Time.
- Reuters (December 21, 2006). "North Korean museum shows off leaders' gifts". The Age.
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- Portal, Jane; British Museum (2005). Art under control in North Korea. Reaktion Books. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-86189-236-2.
- Hunter, Helen-Louise (1999). Kim Il-sŏng's North Korea. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-275-96296-8.
- Hunter, 1999, p. 213.
- Kim, Byoung-lo Philo (1992). Two Koreas in development: a comparative study of principles and strategies of capitalist and communist Third World development. Transaction Publishers. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-88738-437-0.
- Gluckman, Ron (1990s). "90,000 ways to Love a Leader".
- "Kim Jong-il’s North Korea welcomes legal U.S. tourists". Herald de Paris. November 15, 2009.
- Burdick, Eddie (2010). Three Days in the Hermit Kingdom: An American Visits North Korea. McFarland. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-7864-4898-2.
- Burdick, Eddie (2010). Three Days in the Hermit Kingdom: An American Visits North Korea. McFarland. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-7864-4898-2.