Jang Jin-sung

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Jang Jin-sung
Bornc. 1970–1971 (age 47–49)
ResidenceSouth Korea
OccupationPoet, intelligence officer, propaganda officer
Jang Jin-sung
Revised RomanizationJang Jinseong
McCune–ReischauerChang Chinsŏng

Jang Jin-sung (Korean: 장진성; born c. 1970–1971) is the pseudonym[1] of a North Korean poet and government official who defected to South Korea. He had worked as a psychological warfare officer within the United Front Department of the Korean Workers' Party.[2][3][4] Jang specifically worked within the United Front Department Section 5 (Literature), Division 19 (Poetry) of Office 101.[5] Office 101 created propaganda intended to encourage South Korean sympathy for North Korea. One of Jang's job duties was to create poetry under a South Korean pseudonym Kim Kyong-min and in a South Korean style. His poetry was intended for distribution within South Korea.[5]


Jang claims to have been one of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's favored propaganda poets.[6] This favoritism occurred after Jang wrote the epic poem Spring Rests on the Gun Barrel of the Lord as part of recurring competitive poetry writing among different North Korean Government departments.[7] Kim Jong Il liked the poem so much it was redistributed in North Korea in 1999.[5][8] Kim Jong Il's favoritism gained Jang the class status of "The Admitted" for which Jang received extra food rations and political protections.[8]

According to Jang's account, he was forced to flee the country for his life after his friend Young-Min lost a forbidden book from his department on the Pyongyang Metro.[7] As the North Korean State Security Department pursued them, they obtained a fake travel pass and travelled to the north of the country, where they fled across the frozen Tumen River into China.[9][10] After a long period of hiding in China, Jang defected to South Korea in 2004 by reaching the embassy in Beijing.[7]

A few months after arriving in South Korea, in January 2005, Jang became a Senior Analyst for the National Security Research Institute in Seoul, South Korea.[7] The National Security Research Institute is part of the National Intelligence Service of South Korea.[7] In 2010, he left the National Security Research Institute.[7]

In 2011, Jang used his severance to start North Korean defectors' magazine New Focus International (뉴포커스).[7][11] The magazine aims to report on North Korean news without North Korean media restrictions.[4][12]

As of 2013, the North Korean government still threatens the life of Jang Jin-sung through statements made through the North Korea controlled media.[13]

Jang Jin-sung wrote about his journey of defecting in his 2014 book, Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee - A Look Inside North Korea.[14][15][16]


  • Memoirs Crossing[17]
  • Poetry collection "I Am Selling My Daughter for 100 Won" ("내 딸을 백원에 팝니다") (Japanese 2009, English 2010)[18]
  • Kim Jong-il's last woman (김정일의 마지막 여자) [19]
  • 시를 품고 강을 넘다 (Japan 2012)
  • Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee - A Look Inside North Korea (2014) [15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jin-Seong, Jang". www.southbankcentre.co.uk. Southbank Centre. Retrieved September 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ "Inside North Korea: The day Kim Jong-il gave me a Rolex". BBC News. Jan 5, 2012. Retrieved September 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ "Jang Jin-sung: 'If anyone thinks North Korea is opening up, they are mistaken'". guardian.co.uk. Guardian News and Media Limited. May 1, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "The Staff". newfocusintl.com. Retrieved September 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  5. ^ a b c Jang Jin-sung (12 June 2014). "Jang Jin-sung: I became poet laureate to Kim Jong-il". New Statesman. Retrieved September 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  6. ^ Sylvia Hui (Jul 1, 2012). "Jang Jin-sung, North Korean Poet, Writes Of Hunger, Brutality In The Country". www.huffingtonpost.com. Associated Press. He says he was one of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's favorite propaganda artists, singing the praises of the Dear Leader in dozens of poems. But these days Jang Jin-sung says he prefers to tell the truth about North Korea.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Jang Jin-sung (May 2014). Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee - A Look Inside North Korea. Atria. ISBN 978-1476766553. Retrieved September 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  8. ^ a b David Pilling (May 9, 2014). "'Dear Leader', by Jang Jin-sung". Financial Times.
  9. ^ Libby Powell. "Ten minutes with...Jang Jin-sun". Chatham House.
  10. ^ "More on North Korean Literature & poet Jang Jin-sung". www.ktlit.com. Jun 6, 2013.
  11. ^ "Jang Jin-sung". NK News. Jang Jin-sung is North Korea’s former poet laureate under Kim Jong Il, and is now Editor-in-chief of New Focus International.
  12. ^ "Overview - New Focus International". newfocusintl.com. Retrieved September 2014. New Focus International is distinctive in two ways: • it offers North Korea reporting and analysis rooted in first-hand experience of the country’s workings; • and maintains direct, independent access to sources within the economic and power structures of the DPRK. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  13. ^ Jang Jin-sung (May 2014). Dear Leader: My Escape from North Korea. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781476766577. North Korean state news organ, KCNA, saying it would "remove my existence from this universe."
  14. ^ Blaine Harden (June 6, 2014). "Book review: 'Dear Leader,' a look inside North Korea, by Jang Jin-sung". The Washington Post.
  15. ^ a b "Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee--A Look Inside North Korea". Amazon.com, Inc. Retrieved September 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  16. ^ "N.Korean Defector's Memoir Makes Global Headlines". Chosun.com. May 30, 2014.
  17. ^ Jessica Phelan (May 2, 2013). "Crossing the Border: Jang Jin Sung, North Korea's poet laureate, to publish memoirs".
  18. ^ Jang Jin Sung (May 13, 2008). "I Am Selling My Daughter for 100 Won". DailyNK.
  19. ^ Kim Ji-soo (2014-07-09). "Jang Jin-sung writes about his ex-'Dear Leader'". www.koreatimes.co.kr. Korea Times. Archived from the original on 2014-09-14. Retrieved September 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)