When I spoke recently to the FCC about North Korea, a number of you — mostly Americans — asked about getting into North Korea. American citizens were last allowed in in 2002. However, it appears you (and anyone else, excepting Japanese and South Korean citizens) may now get the chance to visit the last remaining worker’s paradise.
The annual Pyongyang Mass Games will be held involving over 100,000 performers over a three month period from August to October 2005. As this is the 60th anniversary of the KWP this should be the Mother of all Mass Games to date. US Citizens may well be allowed onto regular tour groups this time around for the Games — Koryo Tours is keeping a list and to get on it you need to contact [email protected] or Nick Bonner (The Dear Tour Leader) on 13621099277. As usual, most everyone else can also go (EU, Australians, Canadians, Chinese and others).
Mass Games tours aren’t exactly cheap — 1290-1690 Euros a pop — but we suppose there aren’t really many other options, are there? More information about the Mass Games and the tours can be found here. Unfortunately, Mr. French won’t be able attend the Mass Games this year — he’s been banned from the DPRK because of his book.
French will, however, be holding a screening of North Korea: A State of Mind later this month at Shanghai’s British Council. It’s a documentary about two young North Korean gymnasts leading up to their performance in the Mass Games. When Shanghaiist learns the details of this screening, we’ll share them with you. The filmmakers’ next documentary is about US defectors to North Korea and features “the longest and most in depth interview with Charles Jenkins ever done.” Jenkins is a former US Army soldier and deserter, who lived in North Korea from 1965 to 2004. The movie is slated to show at next year’s Sundance. So maybe if one of you Americans heading to the 2005 Mass Games decides to defect they can squeeze you into the movie!
Koryo Tours of North Korea
Paul French’s North Korea: The Paranoid Peninsula
Documentary movie North Korea: A State of Mind
DPRK-related merchandise from Pyongyang Art Studio
Danwei profiles Koryo’s Nick Bonner