Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il

Juche is the name given to the ideology of the Workers' Party of Korea under Kim Il-sung. The word literally means "main body" or "subject"; it has also been translated in North Korean sources as "independent stand" and the "spirit of self-reliance".

Historical Development

In rejecting Khrushchev's policies of de-Stalinization within the Soviet Union, Kim Il-sung established the idea of Juche within the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and furher developed it after the Sino-Soviet split in the 1960s.

Juche was outlined as an ideal on April 14, 1965, in a speech by Kim. He outlined ideals of Korean independence, based around independence in politics, a self-sustaining economy and the ability of self-defense. These were outlined as the three fundamental principles of Juche.

In 1982, Kim Il-sung’s son and eventual successor, Kim Jong-il, wrote On the Juche Idea, the authoritative work on Juche. As leader of North Korea today, Kim Jong-il has the final authority over the interpretation of Juche.


Juche promises freedom of thought, freedom of politics, economic self sufficiency and self-reliance in defense. It states that policy must reflect the will of the masses, and that the most important work of revolution is to mould people as Communists in order to work for the state. Juche demands full loyalty to the party and leader "in such a way that an independent and sovereign state can be constructed and the people can use their talent and strength for the common good"[1].


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