About Changmadang

Changmadang is the North Korean black market. Below is the number and size of Changmadang.

Pyongsong originally had a small Changmadang where agricultural products were traded. Now it has tripled in size. Four or five new Changmadangs have been created on busy roadsides. There have been signs since 1995. However, it did not increase until the beginning of 1996. (Asahi Newspaper Aera editorial department “exiles from North Korea”)
There are one to three places in each county. The size of the local province of Changmadang is about 1,000 square meters. Pyongyang’s Shinsung Changmadang and Pyongsong Changmadang are so large that they can’t go all day. (Kim Ki-sung, “Introduction to North Korea”

The following is the means of transportation to Changmadang. North Koreans cannot move freely. You need a permit to get out of your area of residence.

There was no shortage of errands on the move, the most notable of which was the black market. Buy at a cheap place and sell at a high place. All the goods are carried by humans. Even if you have a car, there is no fuel. Even the railroad was barely running. The train from Hidden City to Pyongyang took two weeks in town and took three days each way. It does not reach 5 km / h.
In addition, many people doing business in the black market did not use railroads to avoid risk of crackdowns. Walking along the railroad tracks is less likely than meeting a police officer in light green uniforms than going on a highway. Many people do not have travel permits, which are essential for leaving North Korea’s residential area. I could hardly get a permit unless I gave the issuing officer under my sleeve. (Kang Hyuk, Children of North Korea)

According to North Korean defector Park Yong-mi, born in 1993, their generation is called the “Changmadang generation.”

North Koreans of my age or younger are sometimes called the “Changmadang generation.” It’s because it was natural to buy and sell things in the market, and I don’t know the time when there was a national distribution (Park Yong-mi, “The Choice to Live”)

It is said that Changmadang not only sells goods but also prostitutes.

Songshin-dong’s farmers’ market was not only full of things but also many virgins and widows. Authorities opened such markets in order to supply shortages in distribution through market functions. However, there are many unusual deals.
Everything is gathered, including various items that come out illegally, items that are stolen from factories and offices, and items that are secretly pulled out and hidden by the factors of the sales office. It is said that even smuggled goods and foreign currency transactions will take place. What’s interesting is that women in their 30s and 40s can also prostitute in the dark.
Earlier, she said that while prostitutes were secretly prostituted, as were Jongju’s peddling women, many widows were quite old. “Mister, do you have a good item. Would you like to have a very fresh shell?” (Jang Ki-hong, North Korea: ordinary people)

In Changmadang, tramps called Kotjebi are hanging out to get food.

Children between the ages of three and four years old, about middle and high school students, are dressed in black and dirty clothes and are hanging out in the corner selling food. When the legs of a boiled crab that an adult eats fall to the ground, they reach for it, but adults do not give up. Wait for the adults to finish eating, and if the shells of the food debris and the shells of the feet are thrown away, will the children flock for it?
After a moment, a boy succeeded in sneaking the candy that a middle-aged woman had put on the street and sold. The seller’s woman shouts at the child and shouts her hand. But even if he eats a slap, he never tries to spit loot out of his mouth. (Jiro Ishimaru, Northern Salams)