In North Korea, new textbooks are not used, and old ones from the previous year are being used.
The textbooks are re-used, old and yellowish. Even the prestigious Kim Sung-joo Elementary School uses textbooks from two years ago. At ordinary local elementary schools, two people look at a single textbook or use the textbook four to five years ago. In rural areas, some children go to school without textbooks or lunch boxes. North Korea’s textbooks are national textbooks and are to be distributed uniformly throughout the country, but they are simple and “priced-for-sale” and not free distribution like in Japan. If they can’t buy a textbook during the sale period, they have sometimes gone to the market and paid a lot of money to buy the textbook. (Toshio Miyazuka, Sumiko Miyazuka, “North Korea—Amazing Textbook”)
The following is the content of North Korean textbooks.
The textbooks target the United States, South Korea, and Japan, and every few pages the expression “two-legged wolf, Americans” appears. In the case of Korea, there are many expressions such as “puppet army”, and in Japan, “Japanese bastard”. (Lu Kinzhu, “North Korea Seen by a Girl”)
A poem entitled “Where are we going?” was published in the elementary reading for first-year students in the second grade.
“Where have we come? We are in the woods? Where are we going? We cross the hills. What are we doing? We will kill Japanese soldiers.”
One of the songs taught in the music class is “Shooting American Guys”. “Our enemies are American bastards; their ambitions are to rob us of our beautiful homeland. Let’s shoot them with our guns, bang bang bang.” (Barbara Demick, Nothing to Envy:Ordinary Lives in North Korea)
If the political direction changes, the content of the textbook changes, but it is done manually by the children.
Kim Il-sung’s confidants, such as Hopon Hak and Kim Chang-bong, were separated from each other. He was instructed to delete his name and information about them, and he remembers breaking the book, erasing only that part with ink, and punching with a knife. (Kim hyon-hui “as a woman”)