What is the “Songbun”?

North Korea is a class society, and each household is rated “Songbun.” The outline of the components is easy to understand from Toshio Miyazuka, a North Korean researcher.

The Kim Il Sung administration was not doing well from birth. It was a repetition of purging powers critical of Kim Il Sung’s policies. The Kim Il Sung administration said in an urgent call on May 30, 1958, the Korean Labor Party’s Standing Committee to eradicate the opposition, saying, “ The struggle with the anti-revolutionary anti-revolutionary elements was all-party, About developing as a movement. ”
Based on this resolution, the Central Party Concentration Project was developed from 1958 to 1960. This “business” is based on the assumption of a war with South Korea. The “core class” can trust the people on their side, the “upset class” cannot distinguish between enemy and ally, and the “hostile class” that is likely to become an enemy. It was classified into a hierarchy. The investigation was very severe, with about 15,000 households and 70,000 people being stigmatized as impure molecules and forcibly relocated to remote and remote areas, and more than 6,000 being branded as “anti-revolutionary” and “anti-party”. In the middle of a people’s trial, he was executed.
· Tomato class (core class) = Loyalty class supporting the Kim Il Sung regime, and it is said that most Pyongyang citizens belong to this class. They have cultural and economic benefits,
Even in North Korea, where the food crisis has been reported, 650-700 grams of rice and millet are distributed daily. Also known as “tomato hierarchy” (both skin and contents are red). Thirty percent of the population.
・ Grape stratum (hostile stratum) = The hostile stratum, which occupies approximately 30% of the same number as the core stratum, is called the “grape stratum” (neither skin nor its contents are red), and once an emergency occurs (war in Korea or in the country) of
(E.g., anti-revolutionary riots) are said to be the first to turn away from the current administration. Hierarchy most dissatisfied with the current system. They are inhabited in rural coal mines and mining areas.
・ Apple hierarchy (shaking hierarchy) = A shaking hierarchy that does not belong to any of the above is called an “apple hierarchy” (the skin is red but the contents are white, and it has a reactive element, but it is necessary to improve the thought) hand,
It accounts for about forty percent of the total population.
Songbun is best for subordinates who fought with Kim Il Sung as an anti-Japanese partisan, followed by those who have been involved in the Communist struggle, thirdly workers, and fourthly poor peasants. Conversely, Songbun, the worst, is a landowner (51st), followed by a family of capitalists (50), wealthy farmers (49), middle farmers (48), and Vietnamese (who fled to Korea) ( 47), the family of the executioner (46), Christians (45). In addition, the pro-Japanese family (38) who were more than the mayor during the colonial era, the families of overseas vegetation overseas (28), the maids and geishas (25), and the overseas vegetation in Japan (24) are not good. (“North Korea Tour Report”)

The following is a description of the defectors.

It stipulates the social status and status of inhabitants in detail, and is divided into “origin” and “social”. The origin is determined by the hierarchy and occupation that goes back up to three generations.
(Jang Ki-hong, “North Korea: ordinary people”)
The commoners in the north do not actually use the word “Songbun”, but rather “the base”. (Kim Jing, “Introduction to North Korea”
Songbun has more than fifty categories in three main classes. After adulthood, Songbun is constantly monitored and corrected by authorities. Neighborhood reports and police investigations have left the authorities informed of everything they did and their families. Everything about me is recorded and kept at local governing bodies and national agencies. Based on that, you decide where you can live, where you can go to school, and where you can work. If Songbun is good, you can join the Korean Labor Party and connect with political powers. Go to a good university and get a good job.
If Songbun is bad, you end up cultivating rice fields on a collective farm. And if they become famines, they die of starvation. (Park Yong-mi, “The Choice to Live”)
My father’s origin was not bad. He was born to the poorest son of a poor farmer in a remote area of Hamgyongnam-do, but was closely related to Cho Jong-chul, a well-known independent fighter and commander of the Navy.
He was able to enter Pyongyang Academy (now Kim Il Sung University of Politics) and major in Russian. (Cho Ying Ho “Carrots”)
“The base is also the flow of Mt. Baekdu (Kim Il Sung’s partisan struggle) and is a very fine lineage (Chokpo). Perhaps no one in the republic has a perfect base like Song Il.”
The genealogy refers to the traditional pedigree of Korea, which is a major part of the clan, but also includes achievements from ancient times. But in this case, he is referring to his grandfather’s partisan struggle.
(Ju Sung-il, North Korean People’s Army: Living Hell’s Hyoei)

The following is a quote from journalist Barbara Demick:

In North Korea, it was obvious that men and women and their class were not told to others. In particular, complaining about his Songbun was equal to criticism of the regime. (Barbara Demick, Living in a Closed Nation)