Juche, also known as Kimilsungism- is the official government-sponsored ideology of North Korea. The name is Korean for self-reliance. Juche is based on Marxism and the teachings of Kim Il Sung and is often confused with Stalinism.

Juche is a philosophical idea that man is the master of everything and decides everything; that man is the master of the world and his own destiny.

It is said that this idea was rooted in Baekdu Mountain which symbolizes the spirit of the Korean people. Juche has been promoted by the North Korean government and educational system since the term was first used in a 1955 speech by Kim Il Sung.

The ideology consisted of two fundamental ideas: that the proletarian revolution belonged to the people, and that the masses must be organized by a great leader. In the 1970s, Kim introduced a refined analogy: that the leader is the brain to the body of the people, and that the Korean Workers’ Party is the nervous system that communicates with the brain on behalf of the people.

Juche was first conceived at a time when the USSR and the People’s Republic of China were vying for influence over North Korea’s internal affairs; many historians view the emergence of Juche as Kim Il Sung’s way of continually reasserting the state’s independence.

Many sociologists consider Juche to be a religious movement. The modern ideology indicates that adherents can achieve “immortal life” by shaping the “immortal state.” The leader, according to Juche literature, is “received,” in the same language that Korean Christians would “receive” communion. Juche authorities, however, state that the idea is a secular one.

Juche is practiced almost solely in North Korea, and it has been estimated that the number of practitioners in that country is close to 23 million.

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