For decades, the daily life of North Koreans has remained a mystery. Few foreign journalists have been allowed into country, and North Koreans are rarely allowed to leave. The regime has relied on an oppressive surveillance apparatus to sustain its power and limit the flow of information.
But some journalists have been able to evade the censorship. Suki Kim, an American novelist and investigative journalist, spent months undercover inside the country, working as an English teacher at a boarding school for North Korea’s young elites. Her reportage captured an unprecedented portrait of the country, showing the hopes, dreams and lies of North Korean youth.
This week on the Breakthrough, Suki Kim takes us behind the closed borders of the Hermit Kingdom and reveals how she became one of the first reporters to go undercover in North Korea.
Enjoy the podcast and want more? Dive deeper into this week’s episode:
- Read Suki Kim’s book, “Without You, There Is No Us.”
- Watch part of the New York Philharmonic concert in Pyongyang.
- Take a look at a New York Times piece detailing the reaction to her book.
- Read Suki Kim’s thoughts on the reaction to her book in “The Reluctant Memoirist.”
Have an idea for The Breakthrough? Send us your suggestions — including which reporters we should ask to talk with us. Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.