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March 12, 2022

Pictures of North Korea Industries in 1972

In June 1972, The Toronto Star’s veteran Asia correspondent Mark Gayn was one of four reporters allowed into North Korea. The trip yielded four lengthy feature stories, published in The Star in July 1972, where Gayn detailed the country’s political landscape, then dominated by Kim Il Sung, and its people.

These photos are among the many Gayn took of his journeys through the country. These particular photos spotlight the various industries of North Korea. At the time, Gayn writes, his North Korean hosts, the Union of Journalists, were trying to convey that North Korea “is a sort of Asian Belgium, industrialized, sophisticated, well-off,” and that Kim Il Sung had abolished manual labor in the countryside.

Gayn, however, saw things differently. “If this is a modern industrial state,” he writes, “its way of life and its daily idiom are unfamiliar to a man from the West. It is also clear that Kim’s North Korea is a welfare state to make most Communist states seem bourgeois.”

Medical facility. June 1972, Pyongyang, North Korea.

Automated shoe factory. June 1972, Pyongyang, North Korea.

Textile mill. June 1972, Pyongyang, North Korea.

“Modern” industrial printing factory. June 1972, North Korea.

Large kindergarten for taking care of women laborers’ and office workers’ children. June 1972, North Korea.

Hungsan military supplies co-operative farm dispensary. June 1972, Hamhung, North Korea.

Medical equipment factory. June 1972, North Korea.

Pharmaceutical factory. June 1972, North Korea.

Clerks selling canned strawberry, watermelon, vegetables, bottles of juice, etc. June 1972, Pyongyang, North Korea.

Trains made by Kim Jong Tae Electric Locomotive Factory. June 1972, Pyongyang, North Korea.

Fertilizer plant. June 1972, Hamhung, North Korea.

Fertilizer plant. June 1972, Hamhung, North Korea.




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