The Ongoing Korean War at the Sinch’ŏn Museum in North Korea

Sunghoon Han, Yonsei University
Firearms used by anti-Communist right-wing youths in Sinch’ŏn, Sinch’ŏn Museum. Source: Mizuno Naoki (Kyoto University)
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This essay analyzes the Sinch’ŏn Massacre and its memorialization at the Sinch’ŏn Museum of American War Atrocities in North Korea by placing the massacre within the context of North Korea’s political history. The museum illustrates Pyongyang’s perspective on the Korean War as a “war of liberation” and the museum’s role in the political education of the North Korean people, not simply as victims of American war atrocities but as “martyrs” and model citizens. Within the geopolitics of confrontation between North Korea and the United States since the Korean War, the Sinch’ŏn Museum has served to foster anti-American nationalism in North Korea. While the museum has served this specific purpose within the North Korean context, it should be compared with other examples of war memorialization that serve the function of identity formation for a sense of national unity.

Keywords: North Korea, Sinch’ŏn Massacre, Sinch’ŏn Museum, war memorials, martyrdom, patriotism, anti-Americanism, nationalism


I did visit the museum on a visit to NK c. 2000. Have impressions and photos if interested.