The Influence of North Korean Political Ideologies on the Integration of North Korean Defectors in South Korea
AbstractThis paper investigates how the political socialisation of North Korean defectors (NKDs) in North
Korea affects their adjustment in South Korea. This project is based on a survey of 106 NKDs and
interviews with some of the respondents and South Koreans who help NKDs. An account is given
of the history and resettlement of NKDs in South Korea, including the difficulties they experi-
ence. Furthermore, the paper describes the political ideology of self-reliance (Juche) and heavily
monitored lives to which NKDs have been exposed in North Korea.
The research finds that resettlement can be significantly affected by self-reliance ideology and
heavily monitored lives. When NKDs in South Korea realised the deceptive reality of self-reliance
ideology, they adjusted better than those who maintained the Juche point of view. Being brain-
washed by Kim Jong-il’s regime caused NKDs to develop distrust and become individualistic. Due
to having antipathy and hatred towards their enemies, they were inclined to be critical, aggressive,
and negative towards South Koreans. Many also held a Manichean mindset and tended to avoid
attending seminars and training meetings. The negative influences of their former lives in North
Korea have generally had a great effect on their resettlement in South Korea.