Women, Soccer, and North Korea

  on Google Maps, North Korea is nothing but a blank spot

So right now I am watching the Women's Soccer World Cup, which is held in Germany this year. It's Sweden vs. North Korea. It's the 87th minute and Sweden is in the lead with 1:0. Just a regular match? Well what is really interesting about this match is that for the North Korean team it is by far more than just a game. Sport Journalists report that the players are hardly ever seen outside of the soccer field or their hotel and even though they live in the same hotel as their opponent Sweden, the swedish players have not seen the North Korean players at all prior to the match. Apparently they are not allowed to talk to the press, or anyone else outside the team. In an interview with the press the North Korean trainer Kim Kwang-min only answered one question: "What do the members of the team do in their free time?" To this he then replied: "Well, they are allowed to leave the hotel for a little while and walk around for a bit, but not too far."

By the way, the match is now over and Sweden won. This is the second match North Korea lost (the first one was against the United States) so they are now out of the competition and have to fly back home early. As usual, there are no interviews or press statements, but reports about possible punishments for the players back home have been made public after previous World Cups.

I must say I feel really sorry and strange about this whole thing. Why does North Korea even compete in these kinds of sport events when they still hold their people captive even in foreign countries. And how must the players feel when seeing the world, especially countries like Germany for the first time?


  1. Nice work on the template redesign, Lixi. Love the barcode.

    As for North Korea sports, I'm just as confused as you. The thought of the young women returning home to punishment for not winning is very sad.

    On the other hand, I've heard that the North Korea state turns those who do well in international sport into national heroes - complete with a secured future and life of relative luxury.

    That country such a mystery. Just now I've started to wonder what sort of social media and internet penetration exists there. Probably not much.

  2. I believe that there is hardly any or no social media in NK. However it is always hard to imagine a foreign place when you have never been there before. Especially a place like North Korea that is so sheltered from the outside world. It is crazy to think that with all this technology out there and with all the countries being more closely connected through the Net, that there is a place that has managed to completely stay out of this trend.

    I quickly ran a search in Facebook and there are actually a few people who are located in North Korea. I must say that is a surprise to me. I actually thought Facebook might be blocked there, as it is in most parts of China. I'd definitely like to find out more about this.