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Korea - Divided by the 38th Parallel

The shadow cast by the enormous Kim-Il-Sung statue in Pyongyang surrounds a father and child. The Korean War is often referred to as The Forgotten War as a peace-treaty has never been signed, leaving the temporary agreement from 1953 still effective, dividing the peninsula by the 38th parallel.

©2014 Fredrik Härenstam

A group of musician prepare for this years drum festival in central Seoul. South and North Korea have grown apart since the division and the Koreans that grow up today no longer have a personal connection to the other side.

©2014 Fredrik Härenstam

October in the Fountain Park of central Pyongyang

©2014 Fredrik Härenstam

A wedding couple being photographed in the central park of Pyongyang.

©2014 Fredrik Härenstam

The advertising slots in the subway trains of Pyongyang are left empty in favour of the two portraits of the nation’s leaders. The trains originate from the DDR and witness of an era when the DPRK was an element of the socialist world, in contrast to its complete isolation today.

©2014 Fredrik Härenstam

Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is located just a few miles from the border and if, though unlikely, war was to ever brake out, Seoul would undoubtedly take the bigg blow.

©2014 Fredrik Härenstam

Chinese businessmen boarding a train at the Pyongyang central station. For North Koreans, leaving the DPRK is nearly impossible. While the south border is practically uncrossable, the northern border to China is more relaxed and eventhough crossings are still highly risky, they are doable.

©2014 Fredrik Härenstam

Largely due to American influence, since the division Christianity has exploded in South Korea. 30% of the population now adhere to the religion, Seol boasts 10 of the world’s 11 largest congregations and South Korea as a nation sends out the most missionaries in the world, second only to the US.

©2014 Fredrik Härenstam

Although there officially freedom of religion in the north, in reality there is none except that of the state and the worship of the Great Leader (Kim Il-Sung) and the Dear Leader (Kim Jong-il). 

Statue in Kaesong, North Korea’s next biggest city and closest to the 38th parallel.

©2014 Fredrik Härenstam

A propaganda poster on the north side of the famous border area of Panmunjom propagating for a unified Korean peninsula, marked with white flowers in the background.

©2014 Fredrik Härenstam

The DMZ is restricted area for South Korean civilians. This is as close to North Korea South Koreans are allowed and the fence is cluttered with flags in protest together with messages carrying hope for peace.

©2014 Fredrik Härenstam

As news of North Korea’s claimed nuclear test reach Seoul, protesters, mainly veterans and people from the Christian community, gather downtown to demonstrate amid massive media attention.

©2014 Fredrik Härenstam

In what seems a routine exercise, veterans gather and light candles for peace during a demonstration against North Korea’s nuclear test.

©2014 Fredrik Härenstam

There are forces on both sides of the parallel aiming at a unified Korea, but as time pass many question if it is doable and even desirable.

©2014 Fredrik Härenstam
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email: fredrik@harenstam.se

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