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Hwang Jang Yop

The late Hwang Jang Yop (황장엽), the founder of North Korea’s Juche ideology, defected from North Korea and became a leader of the North Korean democracy movement.

Born in South Pyongan Province in 1923, Hwang was selected by the newly founded North Korean regime and sent to the Soviet Union to study philosophy at Moscow State University. Upon returning to North Korea, Hwang taught philosophy at Kim Il-Sung University.

Hwang was the main architect of the Juche ideology, and, in 1965, he became the president of Kim Il-Sung University.

In the 1970s and 80s, he served in various capacities in the top echelons of North Korea’s ruling party and government, including as Chairman of the Supreme People’s Assembly and Secretary of International Relations in the Korean Workers Party.

However, Hwang’s disenchantment toward the North Korean regime grew, and he finally decided to defect from the regime that had distorted his original ideology – which viewed human beings as the leaders and creators of history – and used it as a tool of dictatorship.

Hwang came to South Korea in 1997 and worked tirelessly to promote democracy and human rights in North Korea, including serving as senior advisor to NKnet. Hwang passed away in 2010, not able to witness democratization of North Korea.

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