Lookin' at
Some North
Korean Bags

A Pyongyang Home Companion No. 12 // The blog is back, baby, with a seasonal collection of North Korean bags

And the Koryo Tours Blog is back after a few week hiatus. We’ve been catching up on a few things around the office and getting a jump on this year’s reading.

Today we bring you a seasonal collection of sturdy bags compiled by Koryo Tours’ founder Nick Bonner over his 25 years of traveling to North Korea. Last year Nick published Made In North Korea (Phaidon Press) on everyday North Korean ephemera and graphic design – that’s things like food labels, brochures, New Year’s cards, and comics books. Some of Bonner’s collection, but not these bags below, are headed to London and will be on display at the House of Illustration from February 23 – May 13.

North Korea produces a wide range of bags for adults and schoolchildren. The most famous line is the ‘shoulder friend’ brand (어께동무), which is a Korean idiom for ‘good friend’ – a good friend is always nearby to give you a shoulder of support, so to speak. Creative branding, eh?

Children’s bags are particularly diverse and often are ornamented with characters from both Korean and foreign cartoons, such as the ‘Clever Raccoon Dog’ (령리한 누구리) and Micky Mouse. Disney's flagship mouse even made an appearance in the opening scene of the North Korean film A Schoolgirl's Diary (한녀학생의 일기, 2007).

See below for a recent Korean news story about the Pyongyang Bag Factory (평양가방공장).

A Pyongyang Home Companion is a guide to daily life in Korea: how-to, food, sports, modern culture, and romance.

And in case you remember this one circa the year 2000...Lookin' at a Thing in a Bag from the Homestar Runner.

I think I'm a cool guy too...

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