Juche is the only government-recognized ideology within North Korea. Not traditionally considered a religion, but more of a combination of philosophy, educational strategy, and religious practices, Juche could be described as a nationalist, secular, ethical ideology. Juche, literally "main body," has often been translated within North Korea as meaning "independent stand" or "self-reliance." Created in 1955 by North Korean President Kim Il-Sung, traditional Juche holds that even though humanity is independent and the primary agent in its own destiny, it also contains a collective unconsciousness grounded in the "Great Leader." Juche teaches that the North Korean people need to be organized and guided by the "Great Leader," who was Kim Il-Sung himself. Many consider Juche to be a personality cult created by Il-Sung to promote himself, his family, and his ideas. As a social and political ideology, many of the components of Juche are similar to Marxism as well as some Communist ideologies of China (Maoism) and the former U.S.S.R. (Leninism). Originally constructed as an ideology to assist North Korea with its independence, Juche also claims to be an ideology to assist other developing countries with understanding and developing their true independence. Juche ideology developed further in 1994 when General Secretary Kim Jong-il, Kim Il-Sung's son and successor, added some of the ethical components of Confucianism to Juche, including doctrines addressing material possessions, family values, and self-sacrifice. Even though small pockets of Juche have developed in other countries, the great majority of Juche followers live in North Korea.

Quick Facts

Formed 1955
Adherents 20,000,000
Deity None (variously Kim Il-sung or Kim Jong-il)
Sacred Text Various, including the Confucian canon (Marxist texts for bidden, but used sources)
Origin North Korea
Headquarters North Korea
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