“Drugs to Fatten Pigs”… South Korea in the `60s

[imText1] In late August, one month after North Korea’s missile launch, the DailyNK obtained footage of the tense atmosphere in Pyongyang and has been reporting a series on this exclusive.

On passing Pyongyang security guards, the source relocated to Sariwon Jangmadang (markets) and was able to capture a footage on the lives of common citizens. Following the North Korean food crisis in the mid-90’s, Jangmadang where personal and business transactions take place, began to boom in city areas.

After 2000, Jangmadang spread to the regions of North Korea and in 2002, following the 7.1 Economic Management Measures, the North Korean government officially approved the markets to be called an “Integrated Market.”

There is such a diverse range of goods to purchase at Jangmadang that there is a saying in North Korea, “There is everything except a cat’s horns.” In particular, there is a great inflow of industrial goods that come from China, that even if the item is not top quality, it is still purchased as it is considered new.

Goods for sale range from toads to boas to preserved foods. There are even many stall holders selling strange medication such as “drugs to fatten pigs,” resembling drugs available at pharmacists in South Korean villages of the 60’s.

Furthermore, training suits, cosmetics, underwear and females goods can also be purchased.

At the back of Jangmadang, away from the regulation of security guards, street vendors who were unable to obtain an official stall commence “Grasshopper Jangmadang.” Here, there are traders who have an official permit to sell on the street and then others who are considered “grasshoppers.”

[imText4]In the picture top right, yellow toads are being sold. The toads have been dried.

Food vendors are selling artificial pot rice with meat (rice made from beans that taste like meat), fried tofu and noodles.

Rice dumplings which contain only tiny amounts of rice equivalent to your fifth finger and then fried with a layer of dough sells for 3 at 100won. As the ingredients are not filling, a male adult needs to eat at least 10 to satisfy his hunger, but the average person normally only buys 100wons worth.

Even “stimulants helping pigs grow fast” has appeared in the markets. The growth medicine was provided by the World Food Program as aid for the underdeveloped children of North Korea, but somehow slipped to the markets to be sold.

As there are many parents wanting to purchase this medicine for their children, the costs have risen significantly.

[imText5]A variety of cigarettes can be bought from cigarette vendors in Jangmadang from “cat cigarettes” to foreign cigarettes, though all are said to be counterfeits. The official name of the cigarette is “Craven,” however there is a drawing of a cat on the outer box of the cigarettes and so North Korean citizens simply call it “cat cigarettes.” A wooden pipe costs double a regular cigarette.

[imText6]A middle aged woman sits on top of a bag of rice with “Republic of Korea” written on it. The Korean rice is actually contained in another bag.

The source asks “Where is that rice from?” The seller replies “Ah, this one from the Republic of Korea?” in which the source asks again “Is this rice from the Republic of Korea?” and the seller replies “Ah, you mean this yellow bag that is opened?”

Food vendors call “Korean rice” as “imported rice”

“Grasshoppers” is one of the foods sold by sellers. Fried grasshoppers sell for 100won a cup and many people who cannot eat meat regularly purchase grasshoppers as a substitute.

[imText10]Male and female underwear is being sold. The funny thing is that training pants with a stripe down the side in fashion in South Korea is also being sold in North Korea. There is even a big variety of sunglasses on display.

[imText12]As a security guard is seen from a distance, vendors slowly wane from their positions. In the picture, the security guard is offered a box of cigarettes from a man who follows behind, but the guard throws it on the ground. The man following the security guards is offering cigarettes in return for the goods confiscated by the guard (held in hands). The cigarette box that was thrown on the ground is picked up placed in the man’s pocket and then the man continues to follow the guard in attempt to reason his situation.

A security guard shouts at the sellers “Are you still sitting there! Ah~ Really~! (getting angry)” and yells “Hey kid, why are you sitting there?” Also, to an elderly woman selling at a corner, he orders like a general “Go home, grandmother, go inside quickly, come on, quickly go back home.”

All industrial goods sold in stalls are made in China. Coal is being sold and according to the season, each unit sells for 100~200won.

Used books are also being sold. There is a variety books from textbooks to general knowledge. Of the books, there is a Windows XP users manual.

There is also a stall selling plastic bottles for 700~1000won. All the bottles have been brought from China.