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The award system of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) was initially created less than one month after the foundation of the Republic. During the years of Japanese Occupation of North Korea, many of the future leaders fled to the Soviet Union. During World War II many if not close to all party leaders and KPA commanders served in the Soviet Army and as such adopted many of the Soviet Awards criteria for their own. During the late 1940s and until the Sino-Soviet Split in late 1958, orders and titles were made in the Soviet Money Mints in Moscow or Leningrad. Soviet made awards were modeled after Soviet orders and made of sterling silver. Initially the Orders were attached to clothing with a screw-plate, but after Soviet production stopped, production was moved to North Korea. The screwback was replaced with a pin and the silver content was replaced with cheap tin. With the exception of a few examples of modern orders, Soviet and Czech KPA awards are the most sought after in current militaria markets.

Titles

Award
Name
(English/Korean/Transliteration)
Date Created
Description
Hero of the Republic
공화국영웅
Konghwaguk Yŏng'ung
1950-06-30 The "Hero of the Republic" was the highest award of the Democratic People's Republic Of Korea until the Order of Kim Il-Sung was established in 1972. Awarded for extreme heroic exploits during war. The recipient is also awarded with the Order of the National Flag 1st Class which was the nation's highest Order until the Order of Kim Il-Sung. Along with the Gold Star and Order the Recipient is also honoured with the erection of a personal statue at their birthplace. This award is based upon the Soviet award "Hero of the Soviet Union".
Hero of Labour
로력영웅
Roryŏk Yŏng'ung
1951-07-17 This title was the highest civilian award until the establishment of the Order of Kim Il-Sung in 1972. Awarded for exceptional merit and efficiency in professional labour. The recipient of this title was also awarded the Order of the National Flag 1st Class which was also the nation's highest order until the Order of Kim Il-Sung. This award is based upon the Soviet award "Hero of Socialist Labour".

Orders

Order And Ribbon
Name
(English/Korean/Transliteration)
Date Created
Description

Order of Kim Il-sung
김일성 훈장
Kim Ilsŏng Hunjang
1972-03-20 The Order of Kim Il-sung is the highest decoration of the country. It is awarded for contributions to the revolution or upholding the dignity of the country at home or abroad. It is usually awarded around April 15 (Day of the Sun, the birthday of Kim Il-sung). Kim Jong-il was its first recipient, although he rejected the order first.[1]


Order of Kim Jong-il
김정일 훈장
Kim Chŏngil Hunjang
2012-02-03 With the issuance of Decree 2150 by the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly on 3 February 2012, the Order of Kim Jong-il was created for the 70th anniversary of his birth. The order measures 67mm in length and 65mm in width. It features the portrait of Kim Jong-il in the centre of golden ears of rice above a shining five-point star, the flag of the DPRK below and the emblem of the Workers' Party of Korea above with an engraving of "Order of Kim Jong-il" on the back with pin and serial number. It is made to give commendation to officials, service personnel, working people, military units, organs, enterprises, and organizations who provided distinguished service to the DPRK. The order ribbon is similar to the Order of Kim Il-sung in colour and the star at the centre, but its design is different.

Order of the National Flag
1st Class

국기훈장 제1급
Kukki Hunjang
Che il-gŭp
1948-10-02 Until the creation of the Order of Kim Il-sung in 1972, the highest order of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The ONF was based on the awarding criteria of the Soviet Order of the Badge of Honour. Awards were present to those that exemplified themselves in the fields of Science, Economics, and teachings of Socialist Ideologies.[citation needed]

Order of the National Flag
2nd Class

국기훈장
제2급

Kukki Hunjang
Che i-gŭp
1948-10-02 Order ribbon has 2 gold stripes indicating 2nd Class.

Order of the National Flag
3rd Class

국기훈장
제3급

Kukki Hunjang
Che sam-gŭp
1948-10-02 Order ribbon has 3 small gold stripes indicating 3rd Class.
Order of Korean Labour
조선로력훈장
Chosŏn Roryŏk Hunjang
1951-07-17 For efficient and meritorious professional labour.

Notable recipients:

Soldier's Medal of Honour
1st Class

전사영예훈장
제1급

Chŏnsa Yŏng'ye Hunjang
Che il-gŭp
1950-06-25 For acts of individual gallantry in combat. The insignia design is similar to the Soviet Union Order of the Red Star (soldier on central crest encircled with wreaths) and Order of the Patriotic War (Red enamel five-pointed star, made of gold/silver, with straight rays in the background, and crossed sabre and a rifle) combined.
Soldier's Medal of Honour
2nd Class

전사영예훈장
제2급

Chŏnsa Yŏng'ye Hunjang
Che i-gŭp
1950-06-25
Order of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin
1st Class

이순신장군훈장
제1급

I Sunsin Changgun Hunjang
Che il-gŭp
1950-07-13 Conferred upon flag officers and navy commanders for outstanding leadership. The 1st class is never issued and the order is discontinued. Believed to be based on the Soviet Union equivalent Order of Ushakov or Order of Nakhimov.[citation needed]

Order of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin
2nd Class

이순신장군훈장 제2급
I Sunsin Changgun Hunjang
Che i-gŭp

Order of Freedom and Independence
1st Class

자유독립훈장 제1급
Sayu Tongnip Hunjang
Che il-gŭp
1951-07-17 The original screwplate or pin back awards were given to Division, Corp or Army field commanders for achievement in battle. The medal was awarded to commanders in both the KPA and the PLA. During the reign of Kim Jong Il, the award became a necktie style, has lost its battlefield prestige and given for reason more political than military. Awarded to Regiment or lower formation commanders for skill in battle.

Order of Freedom and Independence
2nd Class

자유독립훈장 제2급
Sayu Tongnip Hunjang
Che i-gŭp
Order of Military Service Honour
1st Class

군사복무영예훈장
제1급

Kunsa Pongmu Yŏng'ye Hunjang
Che il-gŭp
1973-07-03
Order of Military Service Honour
2nd Class

군사복무영예훈장
제2급

Kunsa Pongmu Yŏng'ye Hunjang
Che i-gŭp
Order of Military Service Honour
3rd Class

군사복무영예훈장
제3급

Kunsa Pongmu Yŏng'ye Hunjang
Che sam-gŭp
Order of Colliery Service Honour
1st Class

석탄광업복무영예훈장
제1급

Sŏkt'an Kwang'ŏp Pongmu Yŏng'ye Hunjang
Che il-gŭp
1973-09-03
Order of Colliery Service Honour
2nd Class

석탄광업복무영예훈장
제2급

Sŏkt'an Kwang'ŏp Pongmu Yŏng'ye Hunjang
Che i-gŭp
Order of Colliery Service Honour
3rd Class

석탄광업복무영예훈장
제3급

Sŏkt'an Kwang'ŏp Pongmu Yŏng'ye Hunjang
Che sam-gŭp
Order of Military Engineering Service Honour
10 Years

군수공복무영예훈장
10

Kunsugong Pongmu Yŏng'ye Hunjang
sip
Awarded to veteran military engineers, enlisted, NCOs and officers in the KPA for 10 years service in military engineering service
Order of Military Engineering Service Honour
20 Years

군수공복무영예훈장
20

Kunsugong Pongmu Yŏng'ye Hunjang
isip
Awarded to veteran military engineers, enlisted, NCOs and officers in the KPA for 20 years service in military engineering service
Order of Military Engineering Service Honour
30 Years

군수공복무영예훈장
30

Kunsugong Pongmu Yŏng'ye Hunjang
samsip
Awarded to veteran military engineers, enlisted, NCOs and officers in the KPA for 30 years service in military engineering service
Order of Fishery Service Honour
1st Class

수산복무영예훈장
제1급

Susan Pongmu Yŏng'ye Hunjang
Che il-gŭp
Order of Fishery Service Honour
2nd Class

수산복무영예훈장
제2급

Susan Pongmu Yŏng'ye Hunjang
Che i-gŭp
Order of Railway Service Honour
1st Class

철도복무영예훈장
제1급

Ch'ŏldo Pongmu Yŏng'ye Hunjang
Che il-gŭp
Order of Railway Service Honour
2nd Class

철도복무영예훈장
제2급

Ch'ŏldo Pongmu Yŏng'ye Hunjang
Che i-gŭp
Order of Railway Service Honour
3rd Class

철도복무영예훈장
제3급

Ch'ŏldo Pongmu Yŏng'ye Hunjang
Che sam-gŭp
Order of Democratic People's Republic of Korea Friendship
1st Class

조선민주주의인민공화국친선훈장
제1급

Chosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk Ch'insŏn Hunjang
Che il-gŭp
1985 Awarded only to non-nationals. Including;

Antonio InokiJapan on 2010-09-15

Order of Democratic People's Republic of Korea Friendship
2nd Class

조선민주주의인민공화국친선훈장
제2급

Chosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk Ch'insŏn Hunjang
Che i-gŭp
Awarded only to non-nationals. Including;
Alejandro Cao de Benos Spain,[3]
Norbert Vollertsen Germany in 1999[4]
Ellsworth Culver United States on 2006-01-10[5]
Liu Xiaoming China on 2010-02-03.[citation needed]


Order of the Red Banner Of Three Great Revolutions
3대혁명붉은기훈장
Sam Tae Hyŏngmyŏng Pulg'ŭngi Hunjang
1986-11-20
Order of Teacher's Honor
1st Class
2008-04-10 Awarded to teachers who have devotedly worked to implement Kim Il-sung's Theses on Socialist Education[6]
Order of Teacher's Honor
2nd Class
Order of Teacher's Honor
3rd Class
Order of Kunjari Working Class
2016-04-07 Awarded to munitions industry officials and workers who have distinguished themselves in the Kunjari Working Class mass campaign[7]

Commemorative orders

Order And Ribbon
Name
(English/Korean/Transliteration)
Date Created
Description
Commemorative Order "Anniversary of the Foundation of the People's Army"
조선인민군창건기념훈장
Chosŏn Inmin'gun Ch'anggŏn Kinyŏm Hunjang
1968-01-25 This order was originally dated 1968.2.8 for the 20th anniversary and also a screw-back (the only screw-back commemorative order), later variations are pin back and undated for the 40th and 50th anniversaries. This order could be awarded to an individual up to three times, especially if he/she is a veteran or retired officer or NCO of the KPA in recognition of services given to the country.
Commemorative Order "20th Anniversary of the Foundation of the Democratic People's Republic Of Korea"
조선민주주의인민공화국창건20주년기념훈장
Chosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk Ch'anggŏn Isip Chunyŏn Ginyŏm Hunjang
1968-05-24 This order was awarded only once per recipient and dated 1968.9.9. on the reverse. Awarded to people who helped found the DPRK in 1948 as well as those who contributed to national defense, development and progress in the past 20 years.
Commemorative Order "Foundation of the Democratic People's Republic Of Korea"
조선민주주의인민공화국창건기념훈장
Chosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk Ch'anggŏn Kinyŏm Hunjang
1978 This commemorative order was issued on the 30th and 40th anniversaries of the foundation of the DPRK. It was only awarded a maximum of twice to a single recipient. The obverse of this order is identical to the 20th Anniversary Commemorative Order but is not dated on the reverse.
Commemorative Order "40th Anniversary Of Fatherland Liberation War Victory"
조국해방전쟁승리40돐기념훈장
Choguk Haebang Chǒnjaeng Sŭngri Sasip-dol Kinyŏm Hunjang
1993
Commemorative Order "5th March"
3월5일기념훈장
Sam-wŏl O-il Kinyŏm Hunjang
1986-03-03
Commemorative Order "30th Anniversary of the Agricultural Presentation"
농촌데제발표30돐년기념훈장
Nongch'onde Chebal P'yo Samsip-dolnyŏn Kinyŏm Hunjang
1990
Commemorative Order "60th Anniversary of the People's Army"
조선인민군창건60돐기념훈장
Chosŏn Inmin'gun Ch'anggŏn Yusip-dol Kinyŏm Hunjang
1992
Commemorative Order "Capital Construction"
수도건설기념훈장
Sudo Kŏnsŏl Kinyŏm Hunjang
1992
Commemorative Order "50th Anniversary of the Foundation of the Democratic People's Republic Of Korea"
조선민주주의인민공화국창건50돐년기념훈장
Chosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk Ch'anggŏn Osip-dolnyŏn Kinyŏm Hunjang
1998
Commemorative Order "60th Year Anniversary Of the Fatherland Liberation War Victory"
조국해방전쟁승리60돐기념훈장
Choguk Haebang Chǒnjaeng Sŭngri Yusip-dol Kinyŏm Hunjang
2013-04-24[8]
The newest state commemorative medal, issued to all Korean War veterans

Medals

Medal And Ribbon
Name
(English/Korean/Transliteration)
Date Created
Description

Medal For Military Merit [ko]
군공메달
Kun'gong Medal
1949-07-13 Awarded to more than 500,000 Koreans and more than 400,000 Chinese during the Korean War.[9]

Medal of Labor Merit
공로메달
Kongro Medal
1949-07-13 Awarded for meritorious labour service.
Medal Of Military Service Honour
군사복무영예메달
Kunsa Pongmu Yŏng'ye Medal
1973-07-03
Medal For Agricultural Merits
농업공로메달
Nong'ŏp Kongro Medal
1974-12-24
Medal Of Friendship of the Democratic People's Republic Of Korea
조선민주주의인민공화국친선메달
Chosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk Ch'insŏn Medal
1985

Commemorative medals

Medal And Ribbon
Name
(English/Korean/Transliteration)
Date Created
Description

Medal for the Liberation of Korea
조선 1945.8.15
Chosŏn 1945.8.15 [10][circular reference]
1948-10-16[9] Awarded for participation in the Korean independence armies. 10,000 awarded by 1949.[9]
Commemorative Medal "Great Fatherland Liberation War 1950–1953"
위대한조국해방전쟁을기념메달 1950–1953
Widaehan Choguk Haebang Chǒnjaeng'ŭl Kinyŏm Medal 1950–1953
1953-08-15 Awarded to all active and reserve enlisted personnel, non-commissioned officers, officers, generals and admirals of the KPA who participated in the Korean War of 1950–53.
Commemorative Medal "Participation In The Fatherland Liberation War 1950–1953"
조국해방전쟁참전기념메달 1950–1953
Choguk Haebang Chǒnjaeng Ch'amjŏn Kinyŏm Medal 1950–1953
1953-08-15 Awarded to all active and reserve enlisted personnel, non-commissioned officers, officers, generals and admirals of the KPA who participated in the Korean War of 1950–53.
Commemorative Medal "Fatherland Liberation"
조국해방기념메달
Choguk Haebang Kinyŏm Medal
Awarded to all active and reserve enlisted personnel, non-commissioned officers, officers, generals and admirals of the KPA who participated in the Korean War of 1950–53.
Commemorative Medal "The Foundation of the People's Republic Of Korea"
조선민주주의인민공화국창건기념메달
Chosŏn Inmin'gun Ch'anggŏn Kinyŏm Medal
Commemorative Medal "20th Anniversary Of Chongryon (General Association Of Korean Residents In Japan)"
20총련기념메달
Isip Ch'ŏngryŏn Ch'anggŏn Kinyŏm Medal
1975-05-20
Commemorative Medal "Cheonggang Power Plant Dam Construction"
정강산발전소건설기념메달
Chŏnggang Sanbaljŏnso Kŏnsŏl Kinyŏm Medal
1990
Commemorative Medal "Capital Construction"
수도건설기념메달
Sudo Kŏnsŏl Kinyŏm Medal
1992
Commemorative Medal "Mt. Kumgang Power Plant Construction""
[9]
Commemorative Medal "Pyongyang-Nampho Highway Construction"
평양-남포고속도로건설기념메달
P'yŏngyang-Namp'o Kosoktoro Kŏnsŏl Kinyŏm Medal
Commemorative Medal "Military Parade"
열병식기념메달
Yŏlbyŏngsik Kinyŏm Medal
Awarded to military units taking part in the various military parades in commemoration of state holidays.
Commemorative Medal "Huicheon Power Plant Construction"
희천발전소건설기념메달
Huichŏn Paljŏnso Kŏnsŏl Kinyŏm Medal
2011-10-23
Commemorative Medal "Paektusan Youth Power Station Construction"
백두산청년발전소건설기념메달
Paektusan Chongnyon Paljŏnso Kŏnsŏl Kinyŏm Medal
2016

Prizes

Medal And Ribbon
Name
(English/Korean/Transliteration)
Date Created
Description
Kim Il-sung Prize
[11]
Kim Jong-il Prize
International Kim Il-sung Prize
1993-04-13 [12]
International Kim Jong-il Prize
2012-12-24 [12]
Kim Il-sung Youth Honor Prize
[13]
Kim Il-sung Children Honor Prize
[14]
Kim Jong-il Youth Honor Prize
[15]
Kim Jong-il Children Honor Prize
[15]
National Reunification Prize
1990
People's Prize
[16]
February 16 Science and Technology Prize
[17]
Technical Innovation Torch Prize
[18]
Machine Prize
[18]

Badges

Medal And Ribbon
Name
(English/Korean/Transliteration)
Date Created
Description
Commemorative Badge "20th Anniversary of the Foundation of the People's Army"
조선인민군창건20주년기념휘장
Chosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk Ch'anggŏn Isip Chunyŏn Kinyŏm Hwijang
1968-02-08
Chollima Honour Badge
천리마 영예 휘장
Ch'ŏllima Yŏng'ye Hwijang
1968

Honorary titles

Honorary titles include:

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ Yonhap News Agency (27 December 2002). North Korea Handbook. Seoul: M.E. Sharpe. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-7656-3523-5.
  2. ^ Dong-Sam Sin (2016) Die Planung des Wiederaufbaus der Städte Hamhung und Hungnam in Nordkorea durch die DAG-Städtebaubrigade der DDR von 1955 - 1962. A dissertation for HafenCity Universität Hamburg
  3. ^ "Democratic People's Republic of Korea_Juche Korea". korea-dpr.com. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Past news". kcna.co.jp. Archived from the original on 12 October 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  5. ^ "Ellsworth Culver honored by North Korea for life's work | Mercy Corps". mercycorps.org. Archived from the original on 21 February 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Order and Medal of Teacher's Honor Instituted". KCNA. 19 April 2008. Archived from the original on 24 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Order of Kunjari Working Class Newly Instituted in DPRK". KCNA. 12 April 2016. Archived from the original on 24 November 2019.
  8. ^ "The 60th Anniversary of the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Order and Its Miniature Decoration". Korea Today. Vol. 685 no. 7. 2013. ISSN 0454-4072.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Weiser, Martin (8 January 2016). "Chests Full of Brass: A DPRK Political History in Orders, Medals, Prizes, and Titles". Sino-NK. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  10. ^ ru:Медаль «За освобождение Кореи»
  11. ^ a b c Michael Breen (1 February 2012). Kim Jong-Il, Revised and Updated: Kim Jong-il: North Koreas Dear Leader, Revised and Updated Edition. John Wiley & Sons. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-118-15377-2. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  12. ^ a b "International Kim Il Sung Prize and International Kim Jong Il Prize". Uriminzokkiri. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  13. ^ a b c "Asian Football Business Review: North Korea's winning U-20 women receive awards". asianfootballbusiness.com. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  14. ^ Kim Da Seul (22 June 2012). "Kim Il Sung's Image on Medals Changed". Daily NK. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  15. ^ a b "Kim Jong Il Youth Honor Prize, Kim Jong Il Children Honor Prize Awarded". KCNA. 14 February 2019. Archived from the original on 23 November 2019.
  16. ^ a b c Sin Sik Chai; Jong Hun Hyon (1980). Cultural policy in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Unesco. p. 37. ISBN 978-92-3-101645-5. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  17. ^ Rim, Sang Jun (2019). "Distinguished PhD in Materials Science". Korea Today. Vol. 759 no. 9. p. 20. ISSN 0454-4072.
  18. ^ a b Sessler, Warren E.; McDaniel, Paul (2009). Military and Civil Awards of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). Henderson, Nevada: Sessler Incorporated. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-615-28482-8.
  19. ^ a b Valérie Gelézeau; Koen De Ceuster; Alain Delissen (2 May 2013). De-Bordering Korea: Tangible and Intangible Legacies of the Sunshine Policy. Routledge. p. 160. ISBN 978-1-136-19253-1. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  20. ^ History of Revolutionary Activities of Chairman Kim Jong Il. Pyongyang: Foreign Languages Publishing House. 2015. p. 327. ISBN 978-9946-0-1309-1.
  21. ^ Min Yong Hwa. "Introduction". pulbora.edu.kp. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  22. ^ "Moranbong Middle School No. 1". naenara.com.kp. 11 February 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2016.

Sources

  • Boik, William A. (2008). Orders, Decorations, and Medals of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Springfield, VA: DBMPress.com. ISBN 978-0-615-19087-7.

Further reading

  • "The Bizarre Award Given to the Machineries and Equipment in North Korea". Koryo Tours. 23 October 2019.
  • Cabral, David L. (2000). Orders and Decorations of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Orders and Medals Society of America Monograph Series No. 8 (2nd ed.). San Ramon.
  • Chang, Robin C. (2007). "Unusual 'Heroes' of North Korea" (PDF). JOMSA: The Journal of the Orders and Medals Society of America. 58 (6): 36–37. ISSN 0025-6633.
  • Ingraham, Kevin R. (1993). Honors, Medals and Awards of the Korean War 1950-1953 (1st ed.). Binghampton: Prospect Press. ISBN 0-9635795-0-9.
  • Lankov, Andrei (2014). "Honoring the Order of Medals". North of the DMZ: Essays on Daily Life in North Korea. Jefferson: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-5141-8.
  • Sainty, Guy Stair; Heydel-Mankoo, Rafal, eds. (2006). "Korea, Democratic People's Republic of (North)". World Orders of Knighthood and Merit. 2. Wilmington: Burke's Peerage & Gentry. ISBN 978-0-9711966-7-4.
  • Werlich, Robert (1990). "Korea". Orders and Decorations of All Nations: Ancient and Modern, Civil and Military (2nd ed.). Washington: Quaker Press. OCLC 55357779.