More specifically, what is Liberation Day in North Korea?

The national Liberation of Korea is annually celebrated on August 15 in both South and North Korea. It is the only national holiday celebrated by both.

On the 15th August 1945, following the allied victory over the Japanese empire at the end of World War Two, emperor Hirohito gave a radio address announcing the surrender of Japan.

The History

The Japanese had brutally occupied the Korean peninsula for the proceeding 35 years. During this time, Korean culture, history and language were marginalised and its people and resources exploited.

Following the fall of Japan, the US and Soviets moved in to fill the power vacuum establishing governments in the south and north respectively.

Three years later in 1948, the republic of Korea was established in the south and the Democratic People’s Republic was created in the North. Since then both Korea’s have moved in radically different directions politically, but have still celebrated Liberation Day annually. 

How is it celebrated?

In the north it’s usually celebrated with pomp and circumstance on the big anniversaries – 50th, 60th, 75th etc. 

To mark the 70th anniversary in 2015, North Korean leader Marshal Kim Jong Un changed the timezone by 30 minutes to the original “Korea time” – back before the Japanese changed the timezone to Tokyo time. This decision was reversed in 2018 following warming relations with the South. It was announced as a conciliatory measure and a first step to national reunification. 

Also in 2015 fireworks, concerts and mass dancing were performed in Kim Il Sung Square to the delight of locals and tourists alike. Even Slovenian rockers Laibach famously performed in Pyongyang – thus becoming the first ever foreign heavy metal band to play in North Korea.

Liberation day 2020

2020 promises to top all of that with a military parade & mass games in Mayday Stadium all being muted by officials. Our Liberation Day in North Korea tour will take in all of that and more. There’s no better time of year to visit the country as we travel to both coasts of the peninsula and hit up the beaches too. We’ll also spend an afternoon at Munsu Water Park to escape the summer heat.

It’s going to be a big one so join us in August for the trip of a lifetime!