20+ Difference Between North And South Korea

When it became evident that Japan would be captured by the Allies late in World War II, the subject of what would happen to Korea arose with more intensity. Japan had withdrawn from the Korean peninsula after decades of occupation.

In August 1945, the U.S. and the USSR agreed to split Korea along the 38th parallel, with the U.S. receiving the southern half and the USSR taking the northern half. 

In 1948, many attempts were made to persuade the nations to vote on reunification before handing sovereignty back to the Koreans and withdrawing.

After a few years of conflicting beliefs, the mistrust had become too deep. What began as an “accidental separation” became one of the world’s most hostile and militarized frontiers, dividing a people in two.

Comparison between North and South Korea

ParameterNorth KoreaSouth Korea
ArmyPeople in North Korea’s military are well-trained and armed with formidable weapons. At least ten years of military duty are required of men, and women are also required to serve.The South Korean military is more powerful than the North Korean military. Military service is mandatory for all men in South Korea for a year. South Korean women, on the other hand, do not have to join the military, unlike in North Korea.
EntertainmentWhen it comes to entertainment, North Korea is particularly rigid, often creating its own original works.Creativity is booming in South Korea. Known as the “Hollywood of the East,” South Korea’s film industry has more than 400 production facilities. K-pop, as a subgenre of pop music, is mostly credited to them.
Restrictions on OutfitsStudents in North Korea wear gray or dark colors in their uniforms, which are frequently drab and lacking in color. Rules protecting modesty are also in place; females are not permitted to wear short skirts, and wedding gowns are often dull and inexpensive.Contrast this with the ostentatious and pricey South Korean wedding gowns. Weddings in the South tend to be grand affairs, whereas those in the North tend to be more intimate affairs.
Net accessibilityNorth Korea doesn’t allow users to access material from the rest of the world. Instead, they have their own network that has rigorous controls and is only given to certain persons, such as teachers or government personnel.In the United States, internet connection is often taken for granted, as it is in South Korea.

Major Differences Between North And South Korea

What exactly is North Korea?

Dictatorship-run North Korea is a poor country with few resources, yet its citizens are kept isolated from the rest of the world. No one from the United States or the United Nations was involved in setting up the Kim dynasty’s administration.

They have become self-sufficient as a result of the guidance provided by their government. With numerous issues, North Korea has a unique history and a major adversary to America. 

This article will briefly discuss North Korea’s economy, governance, and history. The history of North Korea is one of upheaval. Under the Japanese administration, the nation went through a long period of conflict.

When World War II ended, they were under Japanese rule. It is one of the most literate countries in the world, with an average literacy rate of 99%.

North Korea Key Differences

  • The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is North Korea’s official name (DPRK).
  • Pyongyang is the name of North Korea’s capital city.
  • Since his father, Kim Jong-death il in 2011, North Korea has been led by his son, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.
  • According to the most recent estimates, North Korea’s population is 25,549,604 people.
  • The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is governed by a one-party dictatorship. National Self-Reliance, or “Juche,” is the official philosophy of the country.
  • Based on the Prussian model, North Korea’s legal system incorporates elements of Japanese law and Communist thought.
  • North Korea’s economy is heavily influenced by communism, and the role of the free market is becoming more prominent.
  • As of 2018, the nominal GDP estimate is $32.1 billion.

What exactly is South Korea?

One of the world’s most densely populated countries, South Korea is located in both Asia and the global south. Nearly twice as many people live there as in North Korea.

Seoul, South Korea’s capital and largest city, is home to more than ten million people, nearly a quarter of the country’s entire population.

As a country, Koreans are among the world’s most homogenous in terms of ethnicity. This signifies that the majority of the population shares a common ancestry. 

These people are virtually entirely descended from the Han, a group that is thought to be linked to the Mongols of Central Asia. South Korea does not have a major ethnic minority.

Turkish, Mongolian, Japanese, and other East Asian languages are considered members of the Altaic language family, including Korean. Korean was originally written in Chinese characters until the fourteenth century. Finally, a Korean alphabet is known as Han’gul was created in 1446.

South Korea Key Differences

  • Officially, South Korea is referred to as the Republic of Korea (ROK).
  • Seoul is South Korea’s capital city.
  • President Moon Jae-in is in charge of South Korea. After winning the May 2017 election, he was sworn in.
  • A total of 51,709,098 people call South Korea home as of 2019.
  • The ROK is governed by the Presidential Republic.
  • South Korea’s legal system is a hybrid of European civil law, American law, and Chinese classical thinking.
  • The chaebols, or family-owned conglomerates, dominate South Korea’s capitalist economy, which is characterized by a highly developed mixed economy.
  • The nominal GDP is expected to reach $1.626 trillion by 2020, according to current estimates.

Contrast Between North and South Korea


  • North Korea- Agriculture, building labor, and heavy industry are the primary economic foci of North Korea’s state-directed and centrally planned economy.
  • South Korea- One of the most significant contributors to the expansion and development of a nation is its economic system. Exports of skin-care goods, Kdramas, KPOP music, and Korean food all play a significant part in South Korea’s economy growth.


  • North Korea- The cultural scene of North Korea is extraordinarily repressive. A country’s citizens cannot use the internet or view television shows produced outside of the country.

    They are severely penalized if they break the rules. There are few options for men, women, and children when it comes to hairstyles and haircuts. Those in charge must be held in great esteem.

    There are several statues of Kim Jong Un and his father, Kim Jong Il, across the country. Travelers to North Korea face a difficult time entering the country. Travel is only permitted if authorization has been granted. 
  • South Korea- Elderly folks are respected in South Korea. South Koreans bow out of respect in a world where people shake hands.

    On their birthdays, they eat seaweed soup and observe holidays such as South Korea’s independence day, Chuseok, the Black and Red days of the year, and a special day just for unmarried women and men. Family-oriented and sociable, South Koreans are a joy to be around.

    They’re also really dedicated. Among their most popular dishes are kimchi Tteokbokki, ramen, bulgogi, bibimbap, kimchi fried rice, dumplings, Korean stew, seaweed soup, Samgyeopsal, and many more.


  • North Korea- One of North Korea’s most important and most populous cities in Pyongyang. In 2016, it had a population of 2.87 million people and an area of around 2000 square kilometers.

    Pyongyang is renowned as the city of revolution, one hundred nine kilometers upstream from the Taedong River’s mouth at the Yellow Sea.

    Arch of Triumph, Central Ideals Zoo, Chollima Statue, Juche Tower, Ryogyong Hotel, and Korean Revolution Museum are just a few of Pyongyang’s well-known landmarks.
  • South Korea- Seoul is South Korea’s capital city. Seoul has a total population of 9.776 million people and a total area of 605.2 square kilometers (census of 2017).

    The Dongdaemun design plaza, a conference facility with curved architecture and a rooftop garden, Gyeongbokgung Palace, and Jogyesa Temple are all popular tourist attractions in Seoul.


  • North Korea- The Kim dynasty is more prominent in North Korean education. Pupils spend an average of 684 hours studying Kim Jong Un, his father, Kim Jong II, his grandparents Kim Sung II, and his grandmother Kim Jong Suk, North Korea’s current president.

    “Revolutionary history” is taught to North Korean students in the form of music, art, literature, and architecture, which are all connected to the Kim family.
  • South Korea- South Korea’s educational system is both fiercely competitive and incredibly meritocratic. With a literacy rate ranging from 98 to 100 percent, North Korea is one of the world’s most literate nations.


  • North Korea- Ice hockey is a popular sport in the North.
  • South Korea- Baseball is a huge deal in South Korea. Snow and ice sports are among the most popular in the Winter Olympics. A major international multi-sport event is held once every four years. The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics were held in South Korea in 2018.


  • North Korea- The officials of North Korea have pushed the country’s residents not to use any borrowed terms, which has resulted in the majority of people speaking the Pyongyang dialect.

    Sometimes, North Koreans may incorporate terms from other languages into their own, and in this particular instance, Russian is the language of choice.
  • South Korea- The language that is used in South Korea is mostly a dialect of Seoul, and its speakers frequently do employ terms that were acquired from the English language.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Who are the leaders of North and South Korea?

Kim Jong-Il, the supreme leader of North Korea, is at the helm of South Korea’s government, which operates as a democratic semi-presidential republic and is overseen by both the president and the prime minister.

Q2. What leads to the separation of Korea?

To reunite the Korean peninsula, North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950 after a long period of animosity.

Korea was separated by the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) until the end of the ensuing Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953.

What are some of the similarities between North and South Korea?

Both Koreas love spicy cuisine. We both like spicy cuisine, too. The South and North make Kimchee similar. We celebrate many of the same festivals, with small variances.

New Year’s Day with Ddukguk (Rice Cake Soup), Daeboreum (Year’s First Full-Moon Day), Hansik (105th day after the winter solstice), Dongji (winter solstice), and Dano.

What is one of the most famous festivals in Korea?

There are many festivals in Korea, but Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival is well known as one of the country’s oldest.

Thousands of crimson lanterns were lighted on the banks of the Nam River by the locals, who wished for the happiness of their loved ones.

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