The Two Koreas in Contrast

By Kate Bubacz

Aug 15, 2013 3:22pm

Korea used to be one nation, unified, until it was expedient for divide the country along the 38th Parallel on August 15, 1945 during World War Two. Since that moment, the two countries have evolved away from each other, each half developing a distinct culture and worldview. The North is reclusive, defiant, and it can be difficult to get access to images. The South is more open, a major trading partner and one of the wealthiest nations in the region.

Visually, the differences between North and South can be striking. To commemorate the division of Korea into North and South, we selected images that were of similar character and placed them side-by-side. The selection of images is by no means a complete reflection of either country, but instead a comment on how 60 years of separation can yield different results.

 

gty gty korea downtown kb 130815 blog The Two Koreas in ContrastLeft: Portraits of former North Korean leaders Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il are displayed on buildings of the Pyongyang skyline on July 27, 2013.  Right:  A general view of Sungnyemun Gate on May 4, 2013 in Seoul, South Korea. The ancient gate made up one of four gates that protected Seoul during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), and the restoration has been painstakingly completed after an arson attack five years ago. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images | Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

 

gty gty korea commute kb 130815 blog The Two Koreas in ContrastLeft: In a photo taken on July 25, 2013 North Korean commuters walk to work in Pyongyang. Right: Morning commuters board a train at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday, May 13, 2013. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images | SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

 

gty gty korea leaders kb 130815 blog The Two Koreas in ContrastLeft: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un waves to the crowd during a military parade at Kim Il-Sung square marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice in Pyongyang on July 27, 2013. Right: South Korean President Park Geun-Hye speaks during a ceremony marking Korean Memorial Day at the National Cemetery in Seoul on June 6, 2013. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images | Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)

 

gty gty korea military kb 130815 blog The Two Koreas in ContrastLeft: In a photo taken on July 27, 2013 North Korean soldiers march through Kim Il-Sung square during a military parade marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice in Pyongyang. Right: South Korean soldiers march during a ceremony for a re-enactment of the battle of Chuncheon at the beginning of the 1950-53 Korean War, to mark its 63th anniversary in Chuncheon, South Korea on June 22, 2013. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images | Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)

 

gty gty korea bus kb 130815 blog The Two Koreas in ContrastLeft: Commuters ride a bus in Pyongyang on July 28, 2013. Right: People wait for a bus on a street in the Gangnam district of Seoul on July 5, 2013. One of Asia’s most affluent countries, South Korea is the region’s third-largest economy fueled by the longest working hours in the world, according to a 2012 study. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

 

gty gty korea couple kb 130815 blog The Two Koreas in ContrastLeft: A North Korean couple hold hands as they walk on Kim Il-Sung square following a parade marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice in Pyongyang on July 27, 2013. Right: A couple walk along a main road in the Gangnam district of Seoul on July 5, 2013. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

 

gty gty korea cheering kb 130815 blog The Two Koreas in ContrastLeft: North Koreans wave flowers as they take part in a military parade past Kim Il-Sung square marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice in Pyongyang on July 27, 2013. Right: Festival goers enjoy a performance during day 3 of the Pentaport Rock Festival on August 4, 2013 in Incheon, South Korea. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images | Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

 

gty gty korea concert kb 130815 blog The Two Koreas in ContrastLeft: North Korean performers sing at a theater during celebrations to mark the 100th birth anniversary of the country’s founding leader Kim Il-Sung, in Pyongyang on April 16, 2012. Right: WASSUP perform onstage during  M Super Concert at Seoul Square on August 3, 2013 in Seoul, South Korea.  (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images| Choi Soo-Young/Multi-Bits via Getty Images)

 

gty gty korea school kb 130815 blog The Two Koreas in ContrastLeft: A North Korean girl waves from her classroom at a nursery school  in the northeastern North Korean border town of Sinuiju on December 15, 2012. Right:  South Korean children during a special class on smartphone addiction at an elementary school in Seongnam, south of Seoul, on June 11, 2103.  (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images | Jung Yeon-Je/Getty Images)

 

gty gty korea shoes kb 130815 blog The Two Koreas in ContrastLeft: Women look at shoes inside a supermarket in Pyongyang on July 28, 2013. Right: An employee stands behind the window display of a Chanel SA store at Lotte Avenuel, Lotte Shopping Co.’s luxury brand department store, in Seoul, South Korea, on  July 28, 2013. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images | Woohae Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

 

gty gty korea kids kb 130815 blog The Two Koreas in Contrast

Left: This picture taken on December 15, 2012 shows North Korean girls skipping rope during a performance at a nursery school in the North Korean border town of Siniuju, across from China’s northeastern city of Dandong. Right: Young South Korean novice monks play football during a course called “Children Becoming Buddhist monks” at the Jogye Temple in Seoul on May 14, 2013. The children were staying at the temple to learn about Buddhism for 14 days ahead of celebrations for Buddha’s birthday on May 17.  (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images | Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty) Images

 

See more featured photography curated by ABC News’ photo editors, and at Picture This, the ABC News photography blog.

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