The images will soon be featured in an issue of Rimjingang, a magazine published in Japan that offers a highly intimate look inside North Korea. What makes it all the more remarkable is that the quarterly publication consists of articles written not by outsiders, but by a few North Koreans, farmers and factory workers who risk their lives to provide poignant vignettes and hard-news accounts of life in their reclusive homeland.Amazing stuff, really. And makes the kind of thing that Laura Ling, Mitch Koss, and Euna Lee were supposedly doing pale in comparison. And speaking of the Tri-dumb-virate:
The stakes are high. The reporters use pseudonyms because they know that if they are caught by North Korean authorities, they could be sent to prison or executed as spies.
Named by the magazine's reporters after a river that flows across the border from north to south, Rimjingang features everyday scenes of people's lives, from mammoth Pyongyang to the smallest villages. Since the magazine was launched in 2007, the tiny staff of reporters has delivered scoop after scoop.
Their cameras peek inside an illegal market where hungry children scavenge food from the ground. They offer images of a busy bus terminal patrolled by soldiers, a North Korean prison and a town where even children are put to work in a coal mine.
"I'm proud of these reporters," said Ishimaru, 37, editor of Rimjingang. "I'm committed to help them deliver a message to the world that they are risking their lives to report."
Not every reporter makes it. Some quit after experiencing the perils of reporting their stories and spiriting them out of the country.Nice. Oh, and DailyNK gets a mention:
Ishimaru travels to the border between China and North Korea to meet with staff members as they arrive to report their findings. He says the reporters' trips are always dangerous, but more so now since the two American journalists were taken into custody.
Rimjingang has impressed Sohn Kwang-joo, chief editor of the Daily NK, a website reporting on North Korea from the outside.Go, Sohn. Great blog ("the hub of North Korean news"), by the way.
"This is a magazine where North Koreans are the main characters," he said. "The regime does not want the world to hear their voices. But in Rimjingang, their lives and voices meld."