Culture in North Korea:

The Cosmetic
Usage Patterns and the Meaning of Make-Up in North Korea


Kee-Choon Rhee, Jong-Youn Rha, and Kyung-Mi Paek, SeoulNationalUniversity


has been more than 50 years since the separation of South and North Korea after the Korean War.
Recently there has been a development in the relationship between South and North Korea
with the Sunshine Policy employed by the South Korean Government, and research
intended to prepare for the possible unification of two nations are now being
conducted in various disciplines. Consumer Studies is no exception. South and
North Koreas have developed very different consumption cultures based on
different economic and political systems that each nation has adopted, and from
a viewpoint of South Korean researcher, the needs to analyze the difference in
the meaning of consumption between South and North Korea is critical in order
to understand the everyday life of North Korean consumers and households.

study focuses the consumption of cosmetic products by women consumers. The
purpose of this study is to investigate the meaning of cosmetic culture,
attitudes towards cosmetics, and the actual usage pattern of cosmetics of North
Korean woman consumers. Qualitative approaches including in-depth interviews
and observations were performed. Given that consumption patterns and
consumption culture of North
Korea, as a communist country, was virtually
unknown to consumer researchers, the findings of this study provides interesting