As much as Seoul in South Korea, Pyongyang is exposed to many media outlets as the capital of North Korea, and people seem to have clearly different interest in Pyongyang from other cities in North Korea. Then, it arouses our curiosity regarding when researchers started getting interested in Pyongyang and how it was manifested and expanded. To satisfy such curiosity, this study aimed to comprehend and review all the previous studies on Pyongyang, which had been conducted in South Korea since the 1970s, and analyze their characteristics. In particular, by comprehending and investigating all the Pyongyang-related theses, domestic general academic journal articles and domestic professional academic journals, books and reports, published from the 1970s to 2022, this study intended to examine the trend of research on Pyongyang by topic, period and research subject.
Research on Pyongyang was originally conducted as part of the research on cities in North Korea, but it constantly changed in quantity, depending on the political circumstances of South Korea and North Korea. After 2018, however, there appeared a new trend of analyzing Pyongyang from a perspective of area studies. Especially, after Kim Jong-un took power, the emphasis on ‘urban culture’ began to appear on a large scale in North Korean public discourses. At the same time, South Korean researchers showed more academic interest in North Korean urban society, culture and discourses and started conducting more analyses related to the field, and qualitative research improvements are still being made in this field through interdisciplinary research between different academic fields.
For North Korean studies, it is quite restrictive to access related data and even impossible to go on an on-site survey despite the nature of urban studies. Therefore, any research in this field should be conducted with such limitations. Thanks to many researchers’ interest shown and research achievements made so far, researchers are more likely to define how the current Pyongyang has been made and even its physical landscape. It is anticipated that there will be more researchers showing constant interest in this field for an active expansion of research on Pyongyang.