North Korea, an isolationist country consumed by the legacy of its family dynasty, now wants to turn back the time as well.
Korea was occupied by Japan from 1910 to 1945 and forced to adopt aspects of Japanese culture, including a time zone.
For more than a century, North Korea has followed Japan’s time zone, which set the local time nine hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
That will soon change.
It has been reported that North Korea’s state news agency, Korea Central News Agency (KCNA), announced Friday that the nation will no longer adhere to the time zone connected with its imperialized roots.
Instead, the hermit country will set its clocks back by 30 minutes on Aug. 15 to create a new “Pyongyang time,” corresponding with the 70th anniversary of nation’s deliverance from Japan at the end of World War II.
“The wicked Japanese imperialists committed such unpardonable crimes as depriving Korea of even its standard time while mercilessly trampling down its land with 5,000-year-long history and culture and pursuing the unheard-of policy of obliterating the Korean nation,” KCNA reported.
But while North Korea is no longer dictated by Japanese colonialism, North and South Koreans alike continue to hold deep resentment against their past East Asian rulers.
In the aftermath of Japanese conquest, hundreds and thousands of Koreans were suppressed and subject to new laws and customs. Hundreds of thousands of Korean men were forced to enlist into Japan’s war effort and women were often forced to work as sex slaves for soldiers in the Japanese military.
Furthering their bitterness, North Korea’s revered founder, Kim Il-sung fought as a guerilla against the Japanese before their eventual independence.
The “new” time zone reflects one held briefly by the country before Japan’s takeover in 1910.
“With the new time zone, Kim Jong-un is reasserting his code words of self-reliance and national dignity to his people,” North Korea expert, Chang Young-seok Chang said to the New York Times. “Whatever difficulties and inconveniences the new time zone may cause are nothing to his government, compared with its propaganda value at home.”
East Asian experts say the change will likely hamper efforts to integrate the South and North homogeneity, particularly affecting the exchanges at the industrial park in Kaesong, where North Koreans are employed in South Korean factories, often labeled a “mini-reunification,” between the divided nations.
North Korea is no stranger to breaking from a universal system of timekeeping. Since 1997, North Korea has used a calendar tracking the years from Kim Il-sung’s birth, as opposed to Jesus Christ. The year is 104 in North Korea, not 2015.