Chŏngjin (Korean pronunciation: [tsʰʌŋ.dʑin]; Chosŏn'gŭl청진시; MRCh'ŏngjin-si) is the capital of North Korea's North Hamgyong Province and the country's third largest city. It is sometimes called the City of Iron.[1]


Korean transcription(s)
 • Chŏsŏn'gŭl청진시
 • Hancha淸津市
 • McCune-ReischauerCh'ŏngjin-si
 • Revised RomanizationCheongjin-si
Downtown Chongjin in September 2011, as seen from the city's monument of Kim Il-sung.
Downtown Chongjin in September 2011, as seen from the city's monument of Kim Il-sung.
City of Iron
Map of North Hamgyong showing the location of Chongjin
Map of North Hamgyong showing the location of Chongjin
Chongjin is located in North Korea
Location in North Korea
Coordinates: 41°47′N 129°46′E / 41.783°N 129.767°ECoordinates: 41°47′N 129°46′E / 41.783°N 129.767°E
Country North Korea
ProvinceNorth Hamgyong
 • Total269 km2 (104 sq mi)
 • Total627,000
 • Dialect
Time zoneUTC+9 (Pyongyang Time)


Chongjin was a small fishing village prior to the Japanese annexation of Korea; its date of establishment is unknown. The Chinese characters for its name mean 'clear river crossing'.[1] During the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, Japanese forces landed at Chongjin, and established a supply base due to its proximity to the front lines in Manchuria. The Japanese remained after the end of the war, and in 1908, declared the city an open trading port both for transport of Korean resources and as a stopping point for resources from China.[2] The city was known during this period as “Seishin”, after the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese characters for its name. The Imperial Japanese Army’s 19th Division was headquartered in Ranam from 1918, where the Japanese built a new planned city based on a rectangular street grid.[1] In the 1930, Nippon Steel built a large steel mill, the Seishin Iron and Steel Works, in the town. Ranam was annexed to Chongjin in 1940, which was elevated to city status. The city was overrun after a brief resistance by the Soviet Union on 13 August 1945, only two days before the end of World War II. Under the rule of North Korea, Chongjin remained an important military and industrial centre. It was directly administered by the central government from 1960-1967 and from 1977-1988.

During the North Korean famine of the 1990s, Chongjin was one of the worst affected locations in the country; death rates may have been as high as 20 %.[1] Conditions there remain poor in terms of food availability.[1] This problem has caused several instances of civil unrest in Chongjin, a rarity in North Korea. On 4 March 2008, a crowd of women merchants protested in response to tightened market controls.[1] Rising grain prices and government attempts to prohibit "peddling in the market" have been cited as causes for the protests.[1] As a result of the protest, the Chongjin local government "posted a proclamation allowing peddling in the market."[3] On 24 August 2008, a clash occurred between foot patrol agents and female merchants, which escalated into a "massive protest rally". It was reported that the Chongjin local government issued verbal instructions relaxing the enforcement activity until the time of the next grain ration.[3]

Administrative divisions

From 1948 to 1960, 1967 to 1977, and 1987 to present, Ch'ŏngjin was governed as a part of North Hamgyong Province. From 1960 until 1967, and again from 1977 to 1987, Chongjin was administered as a directly governed city.[4]

Ch'ŏngjin is divided into 7 wards (구역, kuyŏk, Korean pronunciation: [kujʌk]).


Chongjin is located in the northeast of North Korea, in North Hamgyong Province, near the East Korea Bay (Kyŏngsŏng Bay)[5] in the Sea of Japan. The Sosong River runs through the city; contained in the city are the Sonam Stream and Mount Komal.


Chongjin has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification: Dwb) with cold, dry winters and very warm, rainy summers.


Chongjin is one of the DPRK’s important steel and fiber industry centers. It has a shipyard, locomotive plant, and a rubber factory. Near the port area are the Chongjin Steel Co., Chemical Textile Co., May 10 Coal Mine Machinery Factory, and Kimchaek Iron & Steel (which was called Nippon Steel during the Japanese occupation);[1] however industrial activities in the city have been severely handicapped due to a lack of resources. Despite this however, Chongjin is estimated to have a 24 per cent share of the DPRK's foreign trade and is home to a resident Chinese consul who serves Chinese merchants and businesspersons operating in the north east of the country.[7] Chongjin also contains Sunam Market, an example of market economics in North Korea.[8]

Because of the heavy concentration of industries in the area, Chongjin is also the DPRK's air pollution black spot. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent shortage of oil to generate electricity, many factories have been shuttered. One of the first senior U.N. officials permitted to visit the area, Tun Myat, observed in 1997 when the North Korea economic crisis reached its peak, "Chongjin was like a forest of scrap metal, with huge plants that seem to go on for miles and miles that have been turned into rust buckets. I've been all over the world, and I've never seen anything quite like this."

Other industries

  • Chosun Clothing Factory – makes Vinalon cloth into uniforms
  • North Hangyong Provincial Broadcasting Company
  • Majon Deer Company – makes medicine from deer antlers
  • Second Metal Construction Company
  • Onpho Hot Springs – the alkaline waters are reserved for party officials and guarded by the military
  • Soenggiryong mines – kaolin mine

The area has little arable land, so the famine in the 1990s hit the residents of Chongjin particularly hard. During the late 1990s, the city's residents experienced some of the highest death rates from famine, which might have been as high as 20 percent of the population.[9] By 1995, the local frog population was wiped out due to overhunting.[1]



Chongjin's port has established itself as a critical component of busy international shipping trade with neighbouring parts of Northeast and Southeast Asia. Of DPRK's eight international shipping ports, Chongjin is thought to be second most economically important (after Nampho port on the west coast)[11] and serves as a base of trade to Russia and Japan. Chongjin also boasts a seamen's club which serves to cater for foreign crews as well as a meeting base for North Koreans and foreigners engaged in the shipping trade.[7]

The People's Republic of China and Russia have set up their consulates in Chongjin. It is unique for a North Korean city to have a foreign consulate. Chongjin is the administrative centre of the North Hamgyong Province.



Chongjin Airport is equipped with a 2,000 m (6,600 ft) runway on a military and civilian dual purpose air station (CHO). North Korea planned to upgrade an old airport near Hamhung as late as 2003, so that it would have a 4,000 m (13,000 ft) runway, and would act as the nation's second international airport. However, it is still not completed.


The Wonson-Rason Railway and Chongjin-Rason Railway (Pyongra Line) electric railways operated by the Korean State Railway connect Rason and capital Pyongyang.

Urban transit

Chongjin is the only city in North Korea other than Pyongyang to operate a tram system. These trains are all second-hand from Pyongyang. Originally, it was planned to be a 32 km (20 mi) system, but only phase 1, 6 km (3.7 mi), and phase 2, 7 km (4.3 mi), were completed. Phase 3, which was to be 8 km (5.0 mi), was not completed due to lack of funds. Also, due to electricity shortages, the trams run infrequently. Besides trams, trolley buses also operate, but these are operated only two hours a day. Private taxis do not exist.

The main and only road, called Road No. 1, is a six lane highway that intersects the city.[1]


Universities and colleges

There are several state-run higher educational facilities located here, such as:

  • Chongjin University of Technology
  • Chongjin Mine University
  • Chongjin University of Education No. 1 (Oh Jungheup University)
  • University of Education No. 2
  • Hambuk University
  • Chongjin University of Medicine
  • Chongjin University of Light Industry
  • Chongjin College of Metal Engineering
  • Chongjin College of Automation Engineering

The Kim Jong-suk Teachers' College, which was named after Kim Jong-il's mother, Kim Jong-suk, is in Chongjin.[1]


Schools for gifted and talented students are include:

  • Chongjin No.1 Senior Middle School
  • Chongjin Institute of Foreign Languages
  • Chongjin Institute of Arts


There is an aquatic product research center. Famous scenic sites include hot springs and Mt. Chilbo. It has a zoo with no animals in it. Chongjin's most famous product is processed squid. The city is home to the football team, the Ch'ŏngjin Chandongcha.

The local newspaper is the Hambuk Daily.[1]

Chongjin is featured in the book Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick.[1]

Other cultural locations

  • North Hamgyong Province Theater
  • Chonmasan Hotel for foreign visitors to stay at, built to convey the power of the government over the individual; in 1997, a French aid worker from Action contre la Faim was allowed to stay there but was not let out of the hotel to observe the famine conditions.[1]
  • Pohanng Square has a 25-foot bronze statue and the Revolutionary History Museum
  • Inmin Daehakseup Dang (Grand People's Study House)

Sister cities

Chongjin has two sister cities:

Historic gallery

Kankyo-Hoku Provincial Office

Hamgyeongbuk Provincial Office during Korea under Japanese rule's period.

Port of Seishin

Port of Cheongjin during Korea under Japanese rule

Ranan Shrine

Ranam Shinto Shrine during Korea under Japanese rule

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Demick, Barbara (2010). Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea (UK ed.). Granta Publications. ISBN 978-1-84708-141-4.
  2. ^ "Woolverton Inn - Ceremony - North Korea's Geography & Major cities - A Map viewing major cities and the capital of North Korea. Highlighting important geographical locations and points of interest. One in particular being the 38th parallel".
  3. ^ a b Good Friends, “North Korea Today,” No. 113 (Mar. 14, 2008)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-11-02. Retrieved 2006-11-02.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Chongjin". Encyclopaeida Britannica’s. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  6. ^ "Climate: Chongjin -". Retrieved November 2017. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  7. ^ a b Smith, Hazel (2009).North Korean Shipping:A Potential for WMD Proliferation?, Asia Pacific Issues. No. 87. Retrieved on 2010-12-28.
  8. ^ Kim, Jieun (June 9, 2017). "North Korea Party Officials Monopolize Local Market Stands". Radio Free Asia. The source referred to thriving Sunam Market in North Hamgyong’s capital Chongjin—North Korea’s third-largest city—where profits from running a stand can generate profits “as high as those earned by foreign currency-generating organizations.”
  9. ^ Demick, Barbara (2010). Nothing to Envy. Real Lives in North Korea. W11 4QR London, UK: Granta Publications. p. 145. ISBN 978-1-84708-141-4.
  10. ^ "KINU White paper on human rights in North Korea 2009 (Chapter G. Human Rights Violations Inside Political Concentration Camps (Kwanliso), page 125)" (PDF).
  11. ^ Asia Trade Hub, Archived 2016-03-29 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ "Chongjin(D.P.R.K.)". Changchun Municipal People's Government. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  13. ^ "Chongjin(D.P.R.K.)". People's Government of Jilin. 12 April 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2017.

Further reading

  • Dormels, Rainer. North Korea's Cities: Industrial facilities, internal structures and typification. Jimoondang, 2014. ISBN 978-89-6297-167-5

External links

Template:North Hamyung

  1. ^ United Nations Statistics Division; 2008 Census of Population of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea conducted on 1–15 October 2008 Retrieved on 2009-03-18.
An Song-il

An Song-il (Chosŏn'gŭl: 안성일; born 30 November 1992) is a North Korean footballer who plays as a defender for April 25 and the North Korea national team.

Automotive industry in North Korea

The automotive industry in North Korea is a branch of the national economy, with much-lower production than that in South Korea. North Korean motor vehicle production is geared towards the Korean People's Army, industrial and construction goals; there is little car ownership by private citizens. In addition to cars and trucks, North Korea produces buses, trolleybuses and trams.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is not involved with the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles (OICA) or any other United Nations industrial committee, so information about its motor vehicle industry is limited. The OICA does not publicize figures for automobile production in the DPRK. As reported by a limited number of observers with first-hand knowledge, North Korea has the capability to produce 40,000 to 50,000 vehicles a year; however, within the past few years only a few thousand vehicles have been produced due to its ongoing economic crisis and recent sanctions.

Chandongja Park

Chandongja Park is a multi-use stadium in Chongjin, North Korea. It is currently used mostly for football matches and hosts the home matches of Ch'ŏngjin Chandongcha. The stadium holds 15,000 people.

Chandongja Sports Club

The Chandongcha Sports Club (Chosŏn'gŭl: 찬동자체육단; Hancha: 贊同者體育團) is a North Korean football club based in Chongjin, North Hamgyong. They play in the DPR Korea League, the highest football soccer league in North Korea. The team came in first place in 1989. The team plays at Chandongcha Park.

Chongjin Chongnyon Station

Ch'ŏngjin Ch'ŏngnyŏn Station is the central railway station in Ch'ŏngjin-si, North Hamgyŏng Province, North Korea. It is the junction point of the Hambuk Line and the P'yŏngra Line of the Korean State Railway, and is the beginning of the Ch'ŏngjinhang Line to Ch'ŏngjin Port.

Chongjin concentration camp

Chongjin concentration camp (Chosŏn'gŭl: 청진 제25호 관리소, also spelled Ch'ŏngjin) is a labour camp in North Korea for political prisoners. The official name is Kwan-li-so (Penal-labour colony) No. 25. Satellite images show a major expansion of the camp after 2010.

Kim Swoo-geun

Kim Swoo Geun (February 20, 1931 – June 14, 1986) was a prominent South Korean architect, educator, publisher and patron of artists. Along with architect Kim Joong Up (김중업), he is recognised as a significant contributor in the history of Korean architecture. With his support for diverse art genres of Korean culture, he was referred to as Lorenzo de Medici of Seoul by TIME in 1977.

Kim Yik-yung

Kim Yik Yung, born in 1935 in Chongjin, Hamgyong, is a South Korean ceramic artist.

She studied chemical engineering at Seoul National University and then went to the USA, where she studied ceramics at Alfred University, New York State. After returning to Korea, she worked as a researcher in the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, South Korea.

Kim was co-winner of the 2004 "Artist of the Year" award from the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art for significant contribution to the development of Korean contemporary ceramic art. Her work has been shown in major exhibitions in Korea, Japan, the United States, and Europe.

Li Chongjin

Li Chongjin (李重進) (died 960) was a military general during imperial China's Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period and the subsequent Song Dynasty. A nephew of Later Zhou's founding emperor Guo Wei, he rose to high ranks in the Later Zhou military. When Later Zhou was overthrown by Zhao Kuangyin who founded Song, Li Chongjin initially submitted to Zhao but eventually rebelled. He was defeated and committed suicide.

Li Cunjin

Li Cunjin (李存進) (857 – 24 September 922), originally Sun Chongjin (孫重進), was a military general in imperial China's Tang Dynasty, and later the Jin territory in the ensuing Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period after Tang's collapse. He served the Shatuo leaders Li Keyong — who adopted him as a son — and Li Keyong's biological son and successor Li Cunxu. He died in the battles against Zhang Chujin.

List of cities in North Korea

The important cities of North Korea have self-governing status equivalent to that of provinces. Pyongyang, the largest city and capital, is classified as a chikhalsi (capital city), while one city (see the list below) is classified as t'ŭkpyŏlsi (special city). Other cities are classified as si (city) and are under provincial jurisdiction, at the same level as counties (see Administrative divisions of North Korea).

Nothing to Envy

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea is a 2009 part-novelization of interviews with refugees from Chongjin, North Korea, written by Los Angeles Times journalist Barbara Demick. In 2010, the book was awarded the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction. It was also a nonfiction finalist for the National Book Award in 2010.

The title comes from the children's theme song of the 1970 North Korean film We Have Nothing to Envy in the World (Chosŏn'gŭl: 세상에 부럼 없어라; RR: Sesang-e burom opsora).Demick interviewed more than 100 defectors and chose to focus on Chongjin because it is likely to be more representative than the capital Pyongyang. Demick briefly discusses the examination of one of the female characters into a position of Kippumjo. The events covered include the famine of the 1990s, with the final chapters describing the route the main characters took to Seoul and then an epilogue describing the effects of the November 30, 2009 currency reform.

Orang Airport

Orang Airport (IATA: RGO, ICAO: ZKHM) is a small airport located approximately 40 kilometres from Chongjin, North Hamgyong in North Korea. Built by the Imperial Japanese Army, designated as K-33 (Hoemun Airfield) by the USAF during the Korean War, Chongjin Airport is now controlled by the Korean People's Army. Hoemun Airfield was renamed when the original Chongin Airfield K-34 was abandoned after the Korean War. The airport is normally used by the military, though a small number of commercial passenger flights also operate there.

The airport also serves Rason, which is about a three-hour drive away.

Pak Chang-sik

Pak Chang-sik (born c. 1958) is a North Korean politician from the city of Chongjin in North Hamgyong province. He has served continuously in the Supreme People's Assembly since 1986, beginning with the 8th session and continuing through the 9th, 10th, and 11th sessions. He has also been Vice Chairman of the People's Committee of Chongjin since 1990. He has also reportedly worked for 30 years as a diver at the Rason marine cooperative, traveling throughout the country to participate in various construction projects including the Nampho Dam.


P'ohang-guyŏk is a district of the 7 kuyŏk that constitute Chongjin, North Hamgyong Province, North Korea.


Ranam-guyŏk is a district of the 7 kuyŏk that constitute Chongjin, North Hamgyong Province, North Korea.

Ranam Station

Ranam Station is a railway station located in Ranam-guyok, Chongjin, North Korea. It is located on the Pyongra Line, which connects the capital, Pyongyang, to Rason, a major port city.

Shin Sang-ok

Shin Sang-ok (October 11, 1926 – April 11, 2006) was a South Korean film producer and director with more than 100 producer and 70 director credits to his name. His best-known films were made in the 1950s and 60s when he was known as The Prince of South Korean Cinema. He received the Gold Crown Cultural Medal, the country's top honor for an artist. He is also known for having been kidnapped by the then North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, for the purpose of producing critically acclaimed films. He was born Shin Tae-seo; he later changed his name to Shin Sang-ok when he started working in the film industry.


Songp'yŏng-guyŏk is a district of the 7 kuyŏk that constitute Chongjin, North Hamgyong Province, North Korea.

Climate data for Chongjin
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 0.0
Daily mean °C (°F) −5.6
Average low °C (°F) −11.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 10
Directly governed city
Cities with special status
Provincial capitals
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2,000,000 and more

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