North Korean Animation “Pencil Rocket” on YouTube

From here:

“Do North Korean elementary school students really watch cartoons like this?” “This is terrible. It’s unbelievable.”

North Korean animation “Pencil Rocket” has been posted on the Internet video site YouTube. This animation, which was made for elementary school children, teaches the children how to use a protractor. However, the contents are comprised of hostility towards the US military and efforts to defeat them.

The story is as follows: The main character, Seok-Pil, is trying to catch a rabbit in the forest when a friend mocks him by saying, “All you do is draw those pig-headed American bastards in class and now here you are playing war all by yourself.” He then returns home and sits at his desk. The homework he has to do is on how to use a protractor. Seok-Pil is inciting his will to fight by drawing an American military helmet with the letters U.S. written on it in his textbook when he suddenly falls asleep.

In his dream the U.S. fleet is coming to attack. He and his friend try to defeat the U.S. soldiers by firing a rocket they have made from pencils, but they continue to fail because they can’t correctly set the angle. This is because they didn’t know how to use the protractor. Finally Seok-Pil awakes after suffering the counter-attacks of the American fleet. Seok-Pil states that he “realizes that he needs to study hard in class and listen to his teachers to become a good soldier of the people.” This leads into some math practice on accurately setting the center axis when measuring angles on the protractor.

I’ll bet you Seok-Pil never gropes his teachers.

  • milton

    Wow…JongAng Ilbo just took notice of this cartoon now? It’s been on the Internet forever. If you dig around, you’ll find tons of interesting clips from North Korean movies, TV dramas, and news broadcasts.

    This militantly pro-Pyongyang individual regularly posts parts of KCNA newscasts:

    (I always suspected it was Alejandro Cao de Benos’s account, but I have no way of knowing)

    While it isn’t exactly 꽃 보다 남자, here’s a clip from a North Korean drama:

  • milton

    This one is really interesting. It’s a talk-show style TV show from a few years back. The topic was the Yongsan Incident.

  • Seth Gecko

    The NK cartoon looks pretty old. If we’re going to look at old, racist cartoons for kids, we shouldn’t forget *this* forgotten Bugs Bunny classic:

    “Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips”

  • Benjamin Wagner

    Since when has encouraging hostility toward the U.S. military been considered problematic for South Koreans? If the Joong-Ang Ilbo is looking for something more dramatic take a visit to Chung-Ang Univ.’s Anseong campus. At the center of the university there’s a huge roundabout with an enormous anti-American military propaganda mural. There are several different “wedges” in the circle mural, each depicting a different anti-U.S. theme. One is a long-nosed Uncle Sam holding a key while striding across the peninsula which is shown with a chain representing the 38th parallel and an enormous lock. Presumably Uncle Sam is carrying “the key” to release that chain. A bit more dramatic is the one of GI dragging a white-hanbok clad Korean woman by the hair. That image is here:

  • Cheoto カンチョ

    re# 1

    very strange clip – [a clip from a North Korean drama]

    North Koreans happy, fed and dressed well, and walking the streets on Pyongyang without their little pin/clip on their jackets??

  • wjk, 검은 머리 외국인

    Kim and his family aren’t headed to a nice place after death. You’ve ever heard of the burning dwaeji?

  • Daily Korean Stuff

    I am in no way trying to condone this type of propaganda, but saying that elementary school students watching this cartoon is “horrible” and “unbelievable” is completely hypocritical, especially coming from South Korea. In the 80’s the anti-communist 똘이장군 cartoon (in which the lead character fights communists led by an obese red pig named Kim Il Sung) wasn’t any better. Until not so long ago, South Korean middle school kids were asked in school to draw anti-communist posters just like they are asked to draw “Pro-Dokdo” posters today.

    This reminds of a news article last month when several newspapers were appaled when it was revealed that the Chinese army trained with an FPS in which the enemy was the U.S. Army ( while pretty much every FPS released in the U.S. lets you play against “terrorists” or “communists”.

  • hardyandtiny

    How long is this going to go on? The Japanese guy kicked your ass, and then the American guy who kicked the Japanese guy’s ass is not going to let you kick the Japanese guy who’s already down.
    The fight is over, forget it. I know, he raped your grandmother. You probably would have done the same thing. It’s over. Everyone’s a saint.

  • PeterDownUnder

    My proficiency with a protractor will help me defeat the imperialist yankees with my pencil katushas.

    The Palestinian youth need programs like this to make them better marksman with their Qassam rockets.

    It does seem like a fun motivation for a growing child. I would’ve paid much more attention to math if I was taught that it would help me blow things up lol.

  • Robin Hedge

    As Milton pointed out this is very old. I imagine that the videos having the greatest ideological impact these days are coming across the Chinese border and use the Seoul dialect.

  • Robert Koehler

    while pretty much every FPS released in the U.S. lets you play against “terrorists” or “communists”.

    But sadly, rarely against the Chinese. I just spent the weekend running through COD: MW I, II and Black Ops, so trust me, I know.

  • robert neff

    I think I would have been more impressed if Seok-pil was trying to catch one of these rabbits,1518,458863,00.html

    But then again, I guess there aren’t any that survived the initial six months:

  • R. Elgin

    This is quite old, thus non-news (per #1).

  • 조엘

    I understand that the video itself is quite dated, but the fact that the Joongang is covering it says something. A good many expats in Korea, and perhaps the Hole, like to think that South Koreans are willing to look past all of the antics of their brothers to the North. I was just citing an example from yesterday’s press where they weren’t.


    Cartoons can be used to teach about something to children. But they can use various concepts to create animations. Using war as a concept to create cartoons to teach something to children is not acceptable. In this case may be they would have portrayed the character as an engineer or an artist who is designing something which goes wrong.