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Down-with-Imperialism Union (1926-, North Korea)

Last modified: 2024-04-06 by ian macdonald
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[Red flag of Socialism (North Korea)] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 8 March 2024

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On Italian Ebay there is an interesting North Korean stamp containing a flag labelled "Bandiera del Partito dei lavoratori della Corea" (flag of the Korean Workers' Party). Obviously it is different from the rather well-known party flag as well as from the other flags shown on FOTW website. Anyone knows what this flag is representing?
Marcus Schmöger, 24 Jan 2011

According to this page (which seems to be an authority on N. Korean stamps, and include Scott and other number as well as other philatelic details) the flag is that of the DIU, issued on the occasion of 80th anniversary of the organization. DIU is the "Down-with-Imperialism Union", explained there so:

"In order to open up a new way for revolution in the darkest period of the Japanese imperialists' colonial rule over Korea, President Kim Il Sung conceived a plan to form a revolutionary vanguard organization that would conduct the anti-Japanese national liberation struggle in reliance upon popular masses with a correct fighting program and organized the DIU on October 17, Juche 15 (1926)."

Željko Heimer, 24 Jan 2011

Stanley Gibbons lists this as SG N4638, issued 17th. Oct. 2006 on the 60th. anniversary of the Anti-Imperialism Union.
Richard Mallett, 24 Jan 2011


The stamp design is explained "Reflected in the individual stamp are a red flag bearing the words "DIU" and Mt. Paektu, the sacred mountain of the revolution. It shows the unswerving faith and will of the Korean people to carry out the revolutionary cause of Juche under the red flag of the revolution raised by the DIU."
Apparently, the glyphs therefore stand for the DIU organization. The DIU is considered a predecessor of the now ruling Workers' Party of Korea.
Wikipedia provides the name of the organization in several script system, and apparently the abbreviated name of the organization indeed resembles the Latin letters E.C. The full name of the organization provided on Wikipedia does resemble close enough the inscription at the top of the stamp, at least to my uninitiated eye.
Željko Heimer, 24 Jan 2011

It’s a plain red flag with yellow letters "ㅌ.ㄷ" centered on it. These are Hangul consonantal jamos reading respectively "t" and "d" (read as t’ŭdŭ in McCune–Reischauer romanization and as "teudeu" in Gugeoui Romaja Pyogibeop), with the period dot between then marking this as an initialism.

The superficial look of this inscription has caused this flag/logo to be mistaken for Latin letters reading "E.C".

At read more about this entity; in short, it’s said to have been founded in 1926 in Jilin prov. (China), but it is likely a 1978 fabrication loosely based on an actual such movement, which was anyway made up from ethnic Koreans on either side of the border fighting against Japanese occupation in both Korea and Manchuria, with scarce specific connection to what would become the North Korean regime. The flag itself, at least in the way it has been ceremonially used in North Korea since 50 years later after its purported actual use, seems to be part of that historical fabrication.

This flag is shown on FotW stamp #04445, issued by North Korea (Stanley Gibbons N4638 and KSC №4467 and №4468) for 3 won on 2006.10.17 for the "80th Anniversary of Formation of Down-with-Imperialism Union".

António Martins-Tuválkin, 8 March 2024