In the North Korean capital Pyongyang, the year 2008 is referred to as Juche 97, based on a system that begins with the date of birth of the nation's founder, Kim Il Sung, who was born on April 15, 1912.
North Koreans are indoctrinated from birth to revere the country's former leader, Kim Il-sung, although the man, who was elevated to the status of a godlike leader, has been dead for years.
Juche, or Kim Il Sungism, mandates that citizens attend weekly meetings espousing Kim Il-sung's school of thought. Families are required to hang a picture of the leader in their home. In years past, unannounced home inspections ensured those pictures were in fact hanging up and were clean. Homes found to be in violation were fined.
"It's like your religion," said an interviewee, referring to Kim Il Sungism. "When people come first in a race or don't get hurt from a fall, we say, 'Thank the General Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.'"