Home > Our Work > Leadership Development > Eyes of Pyongyang > One Picture, One Story:

Good-for-Nothing Cows


What story will defector student Lee Gayeon share with this picture? This is the 6th One Picture, One Story, entitled “Good-for-nothing cows’.

Do you know about North Korea’s “good-for-nothing cows?”

In June and October of 1998, Jung Juyoung, the honorary chairman of Hyundai Group, crossed into North Korea through Panmunjeom with a herd of 1001 cows. At the time, Chairman Jung had said that he “sincerely hopes that this visit will be the cornerstone on which reconciliation and peace between the North and the South can begin to be built.” Later, Chairman Jung’s visit to North Korea began to be considered as the key event that opened up the gates for the the many exchanges to happen for the next 10 years. However, according to North Korean college student Lee Gayeon, most of the cattle brought to North Korea by Chairman Jung soon died because they had difficulty adjusting to the new demands placed on them.The South Korean cows had never worked so hard for so long as the North Korean cows were accustomed to doing, a result of using machines to do the agricultural labor in the South instead of using cows. And so, the North Koreans called the South Korean cows that didn’t know how to work hard “good-for-nothing cows.” It seems that the South and North Korean cultural difference lies not only in the people but also in the animals as well!