Hero of Labor (North Korea)
Hero of Labor (Korean: 로력영웅; MR: Roryŏk Yŏng'ung) is the highest title of honor of North Korea and the highest decoration of the country overall. The award was probably scheduled for establishment in the summer of 1950, but the Korean War postponed these plans. When the war had entered a phase of stalemate along the 38th parallel, the government had time to officially launch the decoration, originally under the name Korea Hero of Labor. 16 people were decorated Labor Heroes during the war and more since then. The decoration is based on its Soviet equivalent, Hero of Socialist Labour.
|Hero of Labor|
|Awarded by North Korea|
|Total awarded||335|
|Equivalent||Hero of the Republic|
|Next (lower)||Order of Kim Il-sung, Order of Kim Jong-il|
|Hero of Labor|
Hero of Labor is the highest title of honor of North Korea. It is also the highest decoration of the country overall. Immediately below it are the Order of Kim Il-sung and Kim Il-sung Prizes. Along with the title a gold medal is awarded. The medal features the hammer and sickle on a five-pointed star. It is awarded independently of the similar award of Order of Labor.
Hero of Labor was probably scheduled to be established in the summer of 1950, but the breaking up of the Korean War halted the plans. Only when the war reached a stalemate along the 38th parallel did the government have time to concentrate on its awards system. Hero of Labor was promulgated and it became the highest civilian award of the country. The title is based on its Soviet equivalent, Hero of Socialist Labour.
It was initially promulgated as Korea Hero of Labor, using the Korean word Chosun (조선). This set it apart from the related Order of Labor whose full name was "Korean People's Republic Order of Labor". This is likely because North Koreans copied every detail of the decorations of the Soviet Union, some of which featured the longer name of the country, "Soviet Union", and others simply "Soviet".
During the war, 16 people were decorated Labor Heroes. Once the war was over, surprisingly, Kim Il-sung was not awarded the title. He received one only on 7 September 1958, probably because he had consolidated his position in power following the 1956 attempted coup d'état known as the August Faction Incident. Kim Jong-il was never awarded one, leading observers to conclude that the prize did not have much political value at least at that time.
|Kim Rak-hui||politician||1955||Awarded for leading post-war reconstruction of farms in Kaechon|||
|Kim Il-sung||Premier of North Korea||7 September 1958||Awarded after the August Faction Incident (1956)|||
|Paek Sol-hui||botanist||7 October 1979||Developer of a crop strain|||
|Ri Pyong-sam||politician||19 October 2011||Political Director of the Korean People's Internal Security Forces|||
|Chang Jae-ryong||manager||October 2012||Manager of Osoksan Granite Mine, Ryonggang County, Nampho. Awarded "for his meritorious services, displaying bold and enterprising work style and practical ability."|||
|Hong Song-gwan||sea captain||7 June 2016||Former captain of Fishing Boat 1728 of the Second Fleet of the Kamapho Fishery Station that overfulfilled the fishing plan on many years|||
|Kim Chun-hui||weightlifting coach||2018||Weightlifting coach of the Kigwancha Sports Club|||
|300 workers||Awarded following the 1974 70-Day Battle mass mobilization campaign|||
|Jo Myong-suk||manager||Manager of the Hadang Unha Clothing Factory, awarded "in high appreciation of her devoted services to the prosperity of the country and the improvement of the people's living standards."|||
|Jong Yong-man||painter||Awarded twice. Painter of over 600 works, 170 which are in the Korean Art Gallery|||
|Kim Kwang-min||football coach||Coach of the women of the April 25 Sports Team and the women's national team|||
|Kim Sang-ryon||agronomist||Developer of a rice strain|||
|Kim Sin-ung||associate academician||At the Pyongyang University of Mechanical Engineering|||
|Mun Kang-sun||weaver||Overfulfilling plans at the Kim Jong-suk Textile Mill|||
|O Tae-hyong||sculptor||Took part in sculpting the Chollima Statue, Monument to the Victorious Battle of Pochonbo, Mansu Hill Grand Monument, Wangjaesan Grand Monument and the Monument to Party Founding.|||
|Om Kil-son||actor and director||"[F]or his contribution to the development of the Juche-based film art"|||
|Pak Jong-ju||film director||Director at the Korean Film Studio|||
|Paek Jong-muk||manager||Manager of the Sogam Pharmaceutical Factory|||
|Ra Un-sim||footballer||Captain of the North Korea women's national football team|||
|Ri Ok-sang||agriculturalist||Developed stockbreeding technology|||
|Ri Song-gun||painter||Painter of the Korean Painting Production Unit of the Mansudae Art Studio|||
|Ri Sung-ik||virologist||Head of the Virus Research Institute of the Pyongyang Medical College of Kim Il-sung University|||
|Ro Ik-hwa||sculptor||Maker of many famous statues with the Merited Sculpture Production Company of the Mansudae Art Studio|||
|Jin Pong-jun||manager||Manager of Fishery Station No. 223 run by the Korean People's Army|||
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