Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 9.COM 10.14

The Committee

  1. Takes note that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has nominated Arirang folk song in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (No. 00914) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Arirang is a popular lyrical singing genre transmitted and recreated orally. It exists in multiple traditional forms as well as symphonic and modern arrangements. Arirang typically contains a gentle and lyrical melody, accompanied by the refrain: ‘Arirang, arirang, arariyo, Over the Arirang hill you go’. Arirang songs speak about leaving and reunion, sorrow, joy and happiness. The various categories differ according to the lyrics and melody used; the thirty-six known versions of Arirang have also undergone continuous development. Arirang is performed on various occasions among family, friends and communities, as well as on public occasions and at festivities. Children learn the songs from their parents and neighbours, in school and other settings. Professional art troupes in Pyongyang perform different forms of Arirang, while safeguarding societies play an important role in enacting, preserving and transmitting local versions. Arirang folk songs reinforce social relations, thus contributing to mutual respect and peaceful social development, and help people to express their feelings and overcome grief. They function as an important symbol of unity and occupy a place of pride in the performing arts, cinema, literature and other works of contemporary art.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List:

R.1:   Through the expression of different feelings and emotions, Arirang folk songs constitute an element of cultural identity in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, where people young and old sing these songs in a spirit of social cohesion;

R.2:   The inscription of the element on the Representative List could increase the visibility of intangible cultural heritage in general, while encouraging intercultural dialogue between the singing traditions in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and similar traditions around the world;

R.3:   Current and future efforts to safeguard and promote the performance of Arirang are described, including documentation, promotion, formal education and non-formal transmission, supported by the State and implemented also by the communities concerned;

R.4:   The nomination was prepared in cooperation with the national heritage protection committees in provinces, cities and counties; Arirang safeguarding societies, traditional music research organizations, art educational institutes, several practitioners and professional folk singers who gave their free, prior and informed consent for its inscription;

R.5:   Arirang versions, as part of traditional folk songs, were included in 2012 in the national list of the intangible heritage maintained and regularly updated by the National Authority for the Protection of Cultural Heritage.

  1. Inscribes Arirang folk song in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.