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"In South Korea, shamanistic rituals are visually flashy and involve a lot of sound," he says, "whereas in the North, from what I've heard, they are very small-scale and quieter."
In fact, shamanism in the North is completely underground and without formal organization, defectors and rights groups report. Practitioners can be jailed, sent to reeducation and labor camps or executed for taking part in what's considered an illegal superstition.
The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies, journalist Michael Breen reported that one church minister in the early 1960s identified some 70 Koreans who claimed to be the messiah and had followers.