All family members of Ri Kwang Son, living in Ryomyong-dong, Taesong District, Pyongyang, are stamp collectors. Ri, associate professor at Kim Il Sung University, began stamp collection more than 30 years ago.

Since he was admitted to Kim Il Sung University in 1982, he was active in correspondence with his parents, siblings, relatives and friends. By the time he came to be graduated from the university, a headache was how to deal with the letters that filled his suitcase. The letters reminded him of the university days when he had studied hard at the highest institute of education cherishing his parents’ requests and his friends’ encouragement. Feeling ill at ease, he decided to keep the stamps.

He was surprised not by the number of stamps filling a book, but by the voluminous knowledge given by the stamps that showed the country’s developing reality, history, geography, folk customs and the like.

Learning the methods of collecting, arranging and preserving stamps from senior collectors, he grew more fascinated with stamp collection. He would travel a long way to collect even one stamp. After becoming a teacher of the mathematics faculty of Kim Il Sung University and getting married, he continued to spend his free time collecting stamps.

Picturing the developing country through stamps, he felt that he was living in such a great age of creation. There were times when a new math formula crossed his mind while feeling such happiness. “Methods and knacks of stamp collection have given me a great help to develop new teaching methods and apply them to improve the effectiveness of lectures,” says Ri.

He has so far collected more than 3 000 stamps, and is highly appreciated in the nationwide exhibitions of Korean stamps.

His stamps were put on display in international festivals for cultural exchange held in Tianjin, China, in June 2006 and June 2007, respectively. He is now a member of the stamp fans union of Korea and also an honorary member of the national stamp academy of Russia.

Like their father, his daughter and his son are also enthusiastic stamp collectors.

Article: Kim Son Gyong

Photo: Kim Sol Hui