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Chosŏn'gŭl 비날론
McCune–Reischauer Pinallon
Revised Romanization Binallon

Vinalon is a synthetic fiber, produced from polyvinyl alcohol, using anthracite and limestone as raw materials. Vinalon was first developed in 1939 by Japanese scientist Sakurada Ichiro (Kyoto University), Kawakami Hirosi (Dainihon Bouseki), Yazawa Masahide (Kanebuti Bouseki) and Ri Sung Gi. Production of this fiber was delayed for WW2. The fibre was largely ignored in Korea until Ri defected to North Korea in 1950. Trial production began in 1954 and in 1961 the massive February 8 Vinalon Complex was built in Hamhung.[citation needed] Its success and widespread usage in North Korea is often pointed to in propaganda as an example of the success of the juche philosophy.[1]

While Hamhung remains a major production centre for vinalon; in 1998, a vinalon factory was opened up in South Pyongan.[2][3] In early 2010, Kim Jong-il himself attended a mass rally at the February 8 Vinalon Complex in Hamhung to celebrate it's reopening after 16 years of inactivity. While Kim is often seen at politial rallies or military parades, this is the first documented time he has ever attended a industrial mass rally, said an anonymous South Korean security official. [4]

Vinalon, also known as "Juche fibre" in the DPRK, has become the national fibre of North Korea and is used for the majority of textiles, outstripping fibre such as cotton or Nylon, which are only produced in small amounts in North Korea. Other than clothing, Vinalon is also used for shoes, ropes and quilt wadding.

Vinalon is resistant to heat and chemicals but has numerous disadvantages: it is stiff, uncomfortable, shiny, prone to shrinking and difficult to dye.


  1. ^ Robinson, Michael E. (2007). Korea's Twentieth-Century Odyssey. Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press. pp. 158–161. ISBN 0824831745. 
  2. ^ "Vice Chairman Ri Byong Rim of Light Industry Commission". The People's Korea. 1998-02-12. 
  3. ^ "North and South Hamgyong Provinces". The People's Korea. 1999-02-03. Retrieved 2007-07-13. 
  4. ^ "Kim Jong-il Shows Up at Mass Rally". The Chosun Ilbo. 2010-03-08. Retrieved 2010-03-08. 

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