Pyongyang (/ˈpjɒŋˈjæŋ/; (Chosŏn'gŭl:평양;hancha:平壤), Korean pronunciation:[pʰjʌŋjaŋ], literally: "Flat Land" or "Peaceful Land", approved: P’yŏngyang; several variants) is the capital of North Korea and the largest city in the country. Pyongyang is located on the Taedong River and, according to preliminary results from the 2008 population census, has a population of 3,255,388. The city was split from the South Pyongan province in 1946. It is administered as a directly governed city (chikhalsi, 직할시) on the same level as provincial governments, not a special city (teukbyeolsi, 특별시) as Seoul in South Korea.
"Pyongyang" literally means "Flat Land" in Korean. One of Pyongyang's many historic names is Ryugyong (류경; 柳京), or "capital of willows", as willow trees have always been numerous throughout the city's history; this served as an inspiration for many poems. Even today, the city has numerous willow trees, with many buildings and places having "Ryugyŏng" in their names. The most notable of these is the incomplete Ryugyong Hotel. The city's other historic names include Kisong, Hwangsong, Rakrang, Sŏgyong, Sodo, Hogyong, Changan, and Heijo (during Japanese rule in Korea). During the early 20th century, Pyongyang came to be known among missionaries as being the "Jerusalem of the East", due to its historical status as a stronghold of Christianity, namely Protestantism.
Pyongyang restaurants are found mainly in China near the North Korean border and also Beijing and Shanghai, but in the 2000s the chain has been expanding into South East Asian cities including Jakarta,Phnom Penh,Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang, Siem Reap, Dhaka,Vientiane and Kuala Lumpur. There is also one restaurant in Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar. The restaurants initially catered to the many South Korean businessmen in South East Asia, and have now become popular with curious tourists. A branch was opened in Amsterdam in 2012 along with Dutch co-owners, closed 7 months later, and reopened in December 2013 under the name Haedanghwa in a new location, which closed a year later. The chain used to have branches in Bangkok and Pattaya but these have closed down and back opened in Bangkok in 2015. It was believed that a new branch was set to open in Scotland, in line with Kim Jong Un's interest in the country after its recent independence referendum, although this has been denied by North Korean officials.
Pyongyang documents Delisle's experiences in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, where he stayed for two months. Acting as the liaison between a French animation producing company (Protecrea working for TF1) and the SEK Studio (Scientific Educational Korea) company, he struggles with the difficulties of outsourcing and the bureaucracy of the totalitarian closed state.
The book has 176 pages, two of them drawn by a French colleague ("Fabrice").