Juche rules North Korean propaganda, but what does it mean?

In this Sept. 15, 2018, photo, North Koreans take a walk at dawn by the Tower of Juche Idea in Pyongyang, North Korea. The word Juche is splashed acro...
In this Sept. 11, 2019, photo, North Korean dancers perform as mosaic of The Tower of The Juche Idea is formed during a mass games performance titled:...
In this Sept. 12, 2019, photo, Kim Chang Kyong, Juche expert who is also the head of North Korean Social Scientists Association, speaks during an inte...
In this July 16, 2019, photo, a woman stands against the 170-meter-tall Tower of Juche Idea, center, in Pyongyang, North Korea. The word Juche is spla...
In this Sept. 15, 2018, photo, the Tower of Juche Idea is lit up in Pyongyang, North Korea. The word Juche is splashed across countless propaganda sig...
In this July 15, 2019, photo, a North Korean tourist guide walks past a statue in front of the Tower of Juche Idea in Pyongyang, North Korea. The word...
In this Sept. 12, 2019 photo, Kim Chang Kyong, Juche expert and who is also the head of North Korean Social Scientists Association, wears a pin of the...
FILE - In this June 19, 2018, file photo, portraits of the late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are illuminated on a building as the ...

In this Sept. 15, 2018, photo, North Koreans take a walk at dawn by the Tower of Juche Idea in Pyongyang, North Korea. The word Juche is splashed acro...

In this Sept. 11, 2019, photo, North Korean dancers perform as mosaic of The Tower of The Juche Idea is formed during a mass games performance titled:...

In this Sept. 12, 2019, photo, Kim Chang Kyong, Juche expert who is also the head of North Korean Social Scientists Association, speaks during an inte...

In this July 16, 2019, photo, a woman stands against the 170-meter-tall Tower of Juche Idea, center, in Pyongyang, North Korea. The word Juche is spla...

In this Sept. 15, 2018, photo, the Tower of Juche Idea is lit up in Pyongyang, North Korea. The word Juche is splashed across countless propaganda sig...

In this July 15, 2019, photo, a North Korean tourist guide walks past a statue in front of the Tower of Juche Idea in Pyongyang, North Korea. The word...

In this Sept. 12, 2019 photo, Kim Chang Kyong, Juche expert and who is also the head of North Korean Social Scientists Association, wears a pin of the...

FILE - In this June 19, 2018, file photo, portraits of the late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are illuminated on a building as the ...

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — It's just a single word, but it's hard to miss in North Korea. It's splashed across countless propaganda signs, seeded through dozens of state media reports, at the beating heart of emotional pop songs and on the lips of the earnest guides who show off the grand monuments built in its honor.

The word is Juche (pronounced ju-chay), and while it's technically a political ideology, it can seem more like a religion in its ability to inspire devotion among North Koreans and its ubiquity as a symbol of state power. Though the usual English translation is "self-reliance," the concept flummoxes many outsiders.

Pyongyang uses the term liberally, including in previous years at the United Nations, where a North Korean official will speak Monday at the annual General Assembly.