The History of the Khmer National Anthem “Nokor Reach”: A Preliminary Study

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Thibodi Buakamsri


Nokor Reach is a present day Khmer national anthem.  It probably became to be a national anthem after independence in 1953.  In more than two decades after the coup in March 1970, there are three national anthems for Cambodia, change follow a form of governments.  While Cambodia back to be a second kingdom begins in 1993, Nokor Reach also back to be a national anthem.  Some academics mention that Nokor Reach’s text present the glorious Angkor empire, but I think the argument shows no more interest on context. The most important thing in my view is the argument was dominated by idea I call Angkor Myth.  In this article, I will be examines a history of Nokor Reach.  I try to show that Nokor Reach before independence time is not a national anthem but it is a royal anthem.  King was praised in the royal anthem is S.M. Norodom Sihanouk (1st reign 1941-1955 and 2nd reign 1993-2005). In 1955, S.M. Sihanouk abdicated the throne, established his political group for run the election campaign and then became a Prime Minister. Nokor Reach as a national anthem, however, was still use as anthem for Samdech Sihanouk, father of independence of Cambodia.


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Buakamsri, T. (1). The History of the Khmer National Anthem “Nokor Reach”: A Preliminary Study. Journal of Mekong Societies, 2(1), 63-88. Retrieved from