SYDNEY, Australia — The family of an Australian man studying at a university in North Korea said on Thursday that it had lost contact with him in recent days, and Australian officials said they were “urgently seeking clarification” about his whereabouts.
News reports in South Korea, citing anonymous sources, said that the student, Alek Sigley, 29, who was pursuing a master’s degree in Korean literature at Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang, the North’s capital, had been detained by the authorities.
But North Korea has issued no statements about Mr. Sigley, and neither his family nor the Australian officials confirmed that he had been arrested.
Mr. Sigley’s family said in a statement on Thursday that it was working with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to seek information about his whereabouts and welfare.
“Alek has not been in digital contact with friends and family since Tuesday morning Australian time, which is unusual for him,” the statement said. His Facebook page and Twitter feed were last updated on Monday, and his Facebook page is no longer accessible.
In its statement, his family called him a “scholar and traveler” who has “visited, studied and lived in several countries in Asia” and is fluent in Mandarin and Korean.
On social media, Mr. Sigley has offered a close look at his life inside the reclusive North, posting an array of images of things like food, restaurants and shops.
His posts could be those of any foreign exchange student — lunch at an ambassador’s residence, student discounts for exhibitions and museums, viewings of the final season of “Game of Thrones.”
But they originated in a totalitarian state where Western visitors are extremely few and some have been arrested for seemingly minor infractions and given draconian sentences.
Otto F. Warmbier, an American student who was imprisoned in North Korea on charges related to trying to take down a propaganda poster in a hotel, fell into a coma during his detention and later died after being returned to the United States.
Mr. Warmbier had joined a tour to North Korea in December 2015. He was arrested in early January 2016, right as he planned to leave Pyongyang. He was sentenced that March to 15 years in prison and hard labor.
But cases like Mr. Warmbier’s do not seem to have deterred Mr. Sigley. On his blog, “From Perth to Pyongyang,” he recounts what took him from life in that Western Australian city to North Korea and other Asian countries.
He describes himself as the son of an “Anglo-Aussie Sinologist” and a Shanghainese mother, and says that his fascination with North Korea began after he befriended students from the North while at college in Shanghai.
He began studying Korean in 2011, he said, and made his first visit to North Korea the year after. While a student at the Australian National University in Canberra, he applied to study Korean film and literature in Pyongyang.
He created a tour operation to take other foreign students into the country, and has led “well over a dozen” tours, he said. He wed his wife, who is Japanese, in North Korea.
“A Chinese-Australian man and a Japanese woman have their wedding in North Korea,” Mr. Sigley wrote. “My existence alone causes much confusion and I apologize if it has caused you any.”
He also wrote that he was careful not to comment on politics, but he did recount what it was like to be in Pyongyang during President Trump’s summit with Kim Jong-un in Singapore in June last year.
He quoted his Korean roommate as saying North Koreans were mocking Mr. Trump over his appearance and even his signature.
They were saying “that his signature looks like rubbish, is unreadable, and looks more like a heart rate monitor than a signature,” Mr. Sigley wrote.
He also recounted in a separate post watching a ballet performance that Mr. Kim attended. He described the rapturous applause that greeted the North Korean leader and his wife.
“Somewhere between a rock concert, one of those happy Christian megachurch events, and a political rally, perhaps?” he wrote. “Either way I’m certain that there’s nothing else in the world quite like it.”