Kim Jong-il

Dafato Team | Oct 30, 2023

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Kim Jong-il (Chabarovsk, February 16, 1941 or 1942 - Pyongyang, December 17, 2011) was a North Korean politician and dictator.

He ruled North Korea from 1994 until his death. He was preceded by his father Kim Il-sung, who ruled North Korea from 1948 until his death in 1994 and retains the title "eternal president" to this day. Kim Jong-il served as chairman of the National Defense Commission and secretary of the Korean Labor Party (named the party's eternal general secretary in April 2012).

Commander of the world's third largest army, he was hailed in North Korea as the "dear leader" or the "great leader of the Fatherland." The birth anniversary is also a public holiday.

Early years

According to Soviet archives, Kim came into the world on February 16, 1941, at a military camp near Chabarovsk, Siberia; this is the birth date that is commonly accepted by Western historians. In contrast, according to official North Korean sources, Kim's birth would have occurred on Mount Paektu in North Korea exactly one year later: on February 16, 1942). As mentioned earlier, he was the son of prominent exiled Korean Communist Party member Kim Il-sung, who was a battalion commander in the 88th Brigade (a unit composed of Chinese and Korean guerrillas), and Kim Il-sung's first wife, Kim Jong-suk. During his early years, spent in the Soviet Union, Kim Jong-il would have been named Jurij Irsenovič Kim.

In 1945, World War II having ended with the defeat of Japan, Korea declared independence from the Japanese. His father returned to Pyongyang in September, while little Kim Jong-il reached Korea in late November, landing in Sonbong (선봉 군, also known as Unggi) from a Soviet ship. The family moved to a former Japanese officer's house in Pyongyang and in 1948 had to endure the death of little "Shura" Kim, Kim Jong-il's brother, who drowned in a swimming pool. The following year Kim's mother died in childbirth; unconfirmed rumors state that the other family members, despite seeing her bleeding, did nothing to save her.


According to his official biography, Kim completed the general education course between September 1950 and August 1960, attending Elementary School No. 4 and Middle School No. 1 (Namsan Higher Secondary School, a special institution for the children of party leaders) in Pyongyang. Western media dispute this claim, arguing that when the Korean War broke out Kim Jong-il was sent to the PRC in order to complete his education so that his life would not be endangered by the conflict.

Throughout his schooling Kim was involved in politics. He was active in the Boys' Union and the Democratic Youth League (DYL), taking part in study groups on Marxist political theory and literature, including Western literature. In September 1957, he became vice-president of the DYL and pursued an anti-sectarian program, attempting to foster greater ideological education among his classmates; he also organized academic competitions and seminars, as well as helping to conduct field trips.

During his youth, Kim's interests ranged from music to farming to including automobile repair. He drove to school in trucks and electric motors he built in the workshop and often favored visiting factories and farms, which he did together with his classmates. He also enjoyed reading books on philosophy and military art.

In September 1960 he enrolled at Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang, where he took a degree course in Marxist political economy. While at university he worked as a factory worker in a textile factory and as a television repairman, and in July 1961 he officially enrolled in the Korean Labor Party; very often Kim Jong-il accompanied his father in his meetings with the people throughout the country.

In the early 1960s he went to East Germany (then an ally of North Korea) and was trained in Berlin at an Air Force unit. He then completed his studies in Korea, graduating in April 1964 with a thesis entitled The Position and Role of a Constituency in the Construction of Socialism. During the 1970s he would also study English at the University of Malta during a vacation on the island as a guest of Maltese Prime Minister Dom Mintoff.

In the meantime, the widowed Kim Il-sung had remarried and had another son from the second marriage, named Kim Pyong-il in honor of his half-brother who had died by drowning; he was initiated into a diplomatic career and served as North Korea's ambassador to several European countries from 1988 to 2019, the year of his return to the motherland. Some journalists have speculated that Kim Pyong-il was sent to distant places to avoid a fratricidal clash with Kim Jong-il over succession to power.

The rise to power (1964-1979)

Immediately after graduation he began his climb within the party. His entry into politics took place at the same time as the Sino-Soviet crisis that cracked the unity of the Communist world; within the PLC he distinguished himself as one of the most faithful exponents of Marxist-Leninist doctrine and also launched a campaign against the revisionists (not coincidentally, the Korean Labor Party was renamed the "Anti-Revisionist Party") who, in his view, by yielding to certain ideals of Confucian philosophy had watered down the movement's revolutionary thrust, contravening Kim Il-sung's instructions.

In 1965 Kim Jong-il was appointed instructor and section chief for the Party Central Committee; he then worked in the important Department of Organization and in 1968 became a member of the Politburo. During the late 1960s Kim wrote a series of articles on economics: in them he stigmatized the view that the main driving force behind economic development was the wage incentive of workers, arguing instead that greater motivation could be derived from having a common ideology; he then toured the country, giving guidance on the technical restructuring that needed to occur in all industries in the country.

Between 1967 and 1969 he took charge of the North Korean People's Army, taking on the criticism of those who claimed that the armed forces bureaucracy oppressed and gagged the party. Kim devoted himself to reversing the situation by having soldiers directly framed within the PLC: at the fourth plenary meeting he pointed to some Army officers as responsible for attempting to hegemonize the party, who were later expelled from the army.

During his early years on the Party Central Committee Kim Jong-il also supervised the Department's propaganda and proselytizing activities, with the aim of revolutionizing Korean art. Artists were asked to create works that were innovative in content and form and produced by new methods and systems totally divorced from the ancient traditions of Korean arts. It was during this period that his passion for film was born: according to Kim Jong-il, a film was a combination of all other existing art forms, so the revolutionary evolution of film production would drive all other artistic manifestations. He personally adapted to North Korean reality a number of works made or set during World War II, which, beginning in the 1970s, were published.

Chosen as deputy director of the party's Central Committee in September 1970, he was elected a member of the committee in October 1972 and secretary of the same organization a year later. In this capacity he fostered a certain "popularization" of the party: bureaucrats, who had to come from the ranks of PLC militants, were required to work for twenty days a month together with workers subordinate to them at one level in the party or state organization chart. In February 1974 Kim joined the party's Political Committee and began to be called "dear leader."

He was very active and often went to every corner of North Korea to hold rallies and meet with the people, the focus of his ideology known as the "three revolutions." He favored scientific research, subsidizing it with public money, devised a system of a totally planned economy, and was active in building numerous mass political and military organizations.

Strenuously in favor of the reunification of Korea, he was among the founders of the "International Liaison Committee for the Independent and Peaceful Reunification of Korea" in 1977; as a result, he participated in numerous diplomatic negotiations with representatives of South Korea, but these were always unsuccessful.

From the 1980s to the death of Kim Il-sung (1994)

In October 1980, the Sixth Congress of the Korean Labor Party was held, from which Kim Jong-il's position emerged much strengthened: at the end of the meetings he entered the politburo, the military commission and the party secretariat. In February 1982 the Supreme People's Assembly ratified his entry into the organization, and from then on many international observers thought it was a political investiture.

He began towards the "dear leader" (친애하는 지도자?, chinaehanun jidojaLR) a personality cult modeled on that of his father, the "great leader": Kim was called a "courageous leader" and was spoken of as "the ideal successor to the revolutionary cause." After Kim Il-sung he was now the most powerful figure in North Korea.

The government of South Korea has accused Kim Jong-il of ordering the 1983 bombing in Rangoon (now Yangon), Burma, that cost the lives of seventeen South Korean officials, including four members of the government. He was also credited with the bombing that cost the lives of all 115 passengers on Korean Air Flight 858 in 1987: in this case the officer who put the bomb in the plane, Kim Hyon Hui, said the order was given to him directly by Kim.

On December 24, 1991, Kim assumed the post of supreme commander of North Korea's armed forces.Since the military is a key component of North Korean life, this appointment was very relevant to his political career. Already for some time Defense Minister Oh Jin-wu had arranged for soldiers to become loyal to Kim (initially viewed with skepticism, since he had not served in the military) and succeeded, as evidenced by the fact that one of the possible rivals to the succession, Prime Minister Kim Il, was deposed by them on April 29, 1976.

In 1992, Kim Il-sung announced that it was now his son who was in charge of all domestic politics, and from then on Kim Jong-il addressed the North Korean president as "dear dad" and no longer as "great leader," showing that they were now acting as equals. Kim Jong-il's 50th birthday was the occasion for the staging of a large street demonstration, surpassed in number of participants only by his father's 80th birthday.

According to Hwang Jang-yop (a North Korean politician who went into voluntary exile in Seoul), North Korea's system became even more centralized and authoritarian under Kim Jong-il than it was under Kim Il-sung: the "dear leader" demanded unity and absolute obedience, while any deviation from his thinking was interpreted as a sign of disloyalty. According to Hwang he personally directed all state affairs, including minor details such as the size of the homes of local party secretaries and the choice of gifts to send to his staff.

In 1992, during a parade celebrating the 60th anniversary of the armed forces, he took the microphone in front of a crowd gathered around Central Square (the entire audience applauded and parade participants shouted, "Ten thousand years" three times in a row.

When Kim Il-sung died on July 8, 1994 from a heart attack, it was not difficult for Kim Jong-il to have immense power in his hands (although, officially, he did not want to take over the presidency of Korea, which would "eternally" remain with his father).

State's top executive (1994-2011)

Many analysts believed that with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the demise of the charismatic North Korean leader, communism would radically collapse in Pyongyang. The fact that Kim Jong-il remained in the shadows for a few days after his father's demise fueled this assumption, but in the end the party's solidarity allowed him a quiet grip on the government.

Officially, Kim Jong-il was part of a triumvirate that managed executive power within North Korea: the other members were Premier Kim Yong-il and Parliament Speaker Kim Yong-nam. The powers of the three politicians were divided equally: Kim Jong-il was commander of the armed forces, Kim Yong-il head of government, and Kim Yong-nam managed foreign relations. However, Kim Jong-il exercised absolute control over the government and the country.

On October 8, 1997, he became chairman of the National Defense Commission and was appointed secretary of the Korean Labor Party. In 1998 a new constitution was issued, under which no one could assume the office of state president, as this role "eternally" belongs to Kim Il-sung.

Kim was punctually reelected to the Supreme People's Assembly until his death in 2011.

Kim Jong-il claimed credit for some economic improvement in North Korea. However, during the early 1990s the situation seemed critical because of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the cooling of relations with the People's Republic of China after Beijing entered into diplomatic talks with South Korea. The floods of 1995 and 1996 were followed by the drought of 1997, all of which led to financial deterioration.

This, combined with the fact that only 18 percent of the land was arable and the inability to import the goods needed to sustain industry sent Korea into crisis. Faced with a decaying country, Kim launched the "Army First" campaign (선군정치, Sŏn'gun chŏngch'i), based on strengthening heavy industry and building a strong military arsenal that would enable the country to turn the economy around and the regime to hold the reins of the country. The goals were achieved, but even today North Korea still needs foreign aid (which mainly comes to it from China) for what concerns food.

In the second half of the 1990s Kim made openings to the free market, but Stanford University researcher Daniel Sneider judges them to be "moderate if helpful." In 2002 Kim declared that "money should be able to determine the value of every consumer good" and initiated a program similar to that developed by Deng Xiaoping in the late 1980s and early 1990s; during a 2006 state visit Kim expressed satisfaction and admiration for China's rapid economic development.

Over the years Kim wanted to reestablish some diplomatic talks with South Korea. This was especially the case since 1998, when South Korean President Kim Dae-jung initiated the so-called Sunshine policy (the diplomatic détente that followed led to some South Korean companies coming to the North, while Pyongyang was able to import information technology (software in particular) from Seoul.

As a result of the new policy, the city of Kaesŏng was demilitarized and 250 South Korean companies were established within it, which had about 100,000 North Korean workers among their employees (2007 figures). The non-idyllic continuation of relations between the two Koreas led to the dismantling of almost all South Korean companies in North Korea in March 2007; twenty-one remained, which could count on 12,000 North Korean workers.

Kim Jong-il's political strategy (referred to by him as "the red flag policy") enabled him to establish friendly relations with China, Venezuela, Cuba, Saddam Hussein's Iraq, and the Maoist rebels of Nepal, who later came to power under the leadership of Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Trade talks with Russia reached a fair level, while contacts with the United States of America and other Western countries, including Italy, were bad.

In 1994 North Korea and the United States signed an agreement (Agreed Framework) under which Pyongyang dismantled its nuclear program in exchange for aid from Washington in building two nuclear reactors. However, in 2002 Kim rejected these agreements, claiming that Korea would produce nuclear weapons because of the U.S. military presence on the South Korean peninsula and deteriorating relations with President George W. Bush. On October 9, 2006, the North Korean State News Agency announced that a successful underground nuclear test had been conducted: it consequently received UN sanctions.


On December 19, 2011, North Korean state television announced his death from a heart attack while traveling by train returning from a construction site. A solemn funeral was held the following December 28. Kim Jong-il's body was embalmed, briefly displayed and interred at the Sun Palace in Kumsusan, next to his father Kim Il-sung.

On the day of the death and up to the day of the funeral, North Korean media disseminated images depicting crowds of citizens weeping and calling out the late president's name. According to the South Korea-based Daily Nk newspaper, unnamed sources in North Hamkyung Province reported punitive measures against citizens accused of circulating rumors critical of the handover of power to the new supreme commander Kim Jong-un, who had failed to attend meetings held during the mourning period, or who had attended without mourning or who had done so by appearing unconvincing.

In April 2012, during the Seventh Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea, he was awarded the title of the party's "eternal general secretary," following in the footsteps of his father Kim Il-sung, who was named the country's "eternal president" after his death. However, in January 2021 his son Kim Jong-un, formerly the party's first secretary and then chairman, will be elected general secretary of the Workers' Party at the 8th Congress, regaining the title.

Kim's three sons, as well as his son-in-law and army officer O Kuk-ryol, were being considered as his possible successors at the top of the North Korean state, although officially the Pyongyang executive had given no indication of this. According to South Korean media, the favorite was his son Kim Jong-chul (1981-), while opponents of the regime suggested the name of his younger brother Kim Jong-un, who was described "just like his father" and whose "political ideas and explosive temperament" he shared; however, scholar Kim Yong Hyun, a professor at Dongguk University, argued that North Korean institutions were against the continuation of the Kim dynasty.

The eldest son Kim Jong-nam was long considered the designated heir to the leadership of the government, but fell from grace in 2001 when he was found at Tokyo-Narita airport with a fake passport. On June 2, 2009, it was reported that the youngest of his sons, Kim Jong-un, would take Kim Jong-il's place.

Apparently, Kim had determined that the "brilliant comrade" (this is Jong Un's official nickname) should take his place in the executive branch in 2012, when he would have turned 70 (as of the birth date provided by official North Korean sources).


There is no official information available on Kim Jong-il's marital and family life, but it is believed that he had one wife and three female companions with whom he did not form any marriages. He had five children: two girls (the elder Sul-song, who served as his secretary, and Yo-jong ) and three boys (in descending order of age Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-chul and Kim Jong-un).

His first wife was Kim Young-sook, daughter of a high-ranking North Korean army officer: it appears that it was Kim Il-sung who chose this girl over his son. From this relationship the North Korean dictator's first female child, Kim Sul-song, was born in 1974, but after a few years the marriage foundered.

Kim's first female companion was Song Hye-rim, a famous North Korean actress already married to another man who, according to her detractors, was forced to divorce her. Since the relationship was never made official by the wedding Song never rose to the role of first lady and in 2002, after she had already been estranged from Kim for many years, she died at the age of sixty-five in a Moscow hospital. By her Kim Jong-il had his first-born son Kim Jong-nam, born in 1971.

Kim's second partner, Ko Yong-hui, was a Japanese dancer of Korean descent. Their relationship was peaceful, and although they did not tie the knot, she acted as a wife rather than just a girlfriend in official meetings. She died of breast cancer in August 2004.With her, Kim became the father of Kim Jong-chul in 1981, Kim Jong-un (also known as "Jong Woon" and "Jong Woong") in 1983 or 1984, and Kim Yo-jong in 1987.

After Ko's death she cohabited with Kim Ok, who had been his personal secretary since the 1980s. She acted almost like a first lady and often accompanied Kim on her visits to military bases and meetings with visiting foreign diplomats and ambassadors. She was with Kim on his secret trip to the People's Republic of China in January 2006, where she was received by Chinese officials as Kim's official companion.

Passions and character

Much like his father, Kim Jong-il was afraid to fly by plane and used armored trains on his trips abroad. According to Konstantin Pulikovsky, a Russian emissary who traveled with Kim in 2003 during one of his missions to Moscow, Kim had a culinary fondness for lobsters and had them served to him on the train every day.The testimony, reported by the BBC, has not been further corroborated, however.

Kim Jong-il claimed to be a great movie buff and owned more than 20,000 videotapes: among his movies (he also favored Chinese action films and his favorite actress was Elizabeth Taylor. He also wrote a book on the subject, entitled On the Art of Cinema.

In 1978, on Kim's orders, South Korean director Shin Sang-ok and his wife, actress Choi Eun-hee, were kidnapped for the purpose of building North Korea's film industry. In 2006 he participated in the production of the film The Diary of a Young Student whose plot, concerning the life of a girl whose parents are scientists, was consistent with Juche philosophy; a KNA report states that Kim "improved the script and guided its production."

He is described as an avid basketball player, so much so that former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at the end of their summit gave him a basketball autographed by Michael Jordan. North Korean media asserted that he was a great golfer, able to make a hole-in-one three times a game, despite the fact that the chances of getting it right on one occasion are about 1 in 5,000. Kim also was a good player of musical instruments, composed six operas and was a self-described expert internet user. These characteristics of his are believed by the Western press to be exaggerated by North Korean propaganda.

Some press sources mention that he owned seventeen mansions and apartments. He had private lodgings near Baitou Mountain, a seaside villa in Wŏnsan, and an apartment complex in Pyongyang equipped with fence lines, underground bunkers, and anti-aircraft batteries; however, his official biography strongly refutes these claims. On November 25, 2010, Caritas internationalis director Duncan MacLaren, returning from North Korea, denounced, "Kim Jong-il is simply the owner of a nation; the undisputed owner of the assets of the entire North Korea. It is the most isolated country in the world; it is subservient to the dictatorship of the Kim family and its military entourage completely indifferent to the suffering of the people and interested only in maintaining power, even at the cost of destabilizing the region, as seen with the threats of a nuclear arms race and the recent attacks on South Korea," and "in addition to the rampant famine, I was horrified by the technical equipment in the hospitals: it would be good for a museum of the past and not for treating people today. I have seen the living despair and I understand the reasons why other humanitarian organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and Action contre la faim have abandoned this nation; unfortunately, the West is silent perhaps because it does not know or does not want to know out of shame, but the North Korean people are suffering a human drama of unclassifiable gravity. If the U.S. disgracefully embargoed North Korea as well, something unimaginable would happen, from war to the exodus of twenty-three million human beings that would consequently kill South Korea's economy as well; paradoxically, perhaps it is better for Washington to support Kim Jong-il's regime."

In August 2008, Waseda University professor Toshimitsu Shigemura wrote in the Japanese weekly Shūkan Gendai that Kim Jong-il had died in late 2003 and that at public receptions he had been replaced by look-alikes used previously in order to protect him from attacks and brutal assaults.

Shigemura reiterated his theories in his book The True Character of Kim Jong-il, which was quite successful: reporting statements from Japanese and South Korean newspapers, the writer asserted that in early 2000 Kim had been stricken with a bad form of diabetes that forced him first into a wheelchair and then, after three and a half years, to an untimely death. Shigemura also added that an analysis of the North Korean statesman's voice print made in 2004 did not yield the same results as a recording made before that date. Contributing to these rumors was Kim's absence at the Olympic flashlight ceremony in Pyongyang on April 28, 2008, which baffled international agencies.

On September 9, 2008, Kim defected from the military parade celebrating the 60th anniversary of the birth of the North Korean state, and many began to speculate about his health status: U.S. intelligence agencies reported that Kim may be "seriously ill" after suffering a stroke or heart attack (his last public appearance had occurred a month earlier). Faced with statements from a former CIA officer that Kim's medical condition was to be considered very critical, the North Korean media preferred not to respond.

An Associated Press report outlined an uncohesive picture within North Korea: while Kim was in favor of the "six-party pact" (with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States), the military had expressed its opposition. As rumors of Kim's ill health grew, Korea sported a much more aggressive foreign policy, some speculated that the illness had made Kim's position more vulnerable to the military.

On September 10, two conflicting reports came from South Korea: one, circulated by government officials in Seoul, claimed that Kim had undergone surgery following a minor stroke and that, because of this operation, he had been unable to go to the demonstration the day before; the other, circulated by Chosun Ilbo magazine, asserted that Kim had suffered a heart attack the previous August 22 while in Beijing and that his health condition was terrible. These speculations were denied by Supreme People's Assembly Speaker Kim Yong-nam and Ambassador Song Il-ho, with the latter speaking of a plot hatched by the U.S. against the North Korean statesman.

However, speculation about Kim's health did not stop: the New York Times reported that he was very ill and had suffered a heart attack, but that according to U.S. intelligence his death was not to be considered imminent, while the BBC stepped up the pace, claiming that Kim had suffered a heart attack on August 15 and that his condition suggested that his death was not far off, despite official denials from the Asian executive.

To refute these rumors, on Nov. 5 the Pyongyang Central Agency published two photos showing a fit Kim Jong-il posing in front of a division of the North Korean army: in the images Kim, relaxed and smiling, appeared in the center foreground, with soldiers deployed in the front row, with all his features, namely souflé hairdo, white Maoist jacket and sunglasses. The Times, however, questioned the authenticity of one of the two images.

In November 2008, Japan's Tokyo Broadcasting System television claimed that Kim had suffered a second heart attack in October that made it impossible for him to speak, but South Korean intelligence denied this claim. According to South Korean YTN television and Chinese intelligence, Kim would have had pancreatic cancer with a life expectancy of no more than five years. The signs of the disease would have been obvious: Kim had appeared visibly slim and hollowed out in the face at his last public event for his father's memorial service.

In response to statements concerning Kim's health and his alleged loss of power, North Korea released a video in April 2009 showing Kim visiting factories and other places around the country between November and December 2008. Beginning in July 2009, rumors about his ill health seemed to subside, finally being confirmed more than two years later, with his death on Dec. 17, 2011.

In March 2009, North Korean border sentries patrolling the woods on the border with China seized the two Korean-born (unspecified whether North or South) U.S. journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling, working for the independent satellite broadcaster Current TV, who were reporting on the many cases of civilian population fleeing North Korea. On charges of being spies they were arrested, tried and convicted on charges of illegally crossing the borders of North Korea for the purpose of espionage, receiving a twelve-year sentence of hard labor.

Reactions to the ruling were not long in coming: the nongovernmental organization Reporters Without Borders openly spoke of an outcome that had already been written and a "sham trial," while U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asserted that the charges against the two journalists were "unfounded." The judicial episode thus threatened to worsen the already fragile relations between the United States and North Korea.

The following August 4, former U.S. President Bill Clinton went on a mission to Pyongyang to meet with Kim Jong-il: the purpose of the visit was exclusively "to obtain the release of Euna Lee and Laura Ling." According to the North Korean State News Agency (KCNA), Clinton was the bearer of an official message from Barack Obama to Kim, but this was denied by Obama's executive. Also according to KCNA, Clinton and Kim Jong-il had an "exhaustive conversation" that included "a broad exchange of views on issues of common interest."

KCNA also reported that North Korea's National Defense Commission, of which Kim was chairman, had held a dinner in honor of Clinton, but did not specify what was discussed at the ceremony. In any case, in the early morning hours of August 5, Kim Jong-il decided to grant a presidential pardon to Lee and Ling.

Kim Jong-il is part of an elaborate cult of personality inherited from his father and founder of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Kim Il-sung. In North Korean schools, young people are indoctrinated into the deification of father and son. He is at the center of North Korean citizens' attention even in everyday moments: in fact, his birthday is one of the most important anniversaries of the year.

On the occasion of his 60th birthday (celebrated in accordance with his official date of birth), mass celebrations have occurred throughout the country; however, it should be noted that reaching the age of 60 is in the Korean peninsula a special occasion, called Hwangab, which is always celebrated in a more impressive manner than usual. Those who fuel the cult of Kim's personality claim (often with the use of radio and television) that he has magical and supernatural powers capable, for example, of changing weather conditions.

One interpretation being made of Kim Jong-il's cult of personality is that it represents a form of respect for his father. Realistically, it is a strategy of terror established by the monarchical regime

In honor of Kim Jong-il, a song entitled 당신이 없으면, 조국도 없다 (roughly translatable into Italian as No country without you) sung by the North Korean People's Army choir was created in 1992; the song quickly became one of the most popular and "appreciated" in the country's history.


  1. Kim Jong-il
  2. Kim Jong-il
  3. ^ North Korean biographies, which claim his birth date as 16 February 1942, are generally not considered to be factually reliable.
  4. ^ The given name Jong Il is pronounced [tsɔŋ.il] in isolation.
  5. ^ Russian: Юрий Ирсенович Ким, Russian pronunciation: [ˈjʉrʲɪj ɪrsɛˈnofit͡ɕ ˈkʲim]
  6. ^ Sources saying that Kim ruled North Korea as a totalitarian dictatorship.[4][5][6]
  7. ^ Nell'onomastica coreana il cognome precede il nome. "Kim" è il cognome.
  8. ^ a b c d e (EN) Kim Jong Il: Brief History (PDF), su, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1987. URL consultato il 23 novembre 2009 (archiviato dall'url originale il 28 luglio 2019).
  9. a b et c Philippe Pons, Corée du Nord, un État-guérilla en mutation, Paris, Éditions Gallimard, coll. « La Suite des temps », avril 2016, 720 p. (ISBN 978-2-07-014249-1), p. 253
  10. Philippe Pons, « Portrait d'un dictateur « irrationnel » et « imprévisible » », Le Monde,‎ 19 décembre 2011 (lire en ligne).
  11. a et b Philippe Pons, Corée du Nord, un État-guérilla en mutation, Paris, Éditions Gallimard, coll. « La Suite des temps », avril 2016, 720 p. (ISBN 978-2-07-014249-1), p. 254.
  12. a b et c Philippe Pons, Corée du Nord, un État-guérilla en mutation, Paris, Éditions Gallimard, coll. « La Suite des temps », avril 2016, 720 p. (ISBN 978-2-07-014249-1), p. 243.
  13. a et b (en) Suzuki Masauki, North Korea: Between Socialism and Tradition, University of Tokyo Press, 1992.
  14. Kim Jong-il wurde entweder im Woroschilow-Lager bei Nikolsk oder im Lager Wjatskoje im Kreis Chabarowsk geboren. Siehe dazu auch den Abschnitt Kindheit und Jugend.

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