Kim Jong-il

Hagiography of the Kims and the Childhood of Saints: Kim Jong-il

By | August 12, 2014

Christopher Richardson examines the mythological narrative of Kim Jong-il’s genesis, uncovering the carefully constructed combination of religion, half-truths, and state propaganda.

“Victory Day,” the Canonization of Kim Jong-il, and North Korean Succession Politics

By | August 02, 2014

Why did the North Korean commemorations of the July 27, 1953 Armistice dwell so heavily on Kim Jong-il, who was just a child during the Korean War? Adam Cathcart investigates how shifting histories in Pyongyang are laying the groundwork for ongoing succession narratives for the present leader.

Justifying Hereditary Succession in North Korea

By | March 09, 2014

Is the succession process to Kim Jong-un complete, or still very much in train? Sino-NK’s chief editor analyzes a recently-unearthed speech by the supreme leader.

Back to the Primary Source: Hunting for Kim Il-sung’s “May 25th Instructions”

By | February 19, 2014

1967 was a key year in ensuring that the Kim family’s iron-fisted ideological control of the DPRK would continue indefinitely. At the forefront of this process was a speech delivered on May 25 that year. The problem is that no foreigner has ever seen it, and it has long been misidentified by South Korean scholars. Hwang Jang-yop turns in his grave, while Fyodor Tertitskiy investigates.

Kimism’s Great Christmas Power Grab

By | February 07, 2014

When the Kim regime arrested, tried and swiftly executed Jang Sung-taek in December 2013, it was implementing the ancient maxim about the relative power of regents and monarchs, and following the ruthless logic of autocracy everywhere. Machiavelli would not have been in the least bit surprised by the death, as Christopher Green investigates in another of his columns for Groove Korea.

Jang Sung-taek: Chopped Off at the Knees

By | December 05, 2013

The purge of Jang Sung-taek has provided the world with a fresh layer of Korean peninsula intrigue, and yet more questions about the nature of Kimist dominance in the era of Jong-un. As the Twittersphere flutters, Nick Miller weighs in. Additional content from Christopher Green.

Treasured Swords: Environment under the Byungjin Line

By | June 03, 2013

Rarely do all three leaders of the Kim dynasty go on the public record about a single policy issue, and this makes inter-generational analysis of policy tropes a thorny proposition. However, we now have access to major treatizes on land management theory from the 1960s, 1980s and 2010s. Naturally, Robert Winstanley-Chesters has them lined up for comparison.

Eternal Recurrence: North Korean Iconography

By | May 21, 2013

Highlighting continuities and nuclear disjunctures in North Korean depictions of the Kim family, Adam Cathcart glosses a Heonik Kwon essay and tags the Mansudae Art Studios.