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

‘Through lit­er­a­ture, art, song and rit­u­al, North Korea metic­u­lous­ly embeds the child­hoods of its lead­ers in the nation­al con­scious­ness. Imi­tat­ing the medieval lives of saints, and apoc­ryphal infan­cy nar­ra­tives of Christ, the lives of the Great and Dear Leaders–known respec­tive­ly as “Immor­tal His­to­ry” and “Immor­tal Leadership”–are key exem­pla for the inter­gen­er­a­tional trans­mis­sion of rev­o­lu­tion­ary ide­ol­o­gy, espe­cial­ly for children…’

Intro­duc­ing the first of a two-part series explor­ing the child­hood hagiogra­phies of the North Kore­an lead­ers. In this, the first install­ment, I explore the youth­ful exploits of Kim Jong-il, ‘the heav­en-sent boy’ of Mount Paektu.

For more, includ­ing ear­ly hints of the third gen­er­a­tion Kim Fam­i­ly suc­ces­sion embed­ded in the nation­al mythol­o­gy, head over to Sino-NK