[KS] Divinity of the Kims?
sheejun at gmail.com
Sat Feb 13 01:39:10 EST 2010
Thanks for initiating this interesting topic, Kirk.
In regard to Myers' claim of which I agree with, and like your findings
about supernatural claims, I'd say that instead of divine powers directly
being/not being attributed to the Kims, that more likely the strategy of the
DPRK propaganda apparatus is to (more indirectly) *associate* divine
concepts with the Kims, and so very intimately at that.
Myths relating to weather phenomena upon the birth of Kim Jong-il at
Baek-du, the gloominess of the day when Kim il sung died (see Myers'
mid-book photo section where KJI 'comforts a distraught nation,..etc.') and
other semi-divine contexts of crashing waves or falling snow, (although may
be outright untruths) are symbolically closely and carefully constructed
together to form the impression of the divine, but still not the divine. As
Myers says, alot of visuals that seem apolitical in nature to others are in
fact "read" differently by North Koreans (pg 87).
But the most blatent claim of divinity or god-ness attributed to KIS that
comes to mind is the event of his death. The Rodong newspaper's headlines
for about two weeks continuing (as is still referred to now
ofcourse) were/is "KIS will live forever/eternal/immortal ("영생할 것이다") in
huge bold...but then they will go on by saying something like "In our
hearts" (우리 마음 속에) so you can see their tricky manipulation/construction of
the divine intertwined with the non-divine. They most probably will do a
similar (if not the same) thing when KJI dies.
Nonetheless, there are definitely studies comparing Juche to a religion or
at least quasi-religion, so you may be able to quench your thirst in seeking
All the best!
On Sat, Feb 13, 2010 at 11:55 AM, Kirk Larsen <kwlarsen67 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello all,
> Having recently read and thoroughly enjoyed B.R. Myers book, *The Cleanest
> Race*, I am writing to enlist your collective wisdom concerning one of
> Myers' interesting and provocative claims: he argues that the DPRK regime
> does not attribute divine powers or characteristics to its leaders, either
> Kim Il Sung or Kim Jong Il. Specifically:
> “No matter what some American Christian Groups might claim, divine powers
> have never been attributed to either of the two Kims” (Myers, *Cleanest
> Race*, 13).
> This claim got me to thinking and poking around, the results of which I've
> put up on my blog<http://kwlhistorymatters.blogspot.com/2010/02/not-so-divine-kims.htm>(
> http://kwlhistorymatters.blogspot.com/2010/02/not-so-divine-kims.html) but
> while I have been able to find a few examples of claims of, if not quite
> divinity, certainly claims of the remarkable and supernatural, more
> generally, I find myself agreeing with Myers that the fantastical claims are
> *not* the norm in DPRK propaganda.
> My query to the experienced, erudite, and talented group that subscribe to
> this list is: does anyone know of specific, credible evidence to the
> contrary? In other words, any unequivocal examples of the DPRK regime
> claiming divinity for its founder and present ruler?
> Kirk W. Larsen
> Department of History
> 2151 JFSB
> Provo, UT 84602-6707
> (801) 422-3445
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