Kim Il-sung was the first official leader of North Korea that ruled the country for several decades. One of his most particular features was his persistent desire to change the life in DPRK (now North Korea) for the better. People living in the country worshipped Kim Il-sung and often called him a hero. Truth be told, this phenomenon didn’t disappear even after his death.
More often than not, the biography of this man contains false information and myths that were neither proven nor dispelled. Therefore, we decided to gather 9 true facts about the life of Kim Il-sung and share them with our readers. We hope that the facts will be interesting for you. Here they are…
Kim Il-sung: 9 interesting facts about the greatest leader of North Korea
1. Kim Il-sung had many names
The future leader of North Korea was born in April 1912. His parents gave him the name Kim Sŏng-ju. Since both his parents were against the Japanese rule of Korea, the family moved to Manchuria in 1920. After graduating from school, young Kim joined a communist youth organization. From then on, he was known under many pseudonyms. “The Morning Star”, “The Elder Grandson”, “The Light from the East” … As you see, Kim chose his pseudonyms carefully. They were the names with a certain meaning behind them.
He took the name Kim Il-sung at the age of 17. The name means “The Rising Sun”.
2. Kim Il-sung from his own experience knew what life in prison was like
The actions of the communist organization that Kim participated in didn’t go unnoticed. In 1930, he and other members were arrested and sent to prison. The time spent in prison was hard, but Kim’s spirit wasn’t broken. Soon after the release from prison, he became a member of the Korean guerrilla resistance, an interesting Kim Il-sung fact. The main aim of the resistance was to fight against the Japanese occupation.
3. Kim Il-sung quickly built a military career
In 1934, Kim quickly rose through the ranks and became the commander of the guerrilla army troops. One year later, he was appointed a member of the United Army under the command of the Chinese Communist Party. Soon after that, he was promoted to the commander of the 2nd division consisting of 160 men. In 1936, he became the commander of the troops that were known as “the division of Kim Il-sung”. His experience and skills as a military officer allowed him to achieve success during the Battle of Pochonbo that happened in 1937.
4. Kim Il-sung joined the Russian Communist Party
Kim’s talent and success as a military officer drew the attention of Soviet military authorities. They sent Kim an offer asking him to come to the Soviet Union to train military forces. Upon arriving, Kim immediately joined the Russian Communist Party, an interesting Kim Il-sung fact.
5. Kim Il-sung was the first premier of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
During the course of WW II, Kim was appointed the major officer commanding the Korean troops that were part of the Soviet army. By the end of the war, Korea was divided between the Soviet Union and the US. The northern part was occupied by the Soviet Union while the southern part was occupied by the US. Kim, using the support of the Soviet Union, started to gradually establish a communist provisional government. The process was finished in 3 years. In 1948, Kim was proclaimed the first premier of the DPRK. After that, he went on to establish the Korean Workers’ Party.
6. Kim Il-sung wanted to reunify Korea
In order to achieve this goal, Kim started the Korean War. Although the war lasted for almost 3 years, his attempt to take South Korea under control failed. Its consequences were quite serious because Kim nearly lost control over North Korea. An interesting fact about Kim Il-Sung is that he was lucky to have Chinese forces on his side since the Chinese army helped him to prevent the invasion of the United Nations forces.
7. Kim Il-sung is the “eternal President of the Korean Republic”
In 1998, Kim was declared the “eternal President of the Korean Republic”. The position was established in order to honor the memory of the great leader. Even though now the country is ruled by his grandson, Kim remains its unofficial leader.
8. Kim Il-sung forbade to take photos of him
During the last years of Kim’s life, it was officially forbidden to take photos of him even at official public events. Why? Because a tumor started growing on the leader’s neck. According to some sources, Kim died while doctors were trying to remove the tumor. Officially, it was stated that Kim had died of a heart attack. No one was supposed to reveal the truth about Kim’s illness and health problems.
9. Kim Il-sung is still worshipped in Korea
In Korean culture, Kim is still called “the Sun of the nation”. In every home, there should be at least one his portrait hanging on a wall. The pictures of Kim can also be seen near subway stations, at railway stations on the walls of many shops and many other buildings. Persons who dare to spoil his portraits are criminally liable.
There are as many as 500 monuments of Kim on the territory of North Korea. The books and articles written by him are to be read by students studying at universities. Often, the quotes from his books are learned by heart. The day of his birth (15th of April) is the official holiday celebrated by all the citizens of the country.
Kim Il-sung was a strong leader that managed to establish absolute power in North Korea and forever change the life of its citizens. It was he who laid the foundation for the growth and development of North Korea. Even though some people may judge him for the decisions he made, his name will never be forgotten.
We hope that Kim Il-sung facts was helpful! If you are interested, visit the Historical People Facts Page!