North Korea, the expert of ‘exaggerating’ for the idolization of the Kim family, began to idolize Kim Jong-Un’s mother, Ko Young-Hee, this time.
On the 10th, Japan’s Mainichi Newspaper first opened the video which shows the image of Kim Jong-Un’s mother, Ko Young-Hee(1953~2004), when she was alive(Source : North Korean video, ‘Great Mother of Joseon’). The paper conveyed that this video, which was aired for an hour and a half, was full of flowery words raising Ko Young-Hee as a godlike being such as ‘the most precious companion for revolution of Kim Jong-Il the hero’, ‘a person sent from heaven for North Korea and the people of Kim Il-Sung’ and so on, leaving out her real name and birthplace.
In the video, there were images of Ko Young-Hee’s activities centered in the 1980s to the 1990s such as her drawing pictures of Kim Jong-Un’s childhood, practicing shooting a pistol, trimming the gray jumper she used to enjoy wearing at Kim Jong-Il’s on-site inspection, and so on. Through this video, North Korea beautified Ko Young-Hee as a ‘hero’s mother’, ‘woman revolutionary’ who gave birth to, raised, and assisted three people of the Kim family who are ‘Joseon’s great leaders’ that the North is proud of, by raising her as a patriotic martyr, side by side with Kang Ban-Suk(Kim Il-Sung’s mother) and Kim Jong-Suk(Kim Jong-Il’s mother).
Watching North Korea’s ‘idolization of Ko Young-Hee’ video, I thought that it was funnier than ‘Gag Concert’ which gives laughter to citizens who are tired of fighting with the heat these days.
North Korea’s current government already received criticism from its citizens for making up very funny and ridiculous lies to make ‘Kim Jong-Un’, an amateur politician not yet even 30, as a ‘heroic young general who is in charge of the destiny of the country and its people’. It is so ridiculous to see North Korea making up non-existing facts and concentrating their fire on the ‘idolization of Ko Young-Hee’ who is a Korean Japanese, when it mocked its citizens by fabricating stories that are ‘difficult to happen in reality’ such as ‘Kim killed a flying bird with one shot ever since he was three years old’, ‘he already drove a tank when he was three.’ When will the current North Korean government start a propaganda of going to the right path which is to take care of the livelihoods of the public?
The whole world knows that the idolization of the three people of the Kim family is full of all kinds of lies and exaggerations. But, who exactly are the three women who became a ‘great revolutionary’, ‘great mother’ just because of the fact that they made a family with the three Kims and gave birth to and raised their children? Moreover, what kind of people are most North Korean women who are raising their children in an ugly situation where even conditions for living day by day is not guaranteed at a society that the upper classes are calling egalitarian? Wouldn’t these North Korean women be the ‘holy, great mother and revolutionary’ indeed?
'Joseon’s great mother’ Kang Ban-Suk who is Kim Il-Sung’s mother, is from a Christian family which North Korea loathes. For diplomatic purposes, North Korea made a false organization called ‘Joseon Christian Federation’ and Chilgol Church(Kang Ban-suk’s hometown), Bongsu Church. However, in reality, this is just window dressing since North Korea considers Christianity and any kind of religious acts as political crime and opposes them. Nevertheless, North Korea turned Kang Ban-Suk who was a devout Christian into ‘Joseon’s great mother’ just because of the fact that she was Kim Il-Sung’s mother. The irony here is that North Korea did not clearly reveal that Kang Ban-Suk was a devout Christian to give her a higher rank that is suitable for being Kim Il-Sung’s mother. In Kim Il-Sung’s memoir, ‘Along With the Century’(first volume), he recalled that when he lived in several places in Manchuria including Ando with his father Kim Hyung-Jik during his childhood, his mother “used to go to a nearby church every Sunday and take a rest” since she was tired because of difficult family circumstances and burdens. In other words, he intentionally waned his mother’s thorough ‘religious belief’ by recording as if his mother went to church to rest not because she believed in God.
Meanwhile, North Korea idolized Kim Jong-Suk, Kim Il-Sung’s former wife and Kim Jong-Il’s mother, by calling her ‘anti-Japanese heroine’, ‘a mother who gave birth to and raised a great leader’, ‘an eternal guardian warrior’, and so on. The North beautified her as a female warrior who was a ‘revolutionary warrior’ that protected Kim Il-Sung risking her own life during the period of anti-Japanese war and who devoted everything she had for Kim Il-Sung’s safety and health by personally standing sentry as a ‘guard worker’ even after liberation. However, according to testimonies from Kim Jong-Suk’s acquaintances who were close to her during the anti-Japanese war period and after liberation, she did not know how to write at first. Moreover, they recalled that Kim Il-Sung always felt some insufficiency because although she was good at shooting guns and fighting since she was a rough person from Hamgyeongdo, she lacked the feminine image of being warm and soft. They also said that even after liberation, guard workers and surrounding people ran to Kim Jong-Suk crying, to stop her when she drew out a gun and tried to kill Kim Il-Sung while she was arguing with him. North Korea put forward this kind of woman as a ‘model of a female revolutionary’ by tying together all kinds of beautiful phrases such as ‘model of a loyal subject’, ‘great mother who raised General Kim.’ When Kim Jong-Il was alive, North Korea even had regular ceremonies of announcing businesses of the most important figures(executives) on Kim Jong-Suk’s birthday.
Compared to Kang Ban-Suk or Kim Jong-Suk, Ko Young-Hee is a little more different case. Ko Young-Hee is a Korean-Japanese who entered North Korea in the early 1960’s whose origin is excluded from the basic class according to the North’s ancestry of emphasizing identity. Of course, Kim Jong-Il’s view of womanhood is so unusual that not only his third wife Ko Young-Hee, but also his first, Sung Hye-Lim, was from a rich family in South Korea and was a married woman. But, since Ko Young-Hee is also in an enemy class that does not belong to North Korea’s basic class, it will not be easy for the North to introduce her as she is.
If North Korea does not wrap Ko Young-Hee well, it is obvious that the residents’ credibility about the new young leader whose abilities are already suspected will fall even more. According to North Korea’s ‘heir of leader theory’, the heir of a leader should be a special man without a single flaw. North Korea has fallen into a ‘trap’ that it dug itself.
Furthermore, through the idolization video, North Korea presented that Ko Young-Hee went through the 1990s with Kim Jong-Il which was North Korea’s hardest time as a propaganda. However, according to the testimony of ‘Hujimoto Genji’, who was Kim Jong-Il’s former chef, when a large number of residents starved to death during the 90s, Kim’s menu had world-famous top-quality foods and wine. In addition, the seat that Kim Jong-Il generally sat down to drink was also a luxurious seat for parties. Of course his wife Ko Young-Hee was with him, but to say that they went through ‘hardships’ together is a comedy indeed.
Eventually after the comedy ‘idolization of Kim Jong-Un’, a new show that changed Ko Young-Hee, mother of ‘young general Kim Jong-Un’, into a totally new person named ‘Lee Eun-Sil’ whose legal domicile and origin is unknown appeared for the purpose of idolization.
What I hope as I watch the video about the idolization of Ko Young-Hee is that, whether he is the child of a person from heaven or land, ‘great leader Kim Jong-Un’ who is ‘the great mother’s son’ would become a leader who worries at least a little about the fact that it is becoming a daily life for the normal residents of North Korea to live a difficult life of worrying about what to eat next day even at this time.
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