Talk:Kim Il-sung

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Big Blue Whale[edit]

I have seen a number of independent reports of fantastic stories about Kim IS, put forth as real events by North Korean propagandists, that a star appeared over his village when he was born, and so on. One I keep seeing is the story that he rode to the bottom of the sea on a big blue whale; this in order to defeat the Giant Crab Spirit that was stirring up typhoons against Korea. If some independent documentation of the fact that these events were officially declared to have happened, it would be a useful addition to the article, and illustrate the regime's thinking. So to speak.

The Onion produced a parody video on North Korea a few years ago. Though with joke subtitles in English, it contained much real footage of the place. Included was a shot of a poster celebrating the Blue Whale/Giant Crab adventure which looks real. The poster, I mean, not the adventure. Since it would be impossible to put up a poster like that without permission, the story would seem to have been really put about, and deserves some mention here if it can be properly sourced.(Video is called "Kim Jong Il announces plan to bring Moon to North Korea", and is on YouTube. Poster is at about 1:50-2:05) (talk) 03:02, 17 March 2016 (UTC)

There is nothing in that clip that shows that poster is in North Korea. The poster looks like a cheap parody of North Korean propaganda, nothing more. It is supposed to depict the WW2 era but shows Kim as an old man. North Korean propaganda does involve a personality cult about the family of the leaders, and it does involve shamanistic pronouncements about stars, rainbows, and the holy mountain Mt Paektu. But it does not involve the leaders having supernatural powers or supernatural adventures.--Jack Upland (talk) 06:34, 9 April 2016 (UTC)


Clarification needs to be made about presidency and tenses. He is still the president even in death and it is listed as such in the article, but many times he is referred to as "former" and the tense "was" is used frequently. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:01, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Well, his status of office is obviously more as a figurehead than as an actual leader. It's one of a rare few instances when a dead person is still holding the office as a "head of state," I imagine. —Ed!(talk) 17:08, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

U.S. war crimes[edit]

I removed this passage:

"...and a long list of U.S. war crimes have been documented including use of biological warfare such as a constituted effort to spread cholera, and the widespread massacre of civilians."

...owing to the fact that none of this 'documentation' about U.S. attempts to spread cholera is cited, nor are there any cites for the 'widespread massacre of civilians.' Just as importantly, there is no mention of North Korean or South Korean atrocities (apparently the U.S. killed everyone in the Korean War), and therefore the passage has NPOV issues. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:56, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

worshipped him[edit]

I replaced "worshipped him" by was required to revere him because the former phrase implies a groundswell of voluntary support, whereas the latter phrase describes the reality that North Koreans are required under pain of imprisonment or death to show respect and even reverence for their dictator. To do less is considered treason. --Ed Poor

you're the one expressing point of view here, Ed. You imply that NO northkoreans rever Kim.

There are plenty who do, and you can't speak for every north korean here.You say:"the reality that North Koreans are required under pain of imprisonment or death to show respect and even reverence for their dictator" sure, not to show respect can result in imprisonment, but it's not for you to say that nobody revers kim of their own free will-the memory of japan's brutality, and america's bloody war are in the memories of many koreans, just read the history books, so really, it's entirely plausable that koreans would prefer kim to the japanese or americans, and rever him in their own right. (talk) 07:40, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

I'd like to point out that, whereas in the section "Early Years" of the article it is said that many North Koreans believe that Kim-Il-Sung died in a God-like fashion (explicit reference is made to "Jesus Christ") and that he "created the world", I could not find in the article cited as reference for these claims any allusion to such things. I'm not certain North Korean people really believe Kim-Il-Sung "created the world", this sounds like a huge exaggeration.

I really appreciate the mindless neutrality on this subject, I really do. But lets just say a compromise could be made in the content which would basically point out the penalties for, say, badmouthing the Kim family or the regime. Those result in death. Some people worship Kim Il Sung and Jong, but that is somewhat of a misnomer, they don't worship him as much as they revere him as a "higher mortal" or some such thing. Alot of people were "shocked" when Kim Il Sung died, because basically it was an unspoken assumption among some more naive NK citizens that he was indeed immortal in some way shape or form. But then he croaked, and they all know it. So basically they only worship in so far as a cult member worships the cult leader. It's not a religion, its a cult. Perhaps I'm just splitting hairs here, I know some think the differentiation is "just semantics", while others are horrified of such a suggestion, but whatever, "Juche/Kim-Il-Sung/Kim-Jong-Il" is a cult, not a religion, that's my vote. (talk) 04:47, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

leader / dictator[edit]

I replaced "leader" with "dictator". I feel that this change is still NPOV (e.g. hitler, mussolini). If anyone disagrees that I'll be glad to discuss it here. Drunkasian 17:37, 5 Apr 2004 (UTC)

If Kim was a dictator, his actions can speak for themselves. Everyking 18:09, 5 Apr 2004 (UTC)

This is good but you should also do the same with Franco, Pinochet etc.. and not just with those leaders from the left. -- (Bluewin/Swisscom, Zurich) 20:32, 9 July 2006

Don't allow anyone to change this. There are other synonyms that you could use. But dictator is pretty good. "Tyrant" is too biased, but dictator is a bit more neutral. Perhaps there is something more neutral that could work--like autocrat, or monocrat, or "sole authoritarian leader"... (talk) 04:51, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

MR, RR junk[edit]

DO NOT REMOVE the MR, RR stuff. On Chinese and Korean articles, it is common to indicate the system of transliteration, even if most people don't know what the systems are! WhisperToMe 14:50, 16 May 2004 (UTC)

I've been editing Korean articles for months, and this is the first time I have seen "MR" and "RR", so don't tell me this is a "convention." I suspect it's actually just you showing off how clever you are, as usual. Adam 15:03, 16 May 2004 (UTC)

Actually, look here:

I made only a few of those links.

Adam, It's time to either find a better excuse NOT to put the "RR, MR" thing in, or, it is time to just let it happen.

WhisperToMe 15:57, 16 May 2004 (UTC)

EDIT: In addition, RR is the official romanization of South Korea, not North Korea, which uses MR. WhisperToMe 16:12, 16 May 2004 (UTC)

This is yet another example of how editors use Wikipedia as a forum for displaying their own cleverness rather than serving the interests of readers. Far too any articles are cluttered with pointless exercises in transliteration like this one, inserted by editors who have no interest in whether they mean anything to readers or not. However I have learned not to argue with pedants so I won't bother with this issue further. Adam 00:26, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

Adam, I know you might object to that table, but don't get mad at me :) - See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Korean). WhisperToMe 21:06, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Looks like I am a bit late on the discussion here, but can someone bring me up to speed on why in the WikiUniverse North Korean people, places, and things are ever Romanized with the South Korean government’s new (high politically charged) Romanization system? This appears to be anything but logical. The South Korean Ministry of Education does not speak for all Koreans (their Northern counterparts would be quick to tell you) nor does it decide how the language is to be Romanized except in South Korea. (and not everyone there bothers to listen to the Ministry’s dictates; i.e. Korea Times)
The South Korean rules don’t apply north or the DMZ, so why is Wikipedia littered with North Korean topics with a South Korean Romanization affixed? Long ago the North Korean government took a stand and adopted a Romanization system of their own, it is a modification of McCune Reischauer. It isn’t the same as McCune Reischauer; it is the north’s own modification. Thus if all Northern topics need to have the southern system of Romanization displayed, then why do southern topics not have the DPRK’s modified McCune Reischauer? Thus all topics related to anything on the peninsula would need three different Romanization; South Korea’s Ministry of Education’s new Modified system, North Korea’s not so new modified McCune Reischauer, and plain old McCune Reischauer with all its diacritical marks.
If we’re going to be absurd and unnecessarily display the south’s system for Kim Il Sung (by the way, whoever created the entry for the Romanization of Kim’s name in the Southern system got it wrong even by southern rules. According to the Ministry of Education’s system the initial기윽 in the family name 김 is never Romanized G, but always K) Then why not really be absurd and consistently display all three systems even when they are not appropriate?
If the Wiki naming conventions require the use of the southern system on this northern name… then I must question the sanity of the individuals who created the naming convention.
See the discussion here.--Jack Upland (talk) 00:13, 17 January 2016 (UTC)


I've removed the "footnote" on air brushing. it doesn't seem to be connected anywhere, and the non-sequitur about gore seems out of place (it's not even about air brushing).


I toned down the reference to "North Korean propaganda" on NPOV grounds.

I also altered a comment ascribing to "propaganda" the photographing of Kim from the left so as to avoid an unsightly growth on his right side. Almost anyone would want to be photographed from a good angle rather than a bad one; there's no need to hunt for sinister propagandistic motives. Indeed, I wonder how the author of that line knows about the unsightly growth if it was never photographed. If there is no evidence of its existence, the entire comment should be excised. Shorne 23:25, 29 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The growth is referred to if you look hard enough. If you search on google for 'Kim Il Sung' and 'growth' you'll get a small number of references, though admittedly nothing conclusive. I remember hearing it on BBC TV many years ago and it stuck in my mind, but that's not exactly a reference I can quote. Although you will struggle to find much evidence of his growth, you will similarly struggle to find a photograph of Kim (other than a young Kim) taken from the other side. I cite this as evidence. This is too much of a coincidence: many people have a 'better' side, but the occasional picci of their other side does get taken.
On whether it is propaganda or not: Avoiding photographing the growth is clearly much easier than airbrushing it later, so that's why it was done. As far as how sinister it was, I'd say it was as sinister as the Soviets airbrushing Gorbachev's birthmark - more a combination of vanity and respect than anything else. (Though there was certainly propaganda in other respects - Kim's face is everywhere.) I don't object to the rewording - there's enough to say that some said he had a growth and there's evidence of the North Koreans being careful to picture him from his better side, but not any piccis of his growth as far as I'm aware.
So, the growth is hardly important. But I do think it's an interesting bit of trivia about Kim Il-Sung, which is why I added it in the first place. Jongarrettuk 23:43, 29 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I'll take your word on the growth. I don't really object to the comment; I just think it's rather silly to make an issue of a growth. Surely there are more important biographical details that do not appear in this article? Shorne 00:35, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)
There are - it was only meant to be an interesting aside. Jongarrettuk 09:19, 2 Oct 2004 (UTC)
It is interesting. Again, I don't really object in this case; I just don't want to see this sort of thing degenerate into a gossipy tone. Too many interesting asides might cheapen the article. Shorne 09:29, 2 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Just for the record, I watched a show on PBS last night called "Welcome To North Korea". There was lots of archival footage of Kim Il Sung, and I can confirm that Kim had a large growth on the back of his neck/head which is clearly visible from the right side (his right). In one shot in particular it was clearly visible as Kim turned and walked away from the camera. And yes, most shots of Kim were taken from the left, presumably to avoid showing this disturbing-looking growth, which was somewhere between the size of a closed fist and a softball. I'm no doctor, but it was an unnerving sight and surprisingly close to the brain. Maybe this explains a few things??

There's a picture of the Great Leader with Mao from the right side at I realize that this may be a younger picture of him but given what's been said here I thought it interesting to note. This one ( is also from the right and is more recent. kev. 01:20, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

His official autobiography actually mentions that he, as a child, got such a growth due to malnutrition. It says it went away after he had some pork. The growth is probably a recurrence of the one I've just mentioned. Therefore the fact is clearly not hidden from North Koreans, but is similar to the way that reporters wouldn't take pictures of President Roosevelt being lifted in his wheelchair. --Ionius Mundus 03:32, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
The collective lack of knowledge about Kim’s wen is alarming. This is supposed to be an encyclopedia. Anyone who has moderate knowledge of the Koreas knows of the growth and the impact it had on Kim and how he governed his nation. The comparison to FDR is quite appropriate in that none of us would take anyone seriously who argued that FDR was not crippled, yet I see with my own eyes on this very page some ignorant soul denying the wen. I suggest some homework is in order.

The growth was real and inoperable (apparently a calcium deposit which is common in Korea due to historical deficiencies); it appears to have had no impact on Kim's health and mental functioning; it was unsightly and was left out of photos, statues, etc; it would have been visible to the North Korean population, as Kim travelled the country dispensing "field guidance" to his dying day; it is no more important that Kim's plumpness or any other less than desirable characteristic of his body; it was, however, a talking point in Western propaganda, I mean news, which speculated he had cancer, brain damage, goitre, etc, and claimed it was a state secret, even though it was obvious and not particularly important. That's it. Switch off the alarm.--Jack Upland (talk) 22:27, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

I really question whether this growth is important enough to be mentioned here. Given that all reliable accounts say that many North Koreans saw Kim in person, the supposed attempts to hide it in photos don't amount to much.--Jack Upland (talk) 06:31, 21 September 2013 (UTC)


"During the 1970s, Kim's personality cult grew ever more extensive and grotesque."

While I whole-heartedly agree that personality cults are disturbing, isn't declaring Kim's cult "grotesque" a POV statement? I'm not sure what word would be a better fit. Is "extensive" alone a sufficient description? --Feitclub 14:45, Jan 28, 2005 (UTC)

Intense, intrusive, extreme? Everyking 16:34, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

War Record Fabrication

What about the theory that Kim spent the war years in Moscow, and the official version of him leading guerilla bands against the Japanese is a fabrication?

That is probably the case, but I doubt it can be proved, and the Kim Il-Sung Fan Club President, (User:172), would never allow such a suggestion. Adam 07:24, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)

It should be covered though PMA 07:47, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Agreed, and I removed the reference that he "fought" against the Japanese; barring conclusive evidence that he was in Russia for the 1930s as well as the 1940s, I put that he "served" with a communist unit.
Another detail that probably deserves more scrutiny is Kim's adoption of the name of an anti-Japanese hero after his death; on the rare occasions this is ever mentioned in North Korean sources, this was to "honor" the first Kim Il-sung, but the almost total silence about this, as well as Kim's general modus operandi, suggests he probably was an imposter, claiming the glory of a real fighter for himself. ProhibitOnions 09:00, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Place of Birth[edit]

Kim il sung was NOT born in korea. The official government news sources tell everyone that their leacer was born in korea but in reality he was born in Vyatsk, near Khabarovsk, Russia. This should be reflected in the wiki entry.

You're thinking of Kim Jong-il. Adam 30 June 2005 04:35 (UTC)

No, I am not. I had read about the fabrication of Kim Il-sung's birthplace years ago. The fact that he was born in Soviet Russia is not an obscure fact.

Soviet Russia didn't exist in 1912. You are confusing Kim Il-sung with his son Kim Jong-il. Adam 1 July 2005 07:26 (UTC)

the article says "Many outside scholars believe he was born in Russia." but i couldn't find any sources for that. all i could find were the following, all of them saying he was born in korea: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] Appleby 01:23, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

As seen above, there seems to be some confusion between the Kim the Father, who was born in Korea, and Kim the Son, who was born in the USSR. Adam 02:58, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

adam,ur il sung was born in north 1912,russia wasn't soviet was soviet union around 1933-1991.PSif 1 of u r korean,speak to me in korean.user:dark-hooded smoker
1922-1991 you mean —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:29, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

"Occupation forces"[edit]

I dared to remove the word "occupation" from the description of Soviet forces who drived the Japanese out of Korea in August 1945. Of course, it is usual for English-speakers to equal "Soviet" with "occupation" and viciuos stuff like that, but I think it was an unconcious slip of the pen caused by an established worldview rather than the true intention of the author, since he/she does not mention the US forces, which entered South Korea the same year as a part of the Soviet-American agreement, as "occupational". Actually, they are not mentioned at all. Why? - X-lynx 12:03, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

Because it doesn't have anything to do with Kim Il-Sung--Planetary 01:19, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

I disagree. Post WW2 whereever US or Russian forces occupied a region they refered to it as occupation ( eg US occuptation of Japan and Germany ). The word might have bias now, but then was considered neutral. David J James 6 October 2006 (UTC)

when did it cease to be neutral? The Soviets and Americans occupied Korea. Why try to re-write history? What other word in the English language would better suit what happened? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:58, 27 March 2008 (UTC)


I have a comment to make. I noticed that in wikipedia, it is easy to call dictators for regimes of the right like with South Korea during the 70s and 80s. My question is why can't that be the case for regimes of the left. Samething goes with other right wing strongmen like Pinochet, Franco etc... whereas Castro, Mao etc.. are never referred to as dictators. Is Wikipedia biased? (Bluewin/Swisscom Zurich) 07:30, 17 July 2006

You bet! It reflects the point of view that is formally called neutral, which is what heavy contributors (who tend to become administrators) generally agree upon. Glorious source of illumination Jimbo Wales says what goes in this Democratic Peoples Republic of Knowlege - although criticism of Him is Treason, it's generally so weak and ineffective He tolerates it. -- 16:40, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

yeah, Wikipedia sucks. Szoer

Remember, only right-wing regimes commit human rights abuses! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:11, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

-- Oh, sure! I advise you to shut up.

And concerning the subject: I don't feel a "dictator" is an insulting word. However, most English-speakers would consider it is insulting, so I consider that if right-wing strongmen are called "dictators" in Wikipedia, left-wing ones should be as well. СЛУЖБА (talk) 16:14, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Anyone with more power than Mussolini counts as a dictator, to me. He embraced the title, too; wrote a chatty little article about it for a US magazine in 1928 entitled "Why America Needs a Dictator". So call these people dictators, by all means, right or left. Incidentally, Mussolini thought of himself as a man of the Left, always. (talk) 03:24, 17 March 2016 (UTC)


I don't see why we should have so many links to an online bookstore ( I removed them. bogdan 12:53, 9 October 2006 (UTC)


What's up with the beginning of the article?

D-hyo 00:38, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

It's being constantly vandalized. Mnc4t 19:48, 20 December 2006 (UTC)


Hyphenation of Korean names when Romanized is a South Korean practice. Kim Il Sung is not South Korean. Why is his name hyphenated? If the Wiki Naming Convention dictates this then the naming convention needs to be altered to show a more realistic representation of how North Koreans do it in North Korea. I am looking at an edition of his official biography from the Foreign Languages Publishing House in Pyongyang as I write – and they don’t use southern hyphens…. So why are they being foisted in to his name here?

Wikipedia has adopted South Korean linguistic practices in general, which is problematic for North Korea topics. If this is taken to its logical extent, Juche will become Ch'uche, and Kim Gim, given the latest Romanisation conventions in the South! In addition, Wikipedia gives hanja (Korean written in Chinese characters), even though hanja is not used in the North, and uses vocabulary (such as Han for Korea) which is not used in the North. This is perverse, but also misleading. Anyone reading these articles would think this is the language that the North Koreans use. In fact, in some cases, it's language that isn't even used in the South (because they tend not to spout North Korean rhetoric); it's just a construct by Wikipedians with a lot of knowledge of Korean language but not a lot of sense.--Jack Upland (talk) 22:36, 13 July 2013 (UTC)


I see that you have made a concerted effort to maintain a NPOV. However, in so doing you've created a pretty biased, pro- Kim Il Song piece of literature. Reading your article, one would think that the official North Korean view point that Kim Il Song was a "flawless leader for the ages" is correct. Detailing some negative elements of the man's career does not by definition constitute a non-NPOV. (talk) 17:53, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

To a degree, I concur. Do you have some useful, authoritative sources and/or quotations you would like to see included for balance? Alice 19:36, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Inconsistency in the year of Kim's second marriage[edit]

This article [8] states year 1962 while the article about Kim's second wife [9] states year 1952. Both can not be right! I have no clue about this part of history, but I guess 1952 is more likely to be correct. By 1962 they already had 3 children and Kim Song-ae had already achieved a formidable political career - which was probably only possible with some help from her husband. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Urlek (talkcontribs) 15:04, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Korean War[edit]

The section on the Korean war is POV and biased, not to mention the whole section appears to be a justification of the communist side of the war rather than a discussion of what Kim Il-sung had to do with the Korean war.

The second paragraph says "After several altercations at the border (allegedly instigated in part by the U.S. command), it appeared that civil war might be inevitable." With no citation. The parenthesized part is what I have issue with. With no citation we might as well change it to say (allegedly instigated in part by the North Koreans) or (...Kim Il-Sung himself) or (...Martians) There is no documentation of who made the allegation, let alone some kind of substantiation of those allegations. If someone can't cite this statement, it needs to be excised.

The second paragraph also refers to the North Korean action as "crossing the border" and when the chinese get involved, they "crossed the Yalu River". Contrast this with the UN counter attacks at Inchon and Pusan. When the UN launched an offensive its referred to as "the US led invasion." Twice I have edited "crossed the border" to "invaded" and twice I have been reverted. I'd like to know why "crossed the border" is acceptable and "invaded" is POV when referring to Communist actions, but when the UN undertakes a military action "crossing the border" is POV and "invading" is accurate. This is the only place I have ever seen the American thrust up to the Yalu referred to as an invasion of North Korea, and while it is a stretch to call counter-attack in the face of an enemy attack an "invasion" it is close enough to accurate to let it go, AS LONG AS you also call the initial attacks invasions as well. So lets pick one or the other. If the US was invading North Korea, then its only fair to say that the North Koreans and subsquently the Chinese invaded as well.

The 4th paragraph states that "Upwards of 3.5 million Koreans were killed in the U.S. invasion" again, this has nothing to do with Kim Il-sung. Now, does this statement of Korean casualties apply ONLY to those Koreans who were killed as a result of US military action above the 38th parallel? Or does it apply to all Koreans who died in the whole conflict. Because if it applies only to the North Koreans who died above the 38th parallel then to make it unbiased we would need to add a sentence about all those civilians who died south of the 38th parallel as a result of North Korean and Chinese military action. And if it applies to all Koreans who died in the war, then it needs to say something like "upwards of 3.5 million Koreans were killed in the conflict"

as written this whole section seems like a history of the Korean war from North Korea's POV. Someone needs to justify all of this, and in the absence of convincing justification, re write this section. This is an article about Kim, this section needs to reflect what Kim did in regards to the Korean war.-- (talk) 02:48, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

I believe that I may have been the editor that reverted your change. If so I owe you an apology for not taking your concerns seriously (we get a lot of IP vandalism on this article, but that is no real justification). My only excuse is that had you made the changes you outlined above I probably would have detected your logic but, as you only changed one or two incidents of "crossed the border" and this portion of the article had been stable for a while, I assumed the worst. Sorry again! Alice 09:49, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

two more things that i noticed about this section on a further reading. In the first paragraph the section says "the people of northern Korea chose Kim Il Sung as the prime minister of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)" this would lead a casual reader to believe there was some kind of election, or democratic process. Unless there can be a citation provided this needs to be changed.

In the 4th paragraph South Korea is referred to as "US occupied" nowhere in the entire article is North Korea referred to as "Soviet occupied" so either references to the north need to be changed to say "Soviet Occupied" or South Korea needs not be referred to as "US occupied"

I'm sure that someone else would be a better choice to edit this article, but the discrepancies and POVs are so glaring that it needs to be edited. -- (talk) 04:42, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Your analysis seems reasonable to me; some sources would be even better, of course.
Why don't you draft the changes you propose and place the draft text here on the talk page in case there are any lurkers that object?
I'll support any unbiased, balanced and referenced changes. Alice 09:49, 22 January 2008 (UTC)


According to HK media channel "Phoenix TV", Kim Il-Sung was also a playwright, and was the author of a play, known in Chinese as "lian hua gu niang" (I don't know the Korean name). Any ideas? Benlisquare (talk) 07:59, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

I've found the actual name, its called (꽃파는 처녀/卖花姑娘), or “The Flower Girl”. Apparently, the North Korean government claims that Kim Il-Sung wrote the play/opera theatre production. It revolves around a girl who sells flowers, and her family is taken away by warlords. Or something. I don't quite get it either. Chinese internet forums claim that the play is merely DPRK propaganda. Korean wikipedia and Chinese wikipedia both have an article on it. -- 李博杰  | Talk contribs 00:57, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Sources can be found at The Flower Girl. Adding to article if there are no objections. -- 李博杰  | Talk contribs email 11:21, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

OR in intro?[edit]

This sentence in the intro seems more like someone's interpretation than fact. It might very well be correct but still it seems like original research to me. "As leader of North Korea, he ended up switching from a Marxist-Leninist ideology to his self-developed Juche idea and established a personality cult." Steve Dufour (talk) 07:01, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Why does this need a citation?[edit]

"Kim Il-sung's image is prominent in places associated with public transportation, hanging at every North Korean train station and airport[citation needed]."

Does anyone honestly believe it's possible that there are airports or train stations in North Korea *without* his image hanging somewhere visible? You're required by law to have his picture hanging in your own home for goodness sakes. Taborgate (talk) 21:36, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

In office[edit]

It says:

In office: 28 December 1972 – present (de jure)

Is this really true? Wasn't the post as president vacant 1994-1996 (i.e. after his death and before the law about the eternal president was written)? Isn't he currently "ruling" on his second turn? ( (talk) 21:04, 19 December 2008 (UTC))

-- I guess the law is "retroactive", so it made him President in a single term 1972-forever. By the way, there is a same thing in the Czech Republic, with King Waclaw II being "Eternal King of the Czech Republic". СЛУЖБА (talk) 16:17, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Off-topic about son's basketball ability[edit]

A group of single purpose accounts have been actively attempting to add the text "His oldest son, Kim Jong-il, is a very big fan of basketball and is known for his 360 degree dunks in pickup games with Michael Jordan." several times. There are multiple problems with this addition; first and formost, it's not relevant to this article - Kim Jong-il has his own article. Second, the addition is unsourced except for a poorly constructed ref tag that points to the Kim Jong-il article. However; Wikipedia cannot be a ref for itself, and nothing in that article supports the statement.

Several established editors have been removing this unsourced text; however, I wanted to start a discussion on it here. --- Barek (talkcontribs) - 05:42, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

What's to discuss? That's how Wikipedia works -- unsubstantiated nonsense tossed around and presented as fact. Wekepidia -- the "encyclopedia" a vandal can edit.

If Kim is so bad, why does Wikipedia have to lie about him?[edit]

For example, prior to my last revisions, the article read:

"During his tenure as leader of North Korea, he switched from a Marxist-Leninist ideology to his self-developed Juche idea and established a cult of personality so pervasive and entrenched that North Koreans frequently ascribe 'supernatural' qualities to the late leader, including one notion that he 'created the world'."

The reference for this is supposedly Steven Herman's article for Asian Research (footnote 1), but upon reading the article I found no such thing.

I do not wish to propagandize or whitewash the facts about North Korea: I can only ask that others behave likewise. Hence I am posting this as both encouragement and warning: please help Wikipedia by checking sources as much as possible. Much as I disagree with the rule of Kim Il Sung, it is only all too clear that in order to paint Kim Il-Sung in the worst way imaginable, some faux encyclopedians have suspended belief in Wikipedia's principles, preferring to promote their vested interest in lying about subjects such as North Korea and its leaders. It saddens me that some will project their biased editorializing in Wikipedia, even to the point of inventing non-existing facts. There may very well be other instances of such falsification or editorializing stemming from similar motives. (talk) 12:05, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

In all the North-Korean literature I had the opportunity to read in Nicaragua in the 1980s (including several books translated into Spanish and the magazine "Corea"), there was never any hint of Kim Il Sung being "some sort of "almighty God", or having ""created the world", "controlled ancient history"", or having "no beginning".
On the contrary, there was information (no doubt mythicized) on the time and situation of his birth, very little on his family and a lot more on the milestones of his struggle.
The assertion that "most North Koreans" have such beliefs in a communist regime contradicts simple logic.
The comments made by the above writer regarding the vested interest of some sadly apply to the Wikipedia project in other languages, such as the Spanish version, where even an electronic newspaper [10] [11] [12] [13] has been censored and banned as reference. (talk) 16:54, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

I don't really know how to handle these sorts of complicated edits, but the statement about North Koreans being taught that Kim Il Sung "created the world" likely comes from here: I'll leave it to the wikipediates as to whether this constitutes a valid source or not. (talk) 04:30, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

I take it back. That pdf was cited in the "Cult of Personality" article as being the source for the quote, as well as on several internet forums. But the exact phrase does not appear in the pdf. I suggest removing the reference. Reality about North Korea's cult of personality is chilling enough without needing to resort to fabrications. (talk) 04:49, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Evaporated Photo[edit]

On 10-11 August 2009 I was reading this article and learning about the subject. When I first loaded the page, it contained the image (midway in the article, under "Later Years") Kim_Il_Sung_Colour.jpg. It was a typical airbrushy sort of headshot image with a 3/4 view from Mr. Kim's right. When I tried to view the image more closely, it wasn't available. I refreshed the article and now there's just the image box containing "File:Kim Il Sung Colour.jpg" and the caption "Kim Il-sung."

What happened to the image? I've done some editing on WP but I don't know where else to look or to ask besides this talk page. If we know that image is gone for good, we should delete the entire image box. I'm loathe to do that, though, in case the image was accidentally renamed or deleted. Maybe somebody else here can "find" it?

And for the more general case, how would I track down what happened/how to react for myself? JohnFromPinckney (talk) 17:05, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

name: Kim Il-sung or Kim Ir-sen ?[edit]

For example in Czech, Polish, Russian, Belarusian and Bulgarian is his name: Kim Ir-sen, not Kim Il-sung. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:34, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

His name literally translated is Kim Il-Seong, but maybe Kim Ir-Sen is some eastern european way of trying to spell his name. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:54, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

what happened to the old picture on this article, the new is black and white and far to grainy and old one was just perfect as it was, besides, out of the many thousands of pictures of Kim Il Sung, why pick this one? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:18, 6 December 2009 (UTC)


The picture says its a portrait of him but it looks like a photo to me... (talk) 16:31, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

  • A photo? Have you seen how many teeth he has in that lead picture? No-one has that many teeth! OldSquiffyBat (talk) 22:06, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Kim Yong-il[edit]

Under the list of his children it has listed Kim Yong-il with a link to the page of the current premier Kim Yong-il who is not related at all. I'm not sure how to change the link to direct to a page about his son or to show that there is no page about him. (talk) 20:17, 9 June 2010 (UTC)


His parents may have been religious, but that does not mean he was. With that in mind, we need a WP:RS that tells us he was religious IOT but in that info.--S. Rich (talk) 00:11, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

See "RfC" below.--Jack Upland (talk) 23:54, 25 December 2015 (UTC)

File:North Korean won.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Spelling of name[edit]

Surely it would be advisable to explain that this spelling represents KIM IL-SUNG (maybe in upper case letters) so as to distinguish the spelling from Kim Il-sung in lower case letters, the first part of the surname appearing when printed in the typeface used on Wikipedia as two 'll's. (talk) 23:42, 21 February 2012 (UTC)


Was Kim Il Sung a Maoist or connected to Maoism in any way? I'm wondering because there is a "Maoism" template next to the section "Leader of North Korea." The article also places him in the category "Maoist theorists." I don't know much about the politcs of the DPRK, Juche, Songun, and I don't pretend to. Still, I've never heard him being described as a Maoist. The category "Anti-Revisionists" makes some sense but I have to question his connection to Maoism. I'll edit this within two days unless an objection is made. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:47, 21 March 2012 (UTC)


김일성!김일성의생애와발자취! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:59, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

Name convention: Kim Il-sung or Kim Il Sung?[edit]

I'm writing this on the talk pages of Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un as there's an issue with the way we're writing his name and it bothers me! North Korean convention would write 김일성 [his name] as "Kim Il Sung" not "Kim Il-sung". A quick check of North Korea's official state media outlet, the KCNA, shows all instances of his name as Kim Il Sung. Writing "Kim Il-sung" fits neither the McCune-Reischauer (Kim Il-sŏng) nor Revised Romanization system (Gim Il-seong). Separating the "Il" from the "Sung" with a hyphen and not capitalizing the "Sung" is South Korean convention.

The same can be said for Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un. Is the convention with names not to follow with how the person makes themselves known within their own culture? Especially on such a sensitive article? Indigoloki (talk) 22:51, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

See the discussion here.--Jack Upland (talk) 00:15, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

Kim and the RMS Titanic[edit]

Have you found that on the day Kim Il-sung was born, the RMS Titanic sank on the Atlantic??? The death of 1,514 on the liner is nothing compared to the death in the massacres in the North Korea. --Jason zhang yc (talk) 11:38, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

Wiki is neither a Forum nor a Soapbox. Do you have a Reliable Source to quote for the improvement of the article?

Dispute over Early Life[edit]

I have removed this:

According to Leonid Vassin, an officer with the Soviet MVD, Kim was essentially "created from zero." For one, his Korean was marginal at best; he'd only had eight years of formal education, all of it in Chinese. He needed considerable coaching to read a speech the MVD prepared for him at a Communist Party congress three days after he arrived. They also systematically destroyed most of the true leaders of the resistance who ended up north of the 38th parallel.

This is just a ridiculous claim and it contradicts earlier passages in the article.--Jack Upland (talk) 00:58, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

No, that's well-sourced material; Wikipedia doesn't allow removal based on original research or WP:IDONTLIKEIT.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 01:11, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

It's unencyclopedic because it makes the article incoherent, it contradicts most of the preceding text, and including it here gives undue weight to far-fetched claims that are not supported by established Western historians. To attempt to address this general issue, I added the following which you have removed:

Historian Bruce Cumings has commented:
There are ridiculous myths about this guerrilla resistance in both Koreas today: the North claims that Kim single-handedly defeated the Japanese, and the South claims that Kim is an imposter who stole the name of a revered patriot.[1]

This is more than just the issue of the name: it is about the entirety of Kim's early life. There has to be an agreed-on way to tackle the disparity of views. Otherwise the article will end up an illogical hodge-podge of widely different claims, all very "well-sourced" no doubt, but contradictory and mostly factually wrong.--Jack Upland (talk) 04:48, 7 September 2012 (UTC)


  1. ^ Bruce Cumings, Korea's Place in the Sun: A Modern History, w W Norton & Company, New York, p 160.
The article already has the following text:
"Bruce Cummings concludes that Kim did not steal the name of an earlier patriot named Kim Il Sung, and neither did he singlehandedly defeat the Japanese as claimed in the North’s propaganda."
Simple question: Why do we need to cite Cummings twice for the same claim? And why does only he deserve a blockquote? Does he speak for all scholars? Isn't this summary fine?
Cummings is widely regarded as a "revisionist" historian, whose views are (at times) clearly at odds with the mainstream consensus. To cite him multiple times, use his work for the only blockquote, and eliminate reliable sources that disagree with him on that basis alone is actually a prime example of undue weight! There are some disagreements among historians about aspects of Kim Il-Sung's life, and Wikipedia can only describe them, not take sides.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 05:43, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

We don't need to cite Cumings twice. I suggest we go with the quote I used - whether or not it is a blockquote doesn't matter. I agree Cumings isn't "mainstream", but he is probably the leading American historian of Korea, and I think this quote does reflect the consensus. It also encapsulates the controversy on Kim's early life, which the original paraphrase doesn't. It really is a case of "ridiculous myths" from both extremes. If you include claims that Kim knew little Korean, then it is equal valid to include DPRK hagiography - there are plenty of sources for that.

If you object to using Cumings, how about a introductory comment that says that there is a wide range of claims about Kim's early life, ranging from the accusation that he was an imposter to the celebration of him as a revolutionary superhero?--Jack Upland (talk) 07:09, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

As a general rule, editors have tried to paraphrase sources rather than include entire quotes. And it's not "equally valid" to include hagiography from the DPRK, unless (of course) it is published by a reliable independent author (in which case, yes, it could be included). As for your "introductory comment" proposal, I'm not passionately opposed; I'm also not certain that it's neccessary.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 07:29, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

I think it's important to contextualise the various conflicting statements; otherwise an uninitiated reader would be baffled. The article states much information about his guerrilla career as fact, and then suggests he could have been created by the USSR from zero, not even be able to speak much Korean. It's a mess.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:14, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

No doubt the article is imperfect, but with a few tweaks the text now reads:
"Several sources indicate that the Kim Il-sung name had previously been used by a prominent early leader of the Korean resistance.[8] Grigory Mekler, who claims to have prepared Kim to lead North Korea, says that Kim assumed this name while in the Soviet Union in the early 1940s from a former commander who had died.[14] According to Leonid Vassin, an officer with the Soviet MVD, Kim was essentially "created from zero." For one, his Korean was marginal at best; he'd only had eight years of formal education, all of it in Chinese. He needed considerable coaching to read a speech the MVD prepared for him at a Communist Party congress three days after he arrived.[8] Additionally, a number of Koreans simply did not believe that Kim, in his 30s at the time of the DPRK's founding, could have done everything that state propaganda claimed.[15] However, historian Andrei Lankov has stated that the claim that the name Kim Il-sung was switched with the name of the “original” Kim is unlikely to be true. Several witnesses knew Kim before and after his time in the Soviet Union, including his superior, Zhou Baozhong, who dismissed the claim of a “second” Kim in his diaries.[16] Leftist historian Bruce Cummings asserts that Kim did not steal the name of an earlier patriot named Kim Il Sung, but neither did he singlehandedly defeat the Japanese as claimed in the North’s propaganda.[17]"
I think that text, actually, is pretty clear about the disagreements. Nevertheless, if you have further additions in mind, feel free to propose them.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 08:45, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

You seem to object to even minor changes to the text (such as quoting Cumings on "ridiculous myths"), as if you have a proprietry interest. But more importantly you seem to have overlooked the text that precedes the above. If Vassin is correct (created from zero, struggled with Korean language), most of the information about Kim's life pre-1945 must be false.--Jack Upland (talk) 07:19, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

I'm actually very new to this article. I object to unexplained removals and alterations, which you have a tendency to attribute to nonexistent "discussions", or justify with original research. Why would it be better to remove details of the specific myths (that Kim was a nobody, and that Kim was the man who single-handedly defeated the Japanese) and replace them with the "ridiculous myths" quote? Does that really help improve the reader's understanding? Doesn't that quote need context to mean anything?TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 07:41, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

When I originally said "see discussion", I meant see talk page, where I explained removing the Vassin material (above). I don't see where I'm using original research. The paraphrase of Cumings tones down what he says. I think the readers deserve to know that one of American leading historians of Korea thinks the imposter claim is a ridiculous myth. Sure, brand him a leftist if that's what you need to do. I don't really see why I need to clear all alterations with someone who is "very new" to the article. And who incidentally completely ignores the multiple contradictions in the article. As far as I can see there are 3 very different narratives of Kim's early life: Soviet zero, superhero, or the middle view expressed by Cumings and others. I don't think they should be interwined as they are, because they are incompatible.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:07, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Don't get personal. First, you implied that I have some sort of hidden agenda in "guarding" this page; then, you suggested that I haven't been editing it long enough to challenge your bold deletions of content. Come on! We've both made a comparable number of edits to Wikipedia, and we've both made a comparable number of edits to this page. Outside of two small edits a year ago, this is your first time editing Kim's biography. We cannot just remove content because you don't like it. And this edit summary was misleading. I assumed all along that you were concerned about Cuming's claim being "softened", but that doesn't mean we had agreed to your revision--or that it was ideal. Now, if you want to reorganize the text in some way, go ahead. I cannot read your mind and know exactly what you have in mind, but be bold!TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 09:34, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
I did not "brand" Cumings a leftist (at least, not anywhere in the article); I wasn't active on this page when that text was inserted. But Cumings openly "brands" himself a leftist, does he not?TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 09:40, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

It's a bit rich to tell me to "be bold" when you obliterate even minor edits that I make. It's not a hidden agenda. It's quite open that you are guarding the text, even if you didn't write it, or haven't read it. When you deleted the Cumings quote I inserted you described him as a "communist", which is certainly untrue. I think that the description of him as a "leftist" should be deleted - if people want to know about him they can look up his page - but I think you would just reinstate it. When I say "see discussion", I mean I have explained my reasons, I don't mean that I have achieved agreement with everyone. I don't see how it is acceptable to cite someone but "soften" what they say. That's called distortion.--Jack Upland (talk) 11:28, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

You were bold--you deleted hundreds of characters. This is part of the natural bold, revert, discuss cycle. Try again.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 20:03, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Changes made. Still needs more work. While we're on the topic, what's the point of this sentence?

Additionally, a number of Koreans simply did not believe that Kim, in his 30s at the time of the DPRK's founding, could have done everything that state propaganda claimed.

So what? A number of Koreans didn't believe it. And a lot of people do achieve a lot by their 30s. It's a very weak statement.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:23, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Compare, for example, with Chin Peng.--Jack Upland (talk) 23:13, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
As it reads now, this article is purveying a conspiracy theory: that the man who ran North Korea was an imposter.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:09, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

Returning to this dispute, I've collected a few quotations from sources to establish there is a scholarly consensus that Kim really was a guerrilla leader (though not the superhero of propaganda).

  • Adrian Buzo, The Making of Modern Korea, p 56: "Accordingly, on 14 October the Soviets introduced 33-year-old Kim Il Sung to the North Korean public as a guerilla hero and major political figure. There was substance to this claim, but it involved considerable overstatement, for although Kim had fought with courage and perseverance during the 1930s, he had fought in a remote, small-scale, Chinese Communist-led campaign and was virtually unknown not only to the general public, but also within the Korean Communist movement itself."
  • Bruce Cumings, Korea's Place in the Sun, p 160: "He was a significant guerrilla leader by the mid-1930s; the Japanese considered Kim one of the most effective and dangerous of guerrillas."
  • Hyung Gu Lynn, Bipolar Orders, p 99: "Kim Il-Sung was not the sole or the prominent leader, but he did gain considerable fame as a guerrilla leader fighting against the Japanese in the northern borderlands of colonial Korea".
  • Christoph Bluth, Korea, p 12: "He was not exactly a national hero, but one Korean guerrilla fighter among many."
  • Michael E Robinson, Korea's Twentieth Century Odyssey, p 87: "The fact remains that Kim was one of the last resistance fighters standing in Manchuria in the 1930s; while his accomplishments were considerably more modest than is claimed in North Korean lore, he was, according to Japanese sources, a formidable enemy who had gained the support of the Korean peasantry in Manchuria."
  • Don Oberdorfer and Robert Carlin, The Two Koreas, pp 13-14: "Although Kim's activities fell short of the brilliant, war-winning exploits later concocted by North Korean propagandists, he was successful enough that the Japanese put a price on his head."
  • Stewart Lone and Gavan McCormack, Korea since 1850, p 99: "The full details of his emergence to power may only be clarified when archival material from North Korea becomes available, but this much is clear: Kim was a prominent guerrilla leader from the anti-Japanese struggle of the 1930s whose exploits made him seem a legendary figure and who, the American CIA reported, 'was conceded by all circles to have vast popular prestige'."

I think we can say that the idea that Kim was fake is fringe. I think it remains notable, as it is promoted by South Korea, and occasionally echoed by journalists. Perhaps the answer is to have a separate "controversy about early life" at the start.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:24, 7 December 2015 (UTC)

The current text says: "The Soviets also systematically destroyed most of the true leaders of the resistance who ended up north of the 38th parallel." This cites Becker who quotes a "boastful" NKVD officer: "Then we had to destroy real heroes of the national liberation movement" (p 50). But who were these leaders? Becker mentions Syngman Rhee and Kim Ku, but neither of those operated in the north. That leaves Cho Man-sik. But, as the article says, Cho was actually the Soviet Union's first choice as leader. According to his article, he was placed under "house arrest" in 1946, but still participated in elections in 1948. It doesn't seem very systematic. This, then, is a distorted quotation of an unsubstantiated boast. I'm removing it.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:02, 7 December 2015 (UTC)
I have created a "Controversy about origins" section.--Jack Upland (talk) 10:49, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

Romanising North Korean names[edit]

I've brought this up before, but no-one seems to have rectified it: can we PLEASE change the names of all North Koreans listed on Wikipedia to reflect the correct romanisation of North Korean names?

1) No, I do not mean 'make the names of the Dear Leaders slightly larger or in bold' - don't be ridiculous.
2) The argument last time was that South Korean convention should be used like this: Kim Jong-il.
3) Even under the South Korean Revised Romanisation system, names are exceptions (all the Kims in Korea aren't going to be happy about being called 'Gim' from 'Gorea' are they?). You can effectively romanise your name as you please. Syngman Rhee, for example, follows his own convention.
4) No excuses about 'we don't know how they want their names to be spelled in North Korea'. We know perfectly well. It doesn't take long to read North Korean texts to understand that names spelled out in three parts as follows: Kim Jong Il, and NOT Kim Jong-il.
5) The body of the text, and indeed the title of the article, should therefore reflect this.
6) Again, to emphasise, this is not a politically motivated statement. If anything, using South Korean convention to cite North Korean names is far more politically sensitive.
7) The Economist Style Guide says: "South Koreans have changed their convention from Kim Dae Jung to Kim Dae-jung. But North Koreans, at least pending unification, have stuck to Kim Jong Il. Kim is the family name." We're not using mainlang pinyin to romanise the names of Taiwanese people are we? Why should Korea be any different?
8) NK News, which describes itself as the 'nets premier site on North Korean news' uses North Korean convention for North Korean names, and South Korean convention for South Korean names.
9) Why can't Wikipedia follow suit?

Indigoloki (talk) 15:26, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

This is a good point. The policy here makes no sense. In tandem, Wikipedia editors continue to translate North Korean terms into Chinese characters, even though this practice was discontinued in the North 50 years ago.--Jack Upland (talk) 05:06, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
See the discussion here.--Jack Upland (talk) 00:11, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

More information requested![edit]

Please post more information about how he eliminated the resistance to his rule and consolidated his dictatorship. I am yearning to learn more but there is so little available. I wouldn't like to think that the (North) Korean people and party surrendered so quietly. (talk) 00:11, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

It would be certainly nice to have this information in the article. For now, I can suggest the article on songbun, which is in the general direction of what you're looking for, and its sources should point to more answers. The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters by B.R. Myers might be an interesting read. Look into what happened to the various factions of the Workers' Party of Korea (Yanan (China), Manchurian (Kim Il-sung), South Korean, Russian, and native/North Korean; IIRC), and what happened to them. The rise of Kim Jong-il is yet another related matter; an explanation (by Myers I think), is that by making his father into a living god, Kim Jong-il, as son of god, he was the best possible leader for North Korea after Kim Il-sung died. Hope this helps for now, Maxim(talk) 01:09, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

I think you're assuming a lot. Kim's personality cult as it developed was similar to that of Stalin and Mao. Communism at that time was ideologically hegemonic, and Stalin's methods were accepted by the majority of Communists. Kim was seen as a national hero for his resistance to the Japanese, and the Communists opposition to landlordism was also popular. Other guerrilla leaders such as Kim Chaek accepted his leadership. In the conditions of war (in which the Korean War followed WW2) meant that anyone strenuously opposed to the Communists would likely have fled south. By the end of the 1950s the majority of the population had suffered a horrifying ordeal (consider that almost every building in North Korea was destroyed in the Korean War) and very little reason to love the western powers. And by the way, Syngman Rhee was a dictator, and he seems to have been much more unpopular than Kim.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:00, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

I thought that Stalin had 2 million communists killed and sent assassins as far as Mexico. Not to mention that there was a broad front of various parties early in North and South Koreas history. It is more known how this was destroyed in the South but not in the North. Although it can be assumed it was through cohesion and strongly suggested integration into the "patriotic front" of NK that we see today. Anyway thanks for the couple of pointers. About Syngman, yes he was hated and his crushing of the democratic process facilitated the communist take-over in the north. But it is still not clear how this was done in practice and later how the divided and earlier pragmatic communist forces were so completely subverted to the Juche ideology. (talk) 18:32, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

It's true that Stalin murdered his comrades, but Mao largely didn't. For example, Zhou Enlai stayed in the leadership group throughout. Stalinism (the personality cult etc) became accepted practice. According to Bruce Cumings (1997, p 195) the Manchurian guerrilla leaders "agreed among themselves to promote Kim Il Sung as the maximum figure" just before returning to Korea and supported him "with an unstinting loyalty for the rest of their lives". The experience of the Korean War would have only reinforced the discipline and loyalty of the Communists. I don't think Juche is as significant as people make out. Kim Il Sung didn't spend much time on expounding the theory, and it was promoted more heavily as time went on with the gradual unravelling of the rest of the Communist bloc. The DPRK was not always viewed as such an aberration. For example Che Guevara saw it as a model for Cuba (Cumings, 1997, p 394).--Jack Upland (talk) 22:19, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

PS Apparently there was a factional struggle after the Korean War. Kim came out on top of the pro-Chinese Yanan faction and the pro-Soviet faction which favoured de-Stalinisation. Pak Hon-yong, leader of the Korean Communist Party, was executed as a spy c. 1956. Choe Chang-ik appears to have been purged as well. See also: Kim Won-bong, Kim Tu-bong... This article gives detailed information that could be summarised for the article:[14].--Jack Upland (talk) 18:12, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

Grammar issue[edit]

The first sentence of the last paragraph under the heading Korean War that beings: "Chinese and Russian documents from that time reveal that while Kim became increasingly desperate to establish a truce, since the..." is non-sensical.

I assume the paragraph would be better served with the removal of 'while': "Chinese and Russian documents from that time reveal that [while] Kim became increasingly desperate to establish a truce, since the..." (talk) 19:50, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

Number of Statues[edit]

The article says that "There are over 500 statues of Kim Il-sung in North Korea." I propose it be revised to "As of 1980, there are over 500 statues of Kim Il-sung in North Korea." I checked the citation and it says "The recorded number of life-size bronze statues of Kim was about 500 in 1980, and that figure was probably much greater by the time of his death in 1994." 20:01, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

Good or Bad?[edit]

Well I know that Kim Jong Il wasn't the best and Kim Jong Un is the worst but was this guy better? Cause for some reason I get a better vibe from him than both Il and Un! (talk) 22:48, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

Wiki is not a forum. You need to find an alternate vehicle to discuss that. HammerFilmFan (talk) 01:50, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

14 prime ministers of the UK[edit]

Where is that number coming from? 1948 to 1994 gives you only ten prime ministers (Attlee, Churchill, Eden, Macmillan, Home, Wilson, Heath, Callaghan, Thatcher, Major). Even if you count Wilson twice, that's still only eleven. john k (talk) 22:14, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

Pronunciation of Kim Il-sung's name[edit]

I changed pronunciation from tɕ͈ɔŋ to͈ɔŋ. See talk page for details. As far as I know, <ᄀ> is pronounced as /k/ not as /tɕ/. The spelling of /tɕim/ would be <짐> not <김> Interlingua 10:56, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

Return to Korea[edit]

I changed the date of Kim's return to Korea from August 22 to September 19. August 22 was only cited by which in turn only mentions that date in a redirect to this very Wiki page (thus the fact was citing itself). Sept 19 is cited by Bradley Martin's book, which further details that he arrived by Soviet naval ship to the port of Wonsan. I removed "after 8 years in exile" as that is uncited. Perhaps that could instead say "after many years of exile" if others feel it is important to include. Henry chianski (talk) 18:07, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

I also changed the following: "In September, 1945, the Soviets installed Kim as head of the Provisional People’s Committee." since, again, the citation was only citing this very page. I replaced this with details from both Martin's book and an article in the South China Morning Post, which report that he was not installed into an official position of power until December 1945 and was further elevated in February 1946. I removed the sentence "He was not, at this time, the head of the Communist Party, which was headquartered at Seoul, in the US-occupied south" as this is vague, and he was in fact head of the North Korean branch of the Communist Party from December 1945. Henry chianski (talk) 18:07, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

In fact the reality was somewhat messy. The Korean Communist Party was fragmentary and and factionalised. To a degree, it was a branch of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Kim Il Sung, however, had broken from the CCP, and was aligned with the USSR where he resided at the end of WW2. He was a guerrilla leader, rather than a political leader, though. The CP, such as it was, was headquartered in Seoul, the Korean capital. The division was imposed by US fiat in 1945, but was supposed to be temporary. The DPRK wasn't established until 1948. Its government, headed by Kim, claimed to rule all of Korea. The Workers Party of Korea was created to amalgamate a range of shortlived CPs in 1949.--Jack Upland (talk) 19:04, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

Children's author?[edit]

Apparently he wrote - or was credited as writing - children's books.

  • Gee, Alison (2014-02-18). "North Korea's storytelling autocrats". BBC World Service. Retrieved 2014-02-19. Kim Jong-il and his father, Kim Il-sung, recognised the power of books and they are both credited with writing children's stories. 

Should we add this or is it too WP:TRIVIAL? davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 15:12, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

I think it's too trivial in itself, but it could be noted in the context of his interest in children, shown by his slogan "The Child is King of the Country" and the establishment of the Children's Palace in Pyongyang.--Jack Upland (talk) 10:27, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

ATTN LindseyH: does Death = Assuming Office?[edit]

Dear Sir/Madam,

You reverted my correction to the "Assumed office" line (which is now still listed as "8 July 1994" thanks to you). You did this despite the fact (I assume this fact is not in dispute) that KIM DIED ON THAT DATE. There is even a line (directly below the one I fixed!) that reads "In office 9 September 1948 – 8 July 1994".

So… which is the correct date that he "assumed office"? Is it the date listed as the first date he was "in" office, or the day he passed away? Or, are you suggesting that the "office" he assumed was that of "Eternal President"? I don't think that's what 99.999% of people reading this article would consider "assumed office" to mean, but maybe you have a good reason?

May I ask why (exactly, please) you corrected my factual fix to instead present him as having "assumed office" on the same day he died?

Are you perhaps just automatically undoing any changes whatsoever, regardless of whether they agree with the facts or not, because this page is considered "sensitive"?

If so, may I suggest you consult a third-party source (who presumably knows even more than you or I about Kim) to verify that he did in fact assume office on the day he died as you claim, or would you please revert and accept my correction, which is in accord with the other "facts" listed on the very same page? Please pick one. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:26, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

The info box is strange (as is the DPRK) on this point. The "Eternal President" is an honour that was bestowed on Kim after his death, but I don't think he assumed office on that day. He was President already. I don't see the need to include this in the info box. (Even the "supreme leader" listing is questionable.)--Jack Upland (talk) 10:36, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

A posthumous title isn't equivalent to holding political office. Only a living person can actually hold office. It's fine to mention the title in the article, but it shouldn't be there in the infobox alongside actual offices held. It's confusing and just looks silly. Everyking (talk) 01:17, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

as absurd as it sounds, Kim actually became Eternal President after death and this office is above that held by his son. Does not matter how silly it looks, it is reality. Legacypac (talk) 14:23, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

Obvious inaccuracies[edit]

There are references to "Jar Jar Binks" "Dumbledore" and "Superman" in this article. Not sure who messed around with it and what was omitted etc. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:27, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

Vandalism - reverted here. Chaheel Riens (talk) 20:20, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

Image in infobox[edit]

I suggest the image in the infobox should be photograph, not an idealized painting. --Bensin (talk) 21:47, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

  • Agreed. Never seen so many teeth..... (talk) 21:11, 13 July 2015 (UTC)

Request for Comments[edit]

There is an RfC on the question of using "Religion: None" vs. "Religion: None (atheist)" in the infobox on this and other similar pages.

The RfC is at Template talk:Infobox person#RfC: Religion infobox entries for individuals that have no religion.

Please help us determine consensus on this issue. --Guy Macon (talk) 22:38, 25 April 2015 (UTC)

In case this issue comes up again, here is a source on Kim's beliefs about religion: "In a rare description of his country's religious life to a visiting Japanese delegation in 1971, Kim Il Sung described how younger people has all received a 'modern education' and were no longer interested in Buddhism or Confucianism. Christianity had ceased to exist in his country, he maintained, when Christians lost their faith as a result of US bombing during the Korean War." (Adrian Buzo, The Making of Modern Korea, Routledge, London, 2002, p 100.)
I think it is also worth noting that Guy, who has been arguing about this on multiple pages, also argues that belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a genuine religion.--Jack Upland (talk) 00:04, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
  • support atheist Legacypac (talk) 14:25, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Point Just so people here remember not believing in a religion is not the same as being an atheist. Atheist don't have faith in god or gods, meanwhile not having a religion is simply not having a religion, it doesn't mean you don't have beliefs or even beliefs in higher powers. There are many different things a person can be considered besides aethist without haveing a religion so unless we can definitively say which one it is based off statements he made "Religion: None" is more accurate.Peachywink (talk) 20:12, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

Terentii Shtykov - First Leader of North Korea[edit]

Scholarly consensus is that Terentii Shtykov was the most powerful man in North Korea from 1948 to 1950.[1][2][3][4][5] The article contrasts with this consensus by claiming that Kim Il-sung was not a Soviet puppet from 1948-1950, and in fact has been edited to remove references to Shtykov, whose backing of Kim was crucial in Kim's rise to power, entirely. This reflects North Korean media's official interpretation of history more than the contemporary historical consensus of the issue and thus is a violation of Wikipedia's NPOV policy. Why are Andrei Lankov's assertions about Kim Il-sung's name change deemed credible in this article, but not his assertions about Shtykov's role in North Korea?

  1. ^ Lankov, Andrei (2012-01-25). "Terenti Shtykov: the other ruler of nascent N. Korea". The Korea Times. Retrieved April 14, 2015. 
  2. ^ Timothy Dowling (2011). "Terentii Shtykov". History and the Headlines. ABC-CLIO. Retrieved April 26, 2015. 
  3. ^ Lankov, Andrei. ""North Korea in 1945-48: The Soviet Occupation and the Birth of the State,"". From Stalin to Kim Il Sung--The Formation of North Korea, 1945-1960,. p. 2-3. 
  4. ^ Lankov, Andrei (2013-04-10). The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia. Oxford University Press. p. 7. 
  5. ^ Armstrong, Charles (2013-04-15). The North Korean Revolution, 1945–1950. Cornell University Press. Kindle Locations 1363-1367. 

This distinction is important because Supreme leader of North Korea has always been a de facto title. Shtykov was the de facto supreme leader of North Korea until 1950, even though he held no de jure role denoting this. The article as currently written implies that Kim Il-sung was the entrenched dictator of North Korea from the get-go, even though historical consensus is that he only got to that position due to the Korean War. Plumber (talk) 20:04, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

I proposed on your talk page what I wish to put up for discussion here I think it actually would solve a lot of the confusion and issues to just get rid of the title andd remove it from the info box.Peachywink (talk) 21:24, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
Officially designating the Supreme Leader starting from the 2009 Constitution would eliminate both Shtykov and Kim Il-sung from the role. That creates more problems than it solves. Removing the title from the infobox furthers the North Korean propaganda that Kim Il-sung was the one chosen leader of the DPRK from the beginning. Again, a violation of NPOV. Supreme leader was a de facto title until 2009. The original North Korean constitution (written by Stalin and Shtykov, not Kim) didn't even designate an official head of state. Plumber (talk) 01:47, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
I still don't really see your point of why a man that has never even in the source material provided been referred to by the title Supreme Leader should now be given it. Even if the title is solely North Korean propaganda it then makes even less sense for Shtykov to have it. I also don't think he belongs on the table of past leaders because again he never was head of the DPRK but rather he ran the military operations Russians had in place during the time they were busy trying to set up the North Korean Government. At best he could have a separate section in the article with his timeline, one that would overlap with the timeline of the DPRK leaders. Peachywink (talk) 02:26, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
As I understood it, the term Supreme Leader did not represent an official title (since this has only been the case since 2009), but a simple description of who is actually in charge of the DPRK. De jure Kim Jong-il was never head of state or government of North Korea, but he is Supreme leader since he was de facto in charge of the country from 1994 until his death. De jure Shtykov was not even officially in charge of the Soviet occupation (he handpicked who would lead the Soviet occupation). But de facto Shtykov was the head of the DPRK for all intents and purposes from 1945-1950, just as Kim Jong-il was from 1994-2011. As a temporary measure, I edited the article to restore most of the noncontroversial work (WP:ROWN) and edited the title show Kim Il-sung as the first Suryong of the DPRK (even though this is anachronistic before 1967). Plumber (talk) 02:40, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
SideNote: you could just say legally instead of de jure, the latin seems a bit... Anyways North Korea declared it's statehood in 1948 prior to that it was a work in progress, there was no DPRK. We can't expand that government back in time to when didn't exist and when the sate was declared 1948 Shtykov became the ambassador to North Korea. You can sate that he was the person wielding the majority of power at the time but he was not an actual member of the government.Peachywink (talk) 03:03, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
Lankov says Shtykov was effectively the Soviet governor of North Korea until 1948. That does not make him supreme leader of the DPRK (which was officially founded in 1948). Clearly he was subordinate to Stalin. In Lankov's account, a loyal functionary. I don't believe that this view represents consensus. Lankov writes in a very contentious, devil's advocate style. In any case, naming Shtykov as supreme leader would only confuse people.--Jack Upland (talk) 04:03, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
I have reverted Plumber's edits both at this article and at List of leaders of North Korea. It is absolutely unacceptable to make controversial changes to articles when it is more than clear there is no consensus for doing that (there is not a single editor who shares Plumber's views on this issue). However, I want to propose my version of compromise - at List of leaders of North Korea, we can rename "Supreme leaders" section to "Supreme leaders (Suryong)" (I'm not sure about the plural of Suryong, but I assume you can get the picture of what I'm proposing here). If we apply my proposal, it would totally eliminate Shtyukov from the list (as it should be anyway). As for this article, as well as Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un, we can edit the infobox to "1st Suryong of North Korea", "2nd Suryong of North Korea" and "3rd Suryong of North Korea". --Sundostund (talk) 12:56, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
It was my impression that edits to Wikipedia are done with cited sources, not by majority vote of editors. The only edits that have been deemed controversial is the infobox title, but you reverted a substantial amount of information within the body of the page. You also reverted exactly what you yourself proposed: I had listed Kim Il-sung as the "1st Suryong of North Korea" on the edit you reverted, which makes me suspect that you did not read what you were reverting at all. I suggest you look at WP:ROWN. With suggestions of a "compromise" that reverts to the status quo (save changing Supreme Leader to its Korean translation) and other comments on my talk page opposing changing the List of leaders of North Korea based on the time you invested in it (as if your time is the only time that matters), you seem to be treating that page and similar pages like a pet project that no one else is allowed to touch instead of a page of a public encyclopedia.

@Jack Upland: The Armstrong account, while taking a more sympathetic view of Korea autonomy than Lankov, nevertheless documents that Shtykov was the most influential person in North Korea from 1945-1950, says that he was the designer of land reform, the organizer of the prelude to the Korean War, etc. Kim Il-sung's propaganda machine has been remarkably effective at whitewashing Shtykov from history, a goal that is inherently at odds with Wikipedia's mission to provide a NPOV. If the title of "Supreme Leader" is too contentious, that is fine. Plumber (talk) 18:51, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

Plumber, your (or mine) impressions are irrelevant. Wikipedia is built on consensus, and that's it. Period. As I said, there is not a single user who shares your views about this issue, and that tells us something. As for this article - if I reverted something non-controversial, as well as some stuff which are acceptable to me (as they are part of my proposal), I'm sorry for doing that. It wasn't my intention to do that, for sure (why should I revert something which I proposed?)... As for the List of leaders of North Korea, I implemented my proposal there, and I went one step further - I removed the "Supreme Leader" appellation and left just "Suryong" (which clearly exclude Shtyukov, so its not just changing Supreme Leader to its Korean translation), and I removed all pre-1948 stuff which Plumber added. Those changes can't be just pushed in, per WP:BRD. There is no consensus for their inclusion. As for the time which I invested in List of leaders of North Korea and Plumber's insinuation that my time is the only time that matters, I clearly stated on his talk page: I've spent a lot of time working on it in the past (as well as other editors, of course), so its more than clear that I highly respect the work and time of other users. In the end, I don't have any pet projects here, anyone can edit anything in this encyclopedia but controversial edits without consensus can not be added. --Sundostund (talk) 22:05, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
Wikipedia is built on consensus and sources. Jack Upland is the only user here who seems remotely familiar with the scholarly sources I have used. That is not a problem, but the objections towards my sources have been consistently unsourced. Facts are not determined by majority vote. As for BRD, you have blatantly violated those standards ("Revert an edit if it is not an improvement, and it cannot be immediately fixed by refinement. Consider reverting only when necessary. BRD does not encourage reverting, but recognizes that reverts will happen. When reverting, be specific about your reasons in the edit summary and use links if needed. Look at the article's edit history and its talk page to see if a discussion has begun. If not, you may begin one (see this list for a glossary of common abbreviations you might see).") I fail to see how removing the only sourced portions of an article, and the entire period of pre-independence North Korean history, is improving an article. Plumber (talk) 23:16, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
I fail to see how you abide to BRD by constantly trying to insert controversial (opposed) edits, which only you supported so far. Please face it, you don't have consensus for doing that. As for sources, I can only repeat what I already wrote on your talk page: "By your own words - I'm not sure how many of the other users know about Shtykov; English sources on him are rare. You need extremely strong English sources if you want to implement your changes in English Wikipedia". As for myself, so far, I never tried to stop implementation of consensus when its clearly reached, nor I tried to insert stuff when I didn't have support from others to do that. Think about it. I also fail to see why the entire period of pre-independence North Korean history should be included in the article which is intended to list heads of North Korean institutions since independence in 1948... In the end, stop posting further "warnings" on my talk page. You are not an admin to do that, you are an involved party in this discussion and you do not have my permission to post any of them anymore. --Sundostund (talk) 00:13, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
"the objections towards my sources have been consistently unsourced". I never objected to your source I objected to your interpretation of it. As the article and it's sources show he was never an official leader of the DPRK. The some of the Wikipedia articles you are trying to edit him into he doesn't belong in, like the list of past leaders, that article is clerly only talking about the DPRK leaders other wise we would have Japanese Officers listed there as well. It would be like saying Montezuma was a leader of Mexico, (not really but you get the point). If the country didn't exist at the time a person was in charge theydo not get to be on the list. As for him being the "de facto" leader after 1948 there is not enough evidence of him having government authority like that. He couldn't sign laws as the leader of the DPRK or make trade agreements for them he had to get Kim Il-Sung to do what Russia wanted. Kim Il-Sung might not have felt he had much a choice but he was the acting leader of his country, and Shtykov was the Russian ambassador to that country. If you want to write about the period in between Russia taking control of the North of Korea and the establishment of the DPRK and say he was in charge then of...whatever the mission was called (too tired to look it up), that's fine it is a part of the countries history. But you have not proven he was a leader of the DPRK's government.Peachywink (talk) 04:14, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

1) English sources on Shtykov are rare, as are English sources on North Korean history in general. The sources I have compiled reflect the scholarly consensus on the issue. I have said this before. No one has addressed why Lankov should be reliable in the part of the article that he was already cited on, but not reliable on this matter.
2) Shtykov is relevant to the list of North Korean leaders. Japanese officers are not. They are relevant to the list of Korean leaders. Montezuma is relevant to the list of Aztec Empire leaders. The polity now known as North Korea has been in existence since 1945, not 1948. There is no harm is acknowledging the small list of 1945-1948 leaders, especially since there is no other page that they are listed on.
3) Shtykov was never the official leader of the DPRK. No one has claimed that. It is irrelevant, since we are talking about the de facto leader of the country. I have now explicitly refrained from labeling Shtykov supreme leader (Lankov's term) since it has caused confusion between that and Suryong (Supreme Leader). There still seems to be a confusion that Supreme Leader was an official title and office during Shtykov and Kim Il-sung's lifetime (it was not). It is true that Shtykov did not sign laws himself once the DPRK was established. It is also not relevant. Queen Elizabeth signs the laws in the UK, but she is not its de facto leader.
4) The sources I have provided, from multiple scholars, give numerous examples of Shtykov's paramount leadership from the 1945-50 period:

  • Shtykov handpicked members of the Soviet Civil Administration (the SCA; no need to look it up now)
  • Shtykov supported Kim Il-sung to lead the provisional government over Pak Honyong
  • Shtykov determined the results of the 1946 provisional government 'elections' without any Korean input
  • Shtykov implemented land reform (altering the original plan from Moscow. Today of course, Kim gets the credit)
  • Shtykov and Stalin edited the North Korean constitution without any Korean input
  • Shtykov and Kim persuaded Stalin to allow the Korean War.

It is much harder to claim that Kim Il-sung was the de facto leader of North Korea from 1948-1950 than it is to claim that Shtykov was the de facto leader from 1945-1950. No serious scholarly sources that I am aware of makes the claim that Kim called the shots in the pre-Korean War DPRK. I am beginning to suspect that not everyone involved in this discussion has looked over the sources I provided. Perhaps I should provide a final smoking gun as a direct quote:

  • "Kim Il Sung and Pak Hŏnyŏng had proposed to Shtykov the creation of the [Democratic Front for the Unification of the Fatherland] on May 31 [1949]" (emphasis mine)[1]

Why on earth would Kim and Pak, the two most influential communists in the DPRK at the time, ask Shtykov for permission to create the DFUF if he was merely a normal Soviet Ambassador?

I should probably also use this opportunity to highlight my discomfort with the use of the term suryŏng without a disclaimer noting that this is not historically accurate in the 1940s

  • "Although the term suryŏng was used occasionally for Kim as early as 1948, it did not become his standard title until the late 1960s. In the late 1940s suryong was still used most commonly to refer to Stalin in his capacity as supreme leader of the communist world."[2]
  1. ^ Armstrong, Charles K. (2013-04-15). The North Korean Revolution, 1945–1950 (Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University) (Kindle Location 5968). Cornell University Press. Kindle Edition.
  2. ^ Armstrong, Locations 6180-6182.

Plumber (talk) 06:42, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

I think there are two different issues here: (1) the Soviet influence on the DPRK; (2) how to classify the "leaders" of the DPRK (Kim Il Sung, Jong Il, Jong Un). I would agree the Soviet influence was great, but I think Lankov is overstating it. The assumption behind the argument is that the Soviet occupation acted without any attempt to consult with Koreans or gauge local concerns. That is rather ludicrous. Shtykov's real power can be judged by the fact that he was sacked in 1950. When Kim fell out with the Soviet government, he wasn't sacked. In any case, information about the Soviet occupation and subsequent influence belongs in the relevant articles. It makes no sense to classify a Soviet official as a leader of North Korea. As stated on the List of leaders of North Korea page, I disagree with the use of the term suryong. It is merely the Korean word for leader. The fact is, the "leaders" of the DPRK have not adopted a consistent title. --Jack Upland (talk)

(1) I do think that Lankov goes too far in some cases in understating Korean autonomy. For this reason, I have only listed major instances in which both he and other scholars such as Armstrong (who believes that the USSR called all of the big decisions, but the Koreans were given considerable autonomy in the smaller stuff—though I think Armstrong goes a bit too far in this direction) agree.
(2) I agree. It is precisely because the leaders of the DPRK do not have a consistent title that I find no reason why Shtykov should not be counted as the effective leader of the 1945-1950 period. The de jure office of North Korean leaders has always been irrelevant compared to the de facto situation. Obviously, Shtykov never held a title implying leadership of North Korea and its predecessor. But he certainly was more influential than Kim Il-sung was prior to the Chinese intervention in the Korean War. Suryong is only useful because it is the title that the three Kims have most in common. When listing leaders of North Korea and including Shtykov, using suryong is a good way to distinguish the Kims from Shtykov (this was the case before the page was reverted). Also, I don't think the point about Shtykov being fired is particularly relevant. Shtykov was sacked because he predicted the US would not intervene in North Korea and that it would be a short, victorious war. After Chinese intervention in the war, the Soviet Union lost its monopoly of power over the North Korean state. Shtykov was fired at the point where North Korea was no longer a true Soviet client (Kim could not have been purged at this point even if Stalin had wanted to), so it is erroneous to use this example to nullify the power Shtykov held prior to the war. Plumber (talk) 00:39, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

My point was that Shtykov was a Soviet official (who could simply be sacked by the Soviet government). However powerful he was, he was not the North Korean leader. On the other hand, even if he was a puppet or a front man initially, Kim was the leader of the North Koreans.--Jack Upland (talk) 02:29, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

Capitalization of "supreme leader". Building consensus.[edit]

Please see discussion at Talk:Kim Jong-il#Capitalization of "supreme leader". Building consensus.

Finnusertop (talk | guestbook | contribs) 16:53, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

On the Supreme Leader part of the infobox[edit]

Removed the "Supreme Leader" part of the infobox since it is not a title used by him. I think this page, as well as the Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un pages should follow the pages of China's "paramount leaders". Migs005 (talk) 07:20, 10 September 2015 (UTC)

Sounds reasonable.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:27, 10 September 2015 (UTC)
It gives readers an easy way to navigate between supreme leaders without having to sort through multitudes of various government posts. Mr.Bob.298 (talk) 04:45, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
Making it easy for readers to get false information is not desirable.--Jack Upland (talk) 10:46, 27 October 2015 (UTC)

Why is it still in "Edit"?[edit]

Shouldn't this page be upgraded to have the "View Source" tag? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:601:8C00:EE:A0C8:E38F:12AB:EB2F (talk) 01:23, 21 November 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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When did China withdraw from North Korea?[edit]

The section on "Consolidating power" includes comments that seem inconsistent regarding when China withdrew from North Korea. The first paragraph of that section ends, "Both South and North Korea retained huge armed forces to defend the 1953 Demilitarized Zone, although no foreign troops remained in North Korea." However, the third paragraph says, "The last Chinese troops withdrew from the country in October 1958". I'm confused. DavidMCEddy (talk) 21:20, 8 May 2016 (UTC)

I've removed the inconsistency. Clearly Chinese troops remained in Korea for a relatively short time, compared with US troops who are still there. I think that's the point the text was trying to make. I've also removed the link because it was dead.--Jack Upland (talk) 06:43, 9 May 2016 (UTC)