Kim Il-sung
President ofNorth Korea
Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung, also romanised as Kim Il Sung, was the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly referred to as North Korea, from its establishment in 1948 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death. He was also the leader of the Workers' Party of Korea from 1949 to 1994 (titled as chairman from 1949 to 1966 and as general secretary after 1966).
Biography
Kim Il-sung's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Kim Il-sung from around the web
A North Korean Resort Seeks to Draw Foreigners
NYTimes - over 5 years
MOUNT KUMGANG, North Korea -- Once praised as an experiment in reconciliation, this verdant tourist park on the mountainous southeast coast has become a symbol of the increased tensions between the two Koreas. The golf course is devoid of caddies; banks and restaurants are chained and padlocked; and empty hotel rooms have grown musty. Income from
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Kim's medical secrets revealed to the world - Scotsman
Google News - over 5 years
Dr Seok, once based at the Kim il-Sung Longevity Research Institute, was part of an "anti-ageing team" treating Jong-il. The human guinea pigs, said Dr Seok, were considered "lucky" since they were given "good medicine" not available to the public in
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[Viewpoint] The Democratic Party's poster boy - JoongAng Daily
Google News - over 5 years
During the Roh Moo-hyun administration, prosecutors attempted to arrest Dongguk University professor Kang Jeong-koo for praising Kim Il Sung's invasion of South Korea. Kang's position is not only vile, but also illegal under law - unless you asked
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Time for the nation to wake up - JoongAng Daily
Google News - over 5 years
It is shocking that an underground spy ring - code-named Wangjaesan - has engaged in espionage for the past 18 years after receiving a directive from North Korean leader Kim Il Sung in a meeting in Pyongyang in August 1993. Members of the group even
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Kim Il Sung's Exploits for Nation-building - Weekly Blitz
Google News - over 5 years
by Embassy of the DPRK in Bangladesh The Democratic People's Republic of Korea holds Kim Il Sung (1912-1994) as its eternal President for his great and ever-lasting exploits for nation-building. President Kim Il Sung provided a steadfast guideline of
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N. Korean leader Kim Jong Il arrives in Russia ahead of Medvedev meeting - Washington Post
Google News - over 5 years
Some North Korea analysts say that Kim has grown wary of depending so heavily on China, particularly as North Korea prepares for the 100th anniversary next year of the birth of founder Kim Il Sung. The North has promised to build a strong and ... - -
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Kim Il-sung: disastrous founder of communist N. Korea - Korea Times
Google News - over 5 years
This name was Kim Il-sung. Kim Il-sung spent his turbulent youth as a sincere idealist who eventually (and almost against his will) was sucked into the cold bureaucratic machine of an emerging dictatorship. He survived and prospered, but was gradually
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North Korea nears age of affluence - Asia Times Online
Google News - over 5 years
The North is already a member of the space and nuclear clubs, and its emergence as an affluent state will fulfill a long-elusive policy goal of founding father Kim Il-sung. . Today, North Korea indigenously manufactures a full range of heavy and light
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North's envoy in US says 'now time to reconcile' - JoongAng Daily
Google News - over 5 years
The North, seeking external aid to resolve its food crisis and help prepare for the 100th anniversary of the birth of its founder Kim Il Sung next year, has signaled a return to the six-party talks since early this year. Pyongyang also made a fresh ... - -
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North Korea elects new members of local councils - Forbes
Google News - over 5 years
... Korean Central News Agency said Tuesday that the election results show that the North Korean people are firmly united behind leader Kim Jong Il to build a powerful nation ahead of the 2012 centennial of the birth of the country's founder Kim Il Sung
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N. Korea holds local elections amid succession campaign - Tehran Times
Google News - over 5 years
... time the North has unveiled the son as the heir-apparent to the family dynasty. The succession would mark communism's second hereditary power transfer. The elder Kim inherited power from his father, the country's founder Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994. - -
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Slow news day in North Korea? - GlobalPost (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
North Korean students play a game of 'go' during their class at the Mangyondae school children's palace in Pyongyang, North Korea, as portraits of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (top R) and his late father Kim Il-Sung (top-L) look down from the walls
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Korean Wiki Is Like Kim Jong Il's Biography - Daily NK
Google News - over 5 years
Information on Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il is also according to North Korea's insistence. “Kim Jong Il, at age 12, organized a 'study group to put together a brief biography of General Kim Il Sung' on February 10, 1953. In May 1956, regarding the first
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North Korean artist turns talents on repressive regime - GlobalPost
Google News - over 5 years
Before defecting, Song cut his artistic teeth painting propaganda for Kim's regime, turning out grinning portraits of founding father Kim Il Sung and technicolor depictions of militant workers and peasants. Since arriving in South Korea, however,
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North Koreas pay respects to late President Kim - The Associated Press
Google News - over 5 years
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Streams of North Koreans are paying their respects to late President Kim Il Sung, the country's founder, on the 17th anniversary of his death. Footage from Associated Press Television News shows citizens and soldiers laying
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Kim Il-sung
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1994
    Age 81
    On 8 July 1994, Kim Il-sung collapsed from a sudden heart attack at the age of 82.
    More Details Hide Details After the heart attack, Kim Jong-il ordered the team of doctors who were constantly at his father's side to leave, and arranged for the country's best doctors to be flown in from Pyongyang. After several hours, the doctors from Pyongyang arrived, but despite their efforts to save him, Kim Il-sung died. After the traditional Confucian Mourning period, his death was declared thirty hours later. Kim Il-sung's death resulted in nationwide mourning and a ten-day mourning period was declared by Kim Jong-il. His funeral in Pyongyang was attended by hundreds of thousands of people who were flown into the city from all over North Korea. Kim Il-sung's body was placed in a public mausoleum at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where his preserved and embalmed body lies under a glass coffin for viewing purposes. His head rests on a traditional Korean pillow and he is covered by the flag of the Workers' Party of Korea. Newsreel video of the funeral at Pyongyang was broadcast on several networks, and can now be found on various websites.
    In June 1994, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter travelled to Pyongyang for talks with Kim.
    More Details Hide Details To the astonishment of the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency, Kim agreed to halt his nuclear research program and seemed to be embarking upon a new opening to the West.
    On 19 May 1994, Kim ordered spent fuel to be unloaded from the already disputed nuclear research facility in Yongbyon.
    More Details Hide Details Despite repeated chiding from Western nations, Kim continued to conduct nuclear research and carry on with the uranium enrichment program.
    In early 1994, Kim began investing in nuclear power to offset energy shortages brought on by economic problems.
    More Details Hide Details This was the first of many "nuclear crises".
  • 1993
    Age 80
    After transitioning his military authority to Kim Jong-il in 1993, Kim Il-sung died in the summer of 1994.
    More Details Hide Details His legacy is complicated by genuine admiration from older generations and the successive regime's attempts to exploit it for legitimacy. The North Korean government refers to Kim Il-sung as "The Great Leader" (위대한 수령, widaehan suryŏng) and he is designated in the North Korean constitution as the country's "Eternal President". His birthday is a public holiday in North Korea and is called the "Day of the Sun". Controversy surrounds Kim's life before the founding of North Korea, with some sources labeling him an impostor. Several sources indicate that the name "Kim Il-sung" had previously been used by a prominent early leader of the Korean resistance, Kim Kyung-cheon (김경천). The Soviet officer, Grigory Mekler, who worked with Kim during the Soviet occupation, says that Kim assumed this name from a former commander who had died. However, historian Andrei Lankov has argued that this 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. Historian Bruce Cumings points out that Japanese officers from the Kwantung Army have attested to his fame as a resistance figure. Historians generally accept that, while his exploits were exaggerated by the personality cult that was built around him, he was a significant guerrilla leader.
  • 1991
    Age 78
    To ensure a full succession of leadership to his son and designated successor Kim Jong-il, Kim turned over his chairmanship of North Korea's National Defense Commission—the body mainly responsible for control of the armed forces as well as the supreme commandership of the country's now million-man strong military force, the Korean People's Army—to his son in 1991 and 1993.
    More Details Hide Details So far, the elder Kim—even though he is dead—has remained the country's president, the general-secretary of its ruling Worker's Party of Korea, and the chairman of the Party's Central Military Commission, the party's organization that has supreme supervision and authority over military matters.
  • 1980
    Age 67
    At the Sixth Party Congress in October 1980, Kim publicly designated his son as his successor.
    More Details Hide Details From about this time, North Korea encountered increasing economic difficulties. The practical effect of Juche was to cut the country off from virtually all foreign trade in order to make it entirely self-reliant. The economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping in China from 1979 onward meant that trade with the moribund economy of North Korea held decreasing interest for China. The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, from 1989–1991, completed North Korea's virtual isolation. These events led to mounting economic difficulties because Kim refused to issue any economic or democratic reforms. As he aged, starting in the late 1970s, Kim developed a calcium deposit growth on the right side of the back of his neck. Its close proximity to his brain and spinal cord made it inoperable. Because of its unappealing nature, North Korean reporters and photographers, from then on, always filmed Kim while standing from his same slight-left angle to hide the growth from official photographs and newsreels, which became an increasingly difficult task as the growth reached the size of a baseball by the late 1980s.
    In 1980, he decided that his son Kim Jong-il would succeed him, and increasingly delegated the running of the government to him.
    More Details Hide Details The Kim family was supported by the army, due to Kim Il-sung’s revolutionary record and the support of the veteran defense minister, O Chin-u.
    A cult of personality around Kim Il-sung came to dominate domestic politics and loyalty to the supreme leader was a de facto condition for public office. At the 6th Workers' Party Congress in 1980, his son Kim Jong-il, who had consolidated control over the party through the cult of personality, was selected as his heir to supreme leadership.
    More Details Hide Details In 1991, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, North Korea's economy collapsed, leading to widespread poverty and famine.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1972
    Age 59
    A new constitution was proclaimed in December 1972, under which Kim became President of North Korea.
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  • FORTIES
  • 1956
    Age 43
    During the 1956 August Faction Incident, Kim Il-sung successfully resisted efforts by the Soviet Union and China to depose him in favor of Soviet Koreans or the pro-Chinese Yanan faction.
    More Details Hide Details The last Chinese troops withdrew from the country in October 1958, which is the consensus as the latest date when North Korea became effectively independent, though some scholars believe that the 1956 August incident demonstrated independence. Despite his opposition to de-Stalinization, Kim never officially severed relations with the Soviet Union. He did not take part in the Sino-Soviet Split. After Khrushchev was replaced by Leonid Brezhnev, Kim's relations with the Soviet Union became closer. At the same time, Kim was increasingly alienated by Mao's unstable style of leadership, especially during the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s. Kim in turn was denounced by Mao's Red Guards. At the same time, Kim reinstated relations with most of Eastern Europe's communist countries, primarily Erich Honecker's East Germany and Nicolae Ceauşescu's Romania. Ceauşescu, in particular, was heavily influenced by Kim's ideology, and the personality cult that grew around him in Romania was very similar to that of Kim. Kim and Albania's Enver Hoxha (another independent-minded Stalinist) would remain fierce enemies and relations between North Korea and Albania would remain cold and tense right up until Hoxha's death in 1985. Although not a communist, Zaire's Mobutu Sese Seko was also heavily influenced by Kim's style of rule. At the same time, Kim was establishing an extensive personality cult. North Koreans were taught that Kim was the "Sun of the Nation" and could do no wrong.
  • 1955
    Age 42
    The 1955 Juche speech, which stressed Korean independence, debuted in the context of Kim's power struggle against leaders such as Pak, who had Soviet backing.
    More Details Hide Details This was little noticed at the time until state media started talking about it in 1963.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1952
    Age 39
    Kim married Kim Sung-ae in 1952, and it is believed that he had three children with her: Kim Yŏng-il (not to be confused with the former Premier of North Korea of the same name), Kim Kyŏng-il and Kim Pyong-il.
    More Details Hide Details Kim Pyong-il was prominent in Korean politics until he became ambassador to Hungary. Since 2015 he has been ambassador to the Czech Republic. In sum, Kim Il-sung had six children and eight grandchildren; one of them, Kim Jong-il, was the leader of North Korea until his death in December 2011. Kim was reported to have other illegitimate children. They included Kim Hyŏn-nam (born 1972, head of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers' Party since 2002). There are over 500 statues of Kim Il-sung in North Korea, similar to the many statues and monuments put up by East Bloc leaders to themselves. The most prominent are at Kim Il-sung University, Kim Il-sung Stadium, Mansudae Hill, Kim Il-sung Bridge and the Immortal Statue of Kim Il-sung. Some statues have reportedly been destroyed by explosions or damaged with graffiti by North Korean dissidents. Yŏng Saeng ("eternal life") monuments have been erected throughout the country, each dedicated to the departed "Eternal Leader." It is claimed that it is traditional for North Korean newlyweds, immediately after their wedding, to go to the nearest statue of Kim Il-sung and lay flowers at his feet.
  • 1949
    Age 36
    By 1949, Kim and the communists had consolidated totalitarian rule in North Korea.
    More Details Hide Details Around this time, the cult of personality was promoted by the communists, the first statues of Kim appeared, and he began calling himself "Great Leader". Archival material suggests that North Korea's decision to invade South Korea was Kim's initiative, not a Soviet one. Evidence suggests that Soviet intelligence, through its espionage sources in the US government and British SIS, had obtained information on the limitations of US atomic bomb stockpiles as well as defense program cuts, leading Stalin to conclude that the Truman administration would not intervene in Korea. The People's Republic of China acquiesced only reluctantly to the idea of Korean reunification after being told by Kim that Stalin had approved the action. The Chinese did not provide North Korea with direct military support (other than logistics channels) until United Nations troops, largely US forces, had nearly reached the Yalu River late in 1950. At the outset of the war in June and July, North Korean forces captured Seoul and occupied most of the South, save for a small section of territory in the southeast region of the South that was called the Pusan Perimeter. But in September, the North Koreans were driven back by the US-led counterattack that started with the UN landing in Incheon, followed by a combined South Korean-US-UN offensive from the Pusan Perimeter. North Korean history emphasizes that the United States had previously invaded and occupied the South, allegedly with the intention to push further north and into the Asian continent.
    In 1949, the Workers Party of North Korea merged with its southern counterpart to become the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) with Kim as party chairman.
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  • 1948
    Age 35
    Despite United Nations plans to conduct all-Korean elections, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was proclaimed on 9 September 1948, with Kim as the Soviet-designated premier.
    More Details Hide Details In May 1948, the south had declared statehood as the Republic of Korea. On 12 October, the Soviet Union recognized Kim's government as sovereign of the entire peninsula, including the south. The Communist Party merged with the New People's Party to form the Workers Party of North Korea (of which Kim was vice-chairman).
    He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to 1994.
    More Details Hide Details He was also the leader of the Workers' Party of Korea from 1949 to 1994 (titled as chairman from 1949 to 1966 and as general secretary after 1966). Coming to power after the overthrow of Japanese rule in 1945, he authorized the invasion of South Korea in 1950, triggering a defense of South Korea by the United Nations led by the United States. A cease-fire in the Korean War was signed on 27 July 1953. Under his leadership, North Korea became a socialist state and had close political and economic relations with the Soviet Union, which gave the country many similarities in those respects. By the 1960s and 1970s, North Korea enjoyed a relatively high standard of living, outperforming the South, which was riddled with political instability and economic crises. Differences between North Korea and the Soviet Union made the country non-aligned in world politics, central among these differences being Kim Il-sung's philosophy of Juche, which focused on Korean patriotism and self-reliance. Juche eventually replaced Marxism-Leninism and communism altogether.
  • 1947
    Age 34
    Kim Il-sung married twice. His first wife, Kim Jong-suk, gave birth to two sons and a daughter. Kim Jong-il was his oldest son. The other son (Kim Man-il, or Shura Kim) of this marriage died in 1947 in a swimming accident and his wife Kim Jong-suk died at the age of 31 while giving birth to a stillborn baby girl.
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  • 1946
    Age 33
    General Terentii Shtykov who led the Soviet occupation of northern Korea, supported Kim over Pak Hon-yong to lead the Provisional People's Committee for North Korea on 8 February 1946.
    More Details Hide Details As chairman of the committee, Kim was "the top Korean administrative leader in the North," though he was still de facto subordinate to General Shtykov until the Chinese intervention in the Korean War. To solidify his control, Kim established the Korean People's Army (KPA), aligned with the Communist Party, and he recruited a cadre of guerrillas and former soldiers who had gained combat experience in battles against the Japanese and later against Nationalist Chinese troops. Using Soviet advisers and equipment, Kim constructed a large army skilled in infiltration tactics and guerrilla warfare. Prior to Kim's invasion of the South in 1950, which triggered the Korean War, Joseph Stalin equipped the KPA with modern, Soviet-built heavy tanks, trucks, artillery, and small arms. Kim also formed an air force, equipped at first with Soviet-built propeller-driven fighters and attack aircraft. Later, North Korean pilot candidates were sent to the Soviet Union and China to train in MiG-15 jet aircraft at secret bases.
  • 1945
    Age 32
    In December 1945, the Soviets installed Kim as chairman of the North Korean branch of the Korean Communist Party.
    More Details Hide Details Originally, the Soviets preferred Cho Man-sik to lead a popular front government, but Cho refused to support a UN-backed trusteeship and clashed with Kim.
    Kim arrived in the Korean port of Wonsan on 19 September 1945 after 26 years in exile.
    More Details Hide Details 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 had only had eight years of formal education, all of it in Chinese. He needed considerable coaching to read a speech (which the MVD prepared for him) at a Communist Party congress three days after he arrived.
    Kim became a Major in the Soviet Red Army and served in it until the end of World War II in 1945.
    More Details Hide Details The Soviet Union declared war on Japan on 8 August 1945, and the Red Army entered Pyongyang on 24 August 1945. Stalin had instructed Lavrentiy Beria to recommend a Communist leader for the Soviet-occupied territories and Beria met Kim several times before recommending him to Stalin.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1940
    Age 27
    Kim was appointed commander of the 2nd operational region for the 1st Army, but by the end of 1940 he was the only 1st Army leader still alive.
    More Details Hide Details Pursued by Japanese troops, Kim and what remained of his army escaped by crossing the Amur River into the Soviet Union. Kim was sent to a camp at Vyatskoye near Khabarovsk, where the Soviets retrained the Korean Communist guerrillas.
    The Japanese "Maeda Unit" was sent to hunt him in February 1940, but he was able to destroy it.
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  • 1937
    Age 24
    While commanding this division he executed a raid on Poch’onbo, on 4 June 1937.
    More Details Hide Details Although Kim's division only captured the small Japanese-held town just within the Korean border for a few hours, it was nonetheless considered a military success at this time, when the guerrilla units had experienced difficulty in capturing any enemy territory. This accomplishment would grant Kim some measure of fame among Chinese guerrillas, and North Korean biographies would later exploit it as a great victory for Korea. For their part the Japanese regarded Kim as one of the most effective and popular Korean guerrilla leaders. He appeared on Japanese wanted lists as the "Tiger".
    Kim was appointed commander of the 6th division in 1937, at the age of 24, controlling a few hundred men in a group that came to be known as "Kim Il-sung's division".
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  • 1935
    Age 22
    In 1935 Kim took the name Kim Il-sung, meaning "Kim become the sun".
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    In 1935, Kim became a member of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army, a guerrilla group led by the Communist Party of China.
    More Details Hide Details Kim was appointed the same year to serve as political commissar for the 3rd detachment of the second division, consisting of around 160 soldiers. Here Kim met the man who would become his mentor as a Communist, Wei Zhengmin, Kim's immediate superior officer, who served at the time as chairman of the Political Committee of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army. Wei reported directly to Kang Sheng, a high-ranking party member close to Mao Zedong in Yan'an, until Wei's death on 8 March 1941.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1931
    Age 18
    In a speech before a meeting of Young Communist League delegates on 20 May 1931 in Yenchi County in Manchuria, Kim warned the delegates against such unplanned uprisings as the 30 May 1930 uprising in eastern Manchuria.
    More Details Hide Details Four months later, on 18 September 1931, the "Mukden Incident" occurred, in which a relatively weak dynamite explosive charge went off near a Japanese railroad in the town of Mukden in Manchuria. Although no damage occurred, the Japanese used the incident as an excuse to send armed forces into Manchuria and to appoint a new puppet government.
    In 1931 Kim joined the Communist Party of China—the Communist Party of Korea had been founded in 1925, but had been thrown out of the Comintern in the early 1930s for being too nationalist. He joined various anti-Japanese guerrilla groups in northern China. Feelings against the Japanese ran high in Manchuria, but as of May 1930 the Japanese had not yet occupied Manchuria. On 30 May 1930 a spontaneous violent uprising in eastern Manchuria arose in which peasants attacked some local villages in the name of resisting "Japanese aggression."
    More Details Hide Details The authorities easily suppressed this unplanned, reckless and unfocused uprising. Because of the attack, the Japanese began to plan an occupation of Manchuria.
  • 1929
    Age 16
    The police discovered the group three weeks after it formed in 1929, and jailed Kim for several months.
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  • 1926
    Age 13
    Kim attended Whasung Military Academy in 1926, but finding the academy's training methods outdated, he quit in 1927.
    More Details Hide Details From that time, he attended Yuwen Middle School in Jilin up to 1930, where he rejected the feudal traditions of older-generation Koreans and became interested in Communist ideologies; his formal education ended when the police arrested and jailed him for his subversive activities. At seventeen Kim had become the youngest member of an underground Marxist organization with fewer than twenty members, led by Hŏ So, who belonged to the South Manchurian Communist Youth Association.
    In October 1926 Kim founded the Down-With-Imperialism Union.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1920
    Age 7
    According to the official version, Kim’s family participated in anti-Japanese activities and in 1920 they fled to Manchuria.
    More Details Hide Details Like most Korean families, they resented the Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula, which began on 29 August 1910. Another view seems to be that his family settled in Manchuria like many Koreans at the time to escape famine. Nonetheless, Kim's parents, especially Kim's mother (Kang Ban Suk) played a role in some of the activist anti-Japanese struggle that was sweeping the peninsula. But, their exact involvement - whether their cause was missionary, nationalist, or both - is unclear. Still, Japanese repression of any and all opposition was brutal, resulting in the arrest and detention of more than 52,000 Korean citizens in 1912 alone. The repression forced many Korean families to flee Korea and settle in Manchuria.
  • 1912
    Born
    Kim is reported to have been born in the small village of Mangyungbong (then called Namni) near Pyongyang on 15 April 1912.
    More Details Hide Details Born to Kim Hyŏng-jik and Kang Pan-sŏk, who gave him the name Kim Sŏng-ju; Kim also had two younger brothers, Ch’ŏl-chu (or Kim Chul Joo) and Yŏng-ju. According to Kim, his family was not very poor, but was always a step away from poverty. Kim said that he was raised in a Presbyterian family, that his maternal grandfather was a Protestant minister, that his father had gone to a missionary school and was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, and that his parents were very active in the religious community.
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