Kim Jong-il - Former Supreme Leader of North Korea, Family and Childhood

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Kim Jong-il's Personal Details

Kim Jong-il was the supreme leader of North Korea for 17 years, from 1994 to 2011

InformationDetail
BirthdayFebruary 16, 1941
Died onDecember 17, 2011
NationalityNorth Korean
FamousFormer Supreme Leader of North Korea, Leaders, Political Leaders, Dictators
Nick namesGuiding Sun Ray, Leader, Shining Star of Paektu Mountain, Sun of the Communist Future, General, Great Leader, The Dear Leader
SpousesKim Ok, Kim Young-sook, Ko Yong-hui, Song Hye-rim
SiblingsKim Kyong-Jin
Known asKim Jong Il
Childrens Kim Jong-un, Kim Yo-jong
Universities
  • Kim Il-sung University
  • University of Malta
  • Mangyongdae Revolutionary School
Birth PlaceVyatskoye, Khabarovsk Krai
Political IdeologyPolitical party - Workers' Party of Korea
ReligionAtheism
Height160cm
GenderMale
FatherKim Il-sung
MotherKim Jong-suk
Net Worth$4 billion
Sun SignAquarius
Born inVyatskoye, Khabarovsk Krai
Famous asFormer Supreme Leader of North Korea
Died at Age70

// Famous Former Supreme Leader of North Korea

Kim Jong-il's photo

Who is Kim Jong-il?

Kim Jong-il was the supreme ruler of North Korea for 17 years, from 1994 to 2011. Almost every building in North Korea can be seen spotted with portraits, murals and larger-than-life mosaics of Kim Jong-il and his father, Kim II-sung, either side-by-side or standing together. He was often referred to as ‘Great Comrade’, ‘Supreme Commander’ and even ‘Father’ after taking power, while he was fondly called ‘Dear Leader’ prior to ruling the country. While he became the heir apparent for the leadership of the country in the 1980s, he succeeded his father upon his death in 1994. This autocratic leader ruled North Korea with absolute authority, making decisions right from giving appointments to a senior post to deciding the types of gifts to be distributed to party officials and common man during national holidays. During his regime, North Korea suffered from famine and also had a poor human rights record. He strengthened the role of military by his “military first” policy and made the military of his country the fourth largest standing-army in the world. Just as his birth was supernatural, his death, too, was preceded by mystical circumstances

// Famous Dictators

Childhood & Personal Life

Kim Jong-il was born as Yuri Irsenovich Kim on February 16, 1941, in Vyatskoye village, near Khabarovsk, Soviet Union, to Kim II-sung and his first wife, Kim Jong-suk, while they were in exile during the Japanese invasion of Korea.

His birth was believed to be supernatural as a double rainbow appeared, a new star emerged in the sky, and the season changed from winter to spring, when he was born.

At the end of World War II in 1945, the family returned to Pyongyang and settled in a former Japanese officer’s bungalow. Unfortunately, his mother died during childbirth in 1949, though reports state that she was shot dead.

He completed his schooling from Namsan Higher Middle School in 1960, after which he went to Kim II-sung University, majoring in Marxist political economy with philosophy and military science as minor subjects.

He is believed to have studied English language from the University of Malta during the early 1970s.

Career

In 1961, he entered politics by joining the Workers’ Party and after graduating in 1964, he rose to different ranks, becoming a member of Workers’ Party Central Committee to ensure smooth functioning of the party’s ideological system.

He initiated policies to bond party workers with people, launched Three-Revolution Team Movement where people were trained by political, technical and scientific technicians, and took steps to facilitate economic planning.

Just as his father was known as the ‘Great Leader’, he was given the title ‘Dear Leader’ and was often referred as ‘fearless leader’ and ‘the great successor to the revolutionary cause’.

During the Sixth Party Congress in 1980, he was appointed at senior positions in the Military Commission, the Politburo, and the Secretariat, thus holding control over all sectors of government.

He was assigned the Supreme Command of the Korean People’s Army in 1991, despite having no military experience, and was made the Chairman of the National Defense Commission in 1993.

The economic stagnation prevailing during his father’s reign, due to self-reliance policy and mismanagement, completely devastated the country and led to a severe famine, resulting in massive starvation and despair.

He started the “Military-First” policy, where the military was provided with national resources to keep it in his control and fight both domestic and foreign threats.

In 1994, he signed a framework with the United States to dismantle all nuclear weapons programs in exchange of receiving fuel oil and assistance in developing two power-generating nuclear reactors.

He was re-elected as the Chairman of the National Defense Commission and declared it as ‘the highest post of the state’ in 1998, while abolishing the president’s post and naming his father as ‘Eternal President’.

In 2003, when it came to light that North Korea was developing nuclear weapons, tensions between North Korea and United States increased, resulting in several multilateral negotiations, during 2003-05.

Even though the US insisted on eliminating all nuclear weapons programs, Kim Jong-il refused and confirmed that his country had already carried out a successful underground nuclear bomb test in 2006.

He was known for following a rights-abusing policy and maintaining kwanliso, or gulag-like political prison camps, where over 200,000 prisoners are still captured and exposed to torture, near-starvation rations, executions, and forced labor.

His absence from the Olympic torch relay in Pyongyang and military parade to mark North Korea’s 60th anniversary in 2008 triggered rumors of his deteriorating health after suffering from a debilitating stroke.

Apparently, his three sons, brother-in-law and an army general, O Kuk-ryol, were contenders for the next North Korean leader. He, however, declared his youngest son, Kim Jong-un as the successor in 2009.

During 2010 and 2011, he made foreign trips to China and Russia with his heir apparent to strengthen his relations with both the countries.

Personal Life & Legacy

He married Kim Young-sook, and had a daughter Kim Sul-song with her in 1974.

Apart from his official wife, he was known to have kept three mistresses. These relationships produced four children – son Kim Jong-nam, son Kim Jong-chul, son Kim Jong-un, and daughter Kim Yo-jong.

He died on a train during a domestic trip outside Pyongyang, due to a heart attack on December 17, 2011. His body was displayed in a glass coffin at Kumsusan Memorial Palace from December 20-28 for an 11-day mourning period.

On December 28, 2011, a 40-km three-hour funeral procession was conducted for two-days, after which he was embalmed, covered with a flag of the Workers’ Party of Korea, and interred at Kumsusan Memorial Palace.

His birth date, February 16, is celebrated as the ‘Day of the Shining Star’ and declared as ‘the greatest auspicious holiday of the nation’.

Net Worth

Kim Jong-Il had a net worth of $4 billion.

Trivia

His fashion sense became a global phenomenon , especially his bouffant hairstyle and four-inch platform shoes which he wore to increase his height.

He is said to have composed six operas over a period of two years and was a die-hard movie buff, housing a collection of over 20,000 foreign films, including his favorites – ‘Rambo’, ‘Godzilla’ and ‘Friday the 13th’.

He was a great boozer, spending around $600,000 annually on Hennessy liquor, thus becoming its largest customer during early 1990s. He consumed cognac worth $700 per bottle in a country where the average annual income was $1000.

This North Korean leader displayed the ‘big six’ group of personality disorders – anti-social, paranoid, schizotypal, narcissistic, sadistic, and schizoid, which were exhibited by famous dictators Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.

In 1994, he picked up a golf club for the first time and shot a 38-under par round with 11 holes-in-one. Such was his exceptional performance that he retired from the sport thereafter.

// Famous Political Leaders

Kim Jong-il biography timelines

  • // 16th Feb 1941
    Kim Jong-il was born as Yuri Irsenovich Kim on February 16, 1941, in Vyatskoye village, near Khabarovsk, Soviet Union, to Kim II-sung and his first wife, Kim Jong-suk, while they were in exile during the Japanese invasion of Korea.
  • // 1945 To 1949
    At the end of World War II in 1945, the family returned to Pyongyang and settled in a former Japanese officer’s bungalow. Unfortunately, his mother died during childbirth in 1949, though reports state that she was shot dead.
  • // 1960
    He completed his schooling from Namsan Higher Middle School in 1960, after which he went to Kim II-sung University, majoring in Marxist political economy with philosophy and military science as minor subjects.
  • // 1961 To 1964
    In 1961, he entered politics by joining the Workers’ Party and after graduating in 1964, he rose to different ranks, becoming a member of Workers’ Party Central Committee to ensure smooth functioning of the party’s ideological system.
  • // 1974
    He married Kim Young-sook, and had a daughter Kim Sul-song with her in 1974.
  • // 1980
    During the Sixth Party Congress in 1980, he was appointed at senior positions in the Military Commission, the Politburo, and the Secretariat, thus holding control over all sectors of government.
  • // 1991 To 1993
    He was assigned the Supreme Command of the Korean People’s Army in 1991, despite having no military experience, and was made the Chairman of the National Defense Commission in 1993.
  • // 1994
    In 1994, he signed a framework with the United States to dismantle all nuclear weapons programs in exchange of receiving fuel oil and assistance in developing two power-generating nuclear reactors.
  • // 1994
    In 1994, he picked up a golf club for the first time and shot a 38-under par round with 11 holes-in-one. Such was his exceptional performance that he retired from the sport thereafter.
  • // 1998
    He was re-elected as the Chairman of the National Defense Commission and declared it as ‘the highest post of the state’ in 1998, while abolishing the president’s post and naming his father as ‘Eternal President’.
  • // 2003
    In 2003, when it came to light that North Korea was developing nuclear weapons, tensions between North Korea and United States increased, resulting in several multilateral negotiations, during 2003-05.
  • // 2006
    Even though the US insisted on eliminating all nuclear weapons programs, Kim Jong-il refused and confirmed that his country had already carried out a successful underground nuclear bomb test in 2006.
  • // 2008
    His absence from the Olympic torch relay in Pyongyang and military parade to mark North Korea’s 60th anniversary in 2008 triggered rumors of his deteriorating health after suffering from a debilitating stroke.
  • // 2009
    Apparently, his three sons, brother-in-law and an army general, O Kuk-ryol, were contenders for the next North Korean leader. He, however, declared his youngest son, Kim Jong-un as the successor in 2009.
  • // 2010 To 2011
    During 2010 and 2011, he made foreign trips to China and Russia with his heir apparent to strengthen his relations with both the countries.
  • // 17th Dec 2011
    He died on a train during a domestic trip outside Pyongyang, due to a heart attack on December 17, 2011. His body was displayed in a glass coffin at Kumsusan Memorial Palace from December 20-28 for an 11-day mourning period.
  • // 28th Dec 2011
    On December 28, 2011, a 40-km three-hour funeral procession was conducted for two-days, after which he was embalmed, covered with a flag of the Workers’ Party of Korea, and interred at Kumsusan Memorial Palace.

// Famous Leaders

Kim Jong-il's FAQ

  • What is Kim Jong-il birthday?

    Kim Jong-il was born at 1941-02-16

  • When was Kim Jong-il died?

    Kim Jong-il was died at 2011-12-17

  • Where was Kim Jong-il died?

    Kim Jong-il was died in Pyongyang

  • Which age was Kim Jong-il died?

    Kim Jong-il was died at age 70

  • Where is Kim Jong-il's birth place?

    Kim Jong-il was born in Vyatskoye, Khabarovsk Krai

  • What is Kim Jong-il nationalities?

    Kim Jong-il's nationalities is North Korean

  • What is Kim Jong-il nick names?

    Kim Jong-il's nickNames is Guiding Sun Ray, Leader, Shining Star of Paektu Mountain, Sun of the Communist Future, General, Great Leader, The Dear Leader

  • Who is Kim Jong-il spouses?

    Kim Jong-il's spouses is Kim Ok, Kim Young-sook, Ko Yong-hui, Song Hye-rim

  • Who is Kim Jong-il siblings?

    Kim Jong-il's siblings is Kim Kyong-Jin

  • Who is Kim Jong-il childrens?

    Kim Jong-il's childrens is Kim Jong-un, Kim Yo-jong

  • What was Kim Jong-il universities?

    Kim Jong-il studied at Kim Il-sung University, University of Malta, Mangyongdae Revolutionary School

  • What is Kim Jong-il's political ideology?

    Kim Jong-il's political ideology is Political party - Workers' Party of Korea

  • What is Kim Jong-il's religion?

    Kim Jong-il's religion is Atheism

  • How tall is Kim Jong-il?

    Kim Jong-il's height is 160

  • Who is Kim Jong-il's father?

    Kim Jong-il's father is Kim Il-sung

  • Who is Kim Jong-il's mother?

    Kim Jong-il's mother is Kim Jong-suk

  • What is Kim Jong-il's sun sign?

    Kim Jong-il is Aquarius

  • How famous is Kim Jong-il?

    Kim Jong-il is famouse as Former Supreme Leader of North Korea