[KS] The Kim Il Sung statue's updated appearance

Chris Springer springer at hiddenhistory.info
Fri Dec 28 08:16:35 EST 2012

Ruediger Frank raises an intriguing question. Why was the Kim
Il Sung statue recently given glasses, a smile, and a Western

It's just my interpretation, but I think these changes were made
necessary by the placement of Kim Jong Il's statue alongside
that of his father.

To bring this ensemble together, the images of father and son
both had to be from the same era. It wouldn't make sense to have
a 1970s Kim Il Sung next to a 1990s Kim Jong Il.

Kim Il Sung's official portrait has gone through at least four
variations since 1948. In the last one (used from the 1990s to
this day) he is shown as an elder statesman, with glasses, a
smile, and a Western suit.

(According to Andrei Lankov, Kim started wearing such a suit,
as opposed to a Mao jacket, in 1984.)

So now in the Mansudae Grand Monument, the two men are portrayed
together, sharing a smile, circa the 1990s, when both were at
the helm of state. And as a side benefit, Kim Il Sung's statue
now more closely reflects his most recent official portrait.

Chris Springer

More information about the Koreanstudies mailing list