N. Korea has imposed a ban on its citizens from using the name of its supreme leader, Kim Jong-Un.
The authoritarian measure aims to ensure that there is only one Kim Jong-Un in N. Korea. One Kim Jong-Un to rule them all.
The special directive, contained in a N. Korean internal state document, orders citizens using the name to change it, and bans anyone from naming their children after the leader.
Citizens who have already unwittingly breached the name ban have been ordered to alter all their official documents, including birth certificates, social security cards, and school diplomas.
The document states, “All party organs and public security authorities should make a list of residents with the banned name… and train them to voluntarily change their names.”
Additionally, all birth certificate applications for newborns containing the name of the N. Korean leader are to be rejected.
The edict also adds that, “Authorities should make sure that there is no one making unnecessary complaints or spreading gossip… regarding this project.”
The administrative order, dated January 2011, has only now been made public by South Korean TV Station, KBS TV, which aired extracts of it on Tuesday. The document was dated a year before Jong-Un came to power following his father’s death in December 2011.
Although the authenticity of the document cannot be independently verified, similar bans were imposed on the use of the names of N. Korea’s former leaders — Kim’s father, Kim Jong-Il, and his grandfather, Kim Il-Sung.
According to the Guardian, a Seoul government official said, “Given the North maintained the policy under the two previous leaders, there is a possibility that it would continue to do so now.”
Park Jin-Hee, the North Korean defector working for KBS who obtained the document, said she was certain the 2011 name ban had been effectively enforced.
“There is no one in the North named Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il, and there is no doubt the same rule applies for Jong-Un,” said Park who defected in 2008.
According to Charles Scanlon of em>BBC News, having the same name as the ruler was banned in the ancient dynasties of China and its neighbors.
The name ban does not make clear which methods are to be used to “train” citizens to “voluntarily change their names.” Perhaps with the N. Korea emphasis on simplicity, a simple red pen will do the trick.