Kim Jong Un, son of the late Kim Jong Il, has been dubbed the ‘Great Successor’ by North Korea’s ruling Worker’s Party following the death of his father on Sunday. Jong Un, estimated to be 27 or 28, has been groomed as North Korea’s next leader since September 2010.
North Korean state news agency KCNA described Jong Un as the “great successor to the revolutionary cause of Juche and outstanding leader of our party, army and people.” Grand, overblown titles are not new in North Korea – in his lifetime, Kim Jong Il had over 200 bestowed upon him. China has now also backed Kim Jong Un as the North’s next leader, while uncertainty grips the rest of Asia – South Korea and Japan’s militaries are said to be on full alert.
Barely anything is known about the Kim Jong Un, but we do know he was made a four-star general in 2010, the first step to establishing his hold on power. In May this year, he made a potentially crucial diplomatic visit to neighboring China.
One of the few non-North Koreans to have met Kim Jong Un is Kenji Fujimoto, sushi chef to Kim Jong Il from 1988 to 2001. In his 2003 memoir, I was Kim Jong Il’s Cook, he reflected briefly on a meeting with a teenage Kim Jong Un:
“[He] glared at me with a menacing look when we shook hands. I can never forget the look in his eyes which seemed to be saying, ‘This one is a despicable Japanese.'”
Fujimoto-san also describes Jong Un as a “chip off the old block” with a similarly quick temper to his father. Er, great to hear.
In more positive news, the picture above suggests the spirit of kimjongillookingatthings.com will live on with Jong Un. Hurray!