Kim Jong Woon and the Mangyongdae Lineage

[imText1]Shenyang, China — A source from North Pyongan Province has informed the Daily NK that the latest part of Kim Jong Woon’s heritage to be emphasized by state propaganda is his lineage, from the Mangyongdae family and the so-called “Baekdu” bloodline. Previously, his supposed achievements have been discussed, but his family background has been kept in the shadows.

However, the source said in a phone conversation with the Daily NK on the 1st, “In a meeting of the North Pyongan Provincial Committee of the Party, provincial officials discussed remodeling a hall for Kim Jong Woon beside the existing hall, which focuses on Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il’s historic achievements. The fact that Jong Woon is from the next generation of the ‘Mangyongdae’ line was discussed.”

The source relayed, “I met with several officials after the meeting, and they all said without hesitation that Captain Kim Jong Woon is the son of the General (Kim Jong Il).”

North Koreans consider Mt. Baekdu, on the border between North Korea and China, to be a revolutionary, sacred place. Kim Il Sung is said to have carried out his anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle with Mt. Baekdu as the base of his operations, while it is also claimed by official propaganda that Kim Jong Il was born on the mountain and successfully underwent severe revolutionary trial there. Of the few official murals of Kim Jong Il, Mt. Baekdu is invariably in the background.

Until now, the North Korean authorities have been calling Kim Jong Woon the “Youth Captain” and the “Morning Star General,” emphasizing the fact that he is an “unusual prodigy” and an “excellent military strategist.”

However, while trying to promote Kim Jong Woon as the new leader in this manner, the fact that he is Kim Jong Il’s son–in other words, that he is a part of the Mangyongdae lineage–has not been directly discussed.

There are some indirect instances, though. For example, in the song “Footsteps,” which idolizes Kim Jong Woon, and in the recent current of idolization for Kim Il Sung’s anti-Japanese revolutionary battles, it has been intimated that Kim Jong Woon is a descendent of the Kim Il Sung family line.

In the third line of the song, the following lyric can be found: “Our Captain Kim’s gallant step, succeeding the great achievements of February” (February is the month of Kim Jong Il’s birth). Further, official propaganda material suggesting that the appearance of Kim Jong Woon is virtually identical to that of Kim Il Sung during his anti-Japanese military commander battle period has apparently been put forward.

However, the source stated, “Now cadres of the provincial committees of the Party have even been saying that Kim Jong Woon’s birthplace is Mt. Baekdu! They have been saying that Captain Kim Jong Woon was born in Kim Jong Il’s villa in Samjiyeon (at the foot of the mountain).”

However, he expressed his doubts, “Kim Jong Il generally lives in Pyongyang, so it does not make any sense that his wife would go all the way up to Mt. Baekdu to have Jong Woon when there are good hospitals in the city. The North seems to be trying to intentionally emphasize the Mt. Baekdu revolutionary tradition, but who would believe such a thing?!”

It is not clear whether this is the official position of the North Korean authorities or an independent action by officials in the countryside. No matter, it is unequivocally clear that stressing Kim Jong Woon’s birthplace as Mt. Baekdu is an attempt to vouch for his ‘Mangyongdae’ lineage and status as the successor to the Baekdu bloodline.

If North Korea is emphasizing the point that Kim Jong Woon is the successor to the Mangyongdae lineage and a new leader, the idolization project to make the third-generation successions system more legitimate must be seriously underway. It is highly likely, then, that propaganda projects idolizing Jong Woon will begin in Yangkang Province, where Mt. Baekdu and Samjiyeon can be found.