[imText1]Symbols of idolatry still cover North Korean soil, even though it has been 14 years since the July 1994 death of Kim Il Sung.
The representative symbol of idolatry is the Kim Il Sung statue that was erected in front of the Museum of the Chosun (North Korea) Revolution on Mansuade Hill to commemorate the leader’s 60th birthday in April, 1972. . It stands 20 meters tall atop a 3 meter-tall foundation.
Such statues are located in 70 major cities throughout North Korea, including Pyongyang. In addition to statues, plaster busts in the likeness of Kim Il Sung number around 30,000, and historical propagandistic structures and monuments memorializing revolutionary activities of the Kim Il Sung family are estimated at around 140,000.
Emergency bunkers exist underground to provide shelter for these objects of idolatry in the case of a sudden outbreak of war.
When a statue is constructed by the Mansudae Art Institute, which exclusively produces all statues and likenesses of the Kim family, it is escorted to the site where it is erected, protected as if it were the living leader, and is presented with a military salute.
Idolatry in North Korea is such that it is second-nature for ordinary citizens to “rescue” portraits of Kim Il Sung before all else in the case of a house fire.
Construction on these types of emblems was accelerated in the 1970s when Kim Jong Il was declared successor to Kim Il Sung, and within 10 years time, they were positioned throughout the whole of North Korea.
On nation’s most significant holiday, the birthday of Kim Il Sung, Daily NK takes an in-depth look into the construction and adoration of Kim Il Sung statues.
From What Point were the Statues Erected?
Right after the foundation of the regime, on October 24, 1948, when the Mangyongdae Revolution Bereaved Childrens School (currently Mangyongdae Revolutionary School) in Kan-ri, Daedong, South Pyongan was moved to Mankyungdae in Pyongyang and reopened, the first Kim Il Sung statue was raised in the school. At that time, Kim Il Sung was 36 years old.
North Korean authorities relayed that Kim Jong Suk, Kim Il Sung’s wife, had suggested the statue be erected in Mangyongdae Revolutionary School. A second statue, in the image of Kim Il Sung dressed in a school uniform, was placed in Changjeon Elementary School in Pyongyang around 1949.
In the 1960s, statues began to be produced in large volume, following the purge of a faction that had threatened Kim Il Sung and his followers, at which time a unitary leadership was established. In the 1970s, when Kim Jong Il was acknowledged as successor, the idolatry activities for Kim Il Sung were expanded to all facets of North Korean society.
Where Were the Statues Erected?
Kim Il Sung statues were erected at the People’s Committee offices in each city or province and at historical revolutionary sites and former battlefields.
The most representative statue stands at Mansudae Hill, which became known to the world through news of the large crowds that gathered at its base following the death of Kim Il Sung in 1994. These days, it serves as a venue for national events and the site where the cadres of the Party, the administration, and the military pledge their allegiance to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. The North Korean authorities have foreign guests visit the statue to worship and offer flowers.
[imText2]At the central hall of Mt. Keumsoo Memorial Palace, where Kim Ils Sung’s body is enshrined, there is also a large statue.
The most recent statue stands in Kim Il Sung University of Politics. Erected in October, 1996, it boasts the uniform of the generalissimo. The statue located at the Chongsan Cooperative Farm in Nampo was erected in October of 1997, and another at Kim Jong Suk Military Academy was constructed in December, 1997. In September, 1998, in celebration of the 50 anniversary of the foundation of the North Korean regime, a Kim Il Sung statue was raised in the Kim Il Sung Military Academy under the direction of Kim Jong Il.
Statues were constructed and placed in Kaechoen Revolutionary Museum of South Pyongan Province and in the Ranam-district of Chongjin, North Hamkyung Province in April, 2002; and in Koosung, North Pyongan, as well as at Yoenpoong Middle School in Anjoo, South Pyongan in 2003.
On April 12, 2004, in commemoration of Kim Il Sung’s 92nd birthday, a statue in the likeness of Kim Il Sung mounted on a horse, binoculars in hand, was the first to be constructed depicting the leader on horseback.
Are there Kim Jong Il statues?
In contrast to the many Kim Il Sung’s statues, there stands only one Kim Jong Il statue. This is located in on the lawn of National Security Agency office building at the foot of Mt. Amee in Daesung district, Pyongyang. It was erected on Kim Jong Il’s 46th birthday in 1988 and is constructed not of bronze, but of gold.
In addition to the one standing statue of Kim Jong Il, all Colleague Kim Il Sung Revolutionary History Institutes, which are located in each major local office or agency, showcase plaster busts of the Kim son, and at the International Friendship Museum in Mt. Myohang, a large sitting statue was constructed.