From birth, Kim Jong-il was surrounded by people who believed him to be a god among mortals, and the claim that his birth changed winter into spring, prompted stars to illuminate and caused a double rainbow to appear certainly did not help to quell his narcissistic traits. This superhuman persona was further encouraged when it was announced that the young child was walking and talking before he was six months old.
When Kim Jong-il came into power he further encouraged this cult of personality, which dwarfed others that had existed before, such as Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao. He ordered all schools to build a room specifically dedicated for lectures concerning him, known as the Kim Jong-il Research Institute. All these rooms included a model of his birthplace, and approximately 40,000 of these were built across the country. It was also reported that he was a worldwide fashion icon, setting trends that were being adopted across the globe. The idol worship increased to a point that the common North Korean people were led to believe that he did not urinate or defecate, and also had the ability to change the weather at will.
Kim’s narcissism persisted even outside the public eye; he insisted that he was a connoisseur of fine wine and cigars, as well as an ingenious inventor. One of his alleged achievements was shooting 38 under par at his very first golf game. The thousands of constructions Kim ordered to be built in his and his family’s honour were blamed for the economic collapses the country suffered in the 1980s. Even after death his narcissist tendencies survive, and every North Korean house is ordered to display his picture on a wall and are supplied with special cloths to clean the frames every day. Adults are also required to wear a pin that features his image over their heart.
Want to find out more about history’s biggest names? Subscribe to All About History today.