Kim Jong Eun's First Public Address- Imitation of Kim Il Sung
On April 15th, 2012, at 10:40 a.m, the first public speech of Kim Jong Eun- the First Secretary of the Korean Workers’ Party and leader of the North Korean regime, was delivered from Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang. The speech was delivered at a military parade celebrating Kim Il Sung’s 100th birthday. While there was some hope that the speech would mark a turning point for the Kim dynasty, the speech was widely thought to be merely ‘mimicking Kim Il Sung.’
When asked their opinion of Kim Jong Eun’s first public speech by a reporter of Open Radio for North Korea, a source from Hamkyung Province stated “It was a fictional play to mock and fool the people.” Some people may be surprised by the similarity between Kim Jong Eun and Kim Il Sung; Jong Eun has a similar voice, body language, and appearance as his grandfather. However most people inside North Korea are very cynical of this attempt at parroting the grandfather.
The source reported that after watching the parade and speech by Kim people “thought it was ridiculous for this young guy to mimic the old man’s voice. His hair cut was exactly the same as his grandfather’s as well. I even feel a little sorry for him in his attempt to imitate his grandfather.”
Kim Jong Eun has reportedly had plastic surgery six times over the past three years in an attempt to resemble Kim Il Sung.
Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il had widely different approaches to public speaking. Kim Il Sung’s first speech as leader of North Korea was on October 14th, 1945 after his return from the U.S.S.R. The lengthy speech was delivered at Pyongyang Public stadium. During his lifetime, Kim Il Sung continued to give public speeches, and clearly enjoyed the task.
On the other hand, Kim Jong Il- who did not enjoy public speaking- only gave a short public address when he first took power at the Founding Day of the People’s Army in 1992. It was one sentence long.
Kim Jong Eun’s gave a speech of over 20 minutes in length. The speech was somewhat awkward at times, as if being read directly from a page. Kim Il Sung had the same style, or lack thereof, of public speaking during his first few years as a leader as well. However, he continued to personally give his New Year’s statement to the people of North Korea because of his fondness of public speaking.
Bae Myong Jin, a professor at the Institute of Sound Engineering at Sungsil Univerisity, said, “When we listen to Kim Jong Eun’s address, we may think he sounds weak or feeble. However, this is a result of dedicated training to sound like Kim Il Sung. In terms of sound engineering, his voice is over 90% consistent with Kim Il Sung’s voice.” After analyzing the voices of all three Kims, Bae concluded, “Kim Jong Il avoided public speeches because his tone of voice was aggressive and harsh. On the other hand, Kim Il Sung’s voice was calm but firm enough to express his charisma and leadership through the address. This is a trait that Kim Jong Eun tries to imitate.”
However, according to sources, many North Koreans consider Kim Jong Eun to be a political puppet of the elites left over from Kim Il Sung’s old guard. A source said of the high-ranking officials who wore the white military uniforms at the event: “Many people think it was an attempt by the elders to gain support and power.” The white uniforms were often worn by Kim Il Sung at official events..
The Daily NK reported that a former North Korean military officer stated “People can clearly see Kim Jong Eun wants their loyalty, as he continues to mimick Kim Il Sung.“ He went on, “North Koreans may have some hope for Kim Jong Eun, but if there is no change from the regime, that hope will quickly disappear.”