|Birth Day:||April 15, 1912|
|Death Date:||Jul 8, 1994 (age 82)|
|Birth Place:||Mangyongdae, North Korea|
|#6||Kim Kyong- hui||Daughter||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#8||Kim Jong-suk||Former spouse||$1 Million - $2 Million (Approx.)||N/A||29||Celebrity Family Member|
|#10||Kim Yo-jong||Granddaughter||$5 Million - $10 Million (Approx.)||N/A||33||Politician|
|#12||Kim Jong- nam||Grandson||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#13||Kim Jong-un||Grandson||$5 Billion||N/A||37||World Leader|
|#14||Kim Han-sol||Great-grandson||$1 Million - $2 Million (Approx.)||N/A||25||Celebrity Family Member|
|#16||Kim Jong-il||Son||$4 Billion||N/A||70||World Leader|
As per our current Database, Kim Il-Sung died on Jul 8, 1994 (age 82).
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
He began his political involvement by joining the Communist Party of China in 1931.
According to Kim, his family was not very poor, but was always a step away from poverty. Kim said that he was raised in a Presbyterian family, that his maternal grandfather was a Protestant minister, that his father had gone to a missionary school and was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, and that his parents were very active in the religious community. According to the official version, Kim's family participated in anti-Japanese activities and in 1920, they fled to Manchuria. Like most Korean families, they resented the Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula, which began on 29 August 1910. Another view seems to be that his family settled in Manchuria, as many Koreans had at the time, to escape famine. Nonetheless, Kim's parents, especially Kim's mother Kang Ban Suk, played a role in the anti-Japanese struggle that was sweeping the peninsula. Their exact involvement—whether their cause was missionary, nationalist, or both—is unclear nevertheless. Still, Japanese repression of opposition was brutal, resulting in the arrest and detention of more than 52,000 Korean citizens in 1912 alone. This repression forced many Korean families to flee Korea and settle in Manchuria.
In October 1926, Kim founded the Down-with-Imperialism Union. Kim attended Whasung Military Academy in 1926, but finding the academy's training methods outdated, he quit in 1927. From that time, he attended Yuwen Middle School in China's Jilin province up to 1930, where he rejected the feudal traditions of older-generation Koreans and became interested in communist ideologies; his formal education ended when the police arrested and jailed him for his subversive activities. At seventeen, Kim had become the youngest member of an underground Marxist organization with fewer than twenty members, led by Hŏ So, who belonged to the South Manchurian Communist Youth Association. The police discovered the group three weeks after it formed in 1929, and jailed Kim for several months.
In 1931, Kim joined the Communist Party of China—the Communist Party of Korea had been founded in 1925, but had been thrown out of the Comintern in the early 1930s for being too nationalist. He joined various anti-Japanese guerrilla groups in northern China. Feelings against the Japanese ran high in Manchuria, but as of May 1930 the Japanese had not yet occupied Manchuria. On 30 May 1930, a spontaneous violent uprising in eastern Manchuria arose in which peasants attacked some local villages in the name of resisting "Japanese aggression." The authorities easily suppressed this unplanned, reckless and unfocused uprising. Because of the attack, the Japanese began to plan an occupation of Manchuria. In a speech before a meeting of Young Communist League delegates on 20 May 1931 in Yenchi County in Manchuria, Kim warned the delegates against such unplanned uprisings as the 30 May 1930 uprising in eastern Manchuria.
Four months later, on 18 September 1931, the "Mukden Incident" occurred, in which a relatively weak dynamite explosive charge went off near a Japanese railroad in the town of Mukden in Manchuria. Although no damage occurred, the Japanese used the incident as an excuse to send armed forces into Manchuria and to appoint a puppet government. In 1935, Kim became a member of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army, a guerrilla group led by the Communist Party of China. Kim was appointed the same year to serve as political commissar for the 3rd detachment of the second division, consisting of around 160 soldiers. Here Kim met the man who would become his mentor as a communist, Wei Zhengmin, Kim's immediate superior officer, who served at the time as chairman of the Political Committee of the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army. Wei reported directly to Kang Sheng, a high-ranking party member close to Mao Zedong in Yan'an, until Wei's death on 8 March 1941.
In 1935, Kim took the name Kim Il-sung, meaning "Kim become the sun". Kim was appointed commander of the 6th division in 1937, at the age of 24, controlling a few hundred men in a group that came to be known as "Kim Il-sung's division". While commanding this division, he executed a raid on Poch’onbo, on 4 June 1937. Although Kim's division only captured the small Japanese-held town just within the Korean border for a few hours, it was nonetheless considered a military success at this time, when the guerrilla units had experienced difficulty in capturing any enemy territory. This accomplishment would grant Kim some measure of fame among Chinese guerrillas, and North Korean biographies would later exploit it as a great victory for Korea. For their part, the Japanese regarded Kim as one of the most effective and popular Korean guerrilla leaders. He appeared on Japanese wanted lists as the "Tiger". The Japanese "Maeda Unit" was sent to hunt him in February 1940. Later in 1940, the Japanese kidnapped a woman named Kim Hye-sun, believed to have been Kim Il Sung's first wife. After using her as a hostage to try to convince the Korean guerrillas to surrender, she was killed. Kim was appointed commander of the 2nd operational region for the 1st Army, but by the end of 1940 he was the only 1st Army leader still alive. Pursued by Japanese troops, Kim and what remained of his army escaped by crossing the Amur River into the Soviet Union. Kim was sent to a camp at Vyatskoye near Khabarovsk, where the Soviets retrained the Korean communist guerrillas. In August 1942, Kim and his army were assigned to a special unit which belong to the Soviet Red Army. Kim's immediate superior was Zhou Baozhong. Kim became a Major in the Soviet Red Army and served in it until the end of World War II in 1945.
The Soviet Union declared war on Japan on 8 August 1945, and the Red Army entered Pyongyang on 24 August 1945. Stalin had instructed Lavrentiy Beria to recommend a communist leader for the Soviet-occupied territories and Beria met Kim several times before recommending him to Stalin.
Kim arrived in the Korean port of Wonsan on 19 September 1945 after 26 years in exile. According to Leonid Vassin, an officer with the Soviet MVD, Kim was essentially "created from zero". For one, his Korean was marginal at best; he only had eight years of formal education, all of it in Chinese. He needed considerable coaching to read a speech (which the MVD prepared for him) at a Communist Party congress three days after he arrived.
In December 1945, the Soviets installed Kim as chairman of the North Korean branch of the Korean Communist Party. Originally, the Soviets preferred Cho Man-sik to lead a popular front government, but Cho refused to support a UN-backed trusteeship and clashed with Kim. General Terentii Shtykov, who led the Soviet occupation of northern Korea, supported Kim over Pak Hon-yong to lead the Provisional People's Committee for North Korea on 8 February 1946. As chairman of the committee, Kim was "the top Korean administrative leader in the North," though he was still de facto subordinate to General Shtykov until the Chinese intervention in the Korean War.
In February 1946, Kim Il-sung decided to introduce a number of reforms. Over 50% of the arable land was redistributed, an 8-hour work day was proclaimed and all heavy industry was to be nationalized. There were improvements in the health of the population after he nationalized healthcare and made it available to all citizens.
Kim Il-sung married twice. His first wife, Kim Jong Suk (1917–1949), gave birth to two sons before her death in childbirth during the delivery of a stillborn girl. Kim Jong-il was his oldest son. The other son (Kim Man-il, or Shaura Kim) of this marriage died in 1947 in a swimming accident. Kim married Kim Song-ae (1924–2014) in 1952, and it is believed that he had three children with her: Kim Yŏng-il (not to be confused with the former Premier of North Korea with the same name), Kim Kyŏng-il, and Kim Pyong-il. Kim Pyong-il was prominent in Korean politics until he became ambassador to Hungary. In 2015, Kim Pyong-il became ambassador to the Czech Republic, but officially retired in 2019 and resides once again in North Korea. Kim was reported to have had other children with women who he was not married to. They included Kim Hyŏn-nam (born 1972, head of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers' Party since 2002).
Despite United Nations plans to conduct all-Korean elections, the Soviets held elections of their own in their zone on 25 August 1948 for a Supreme People's Assembly. Voters were presented with a single list from the Communist-dominated Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea was proclaimed on 9 September 1948, with Kim as the Soviet-designated premier. On 15 August 1948, the south had declared statehood as the Republic of Korea. The Communist Party was nominally led by Kim Tu-bong, though from the outset Kim Il-sung held the real power.
On 12 October, the Soviet Union recognized Kim's government as the sovereign government of the entire peninsula, including the south. The Communist Party merged with the New People's Party of Korea to form the Workers' Party of North Korea, with Kim as vice-chairman. In 1949, the Workers' Party of North Korea merged with its southern counterpart to become the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) with Kim as party chairman. By 1949, Kim and the communists had consolidated their rule in North Korea. Around this time, Kim began promoting an intense personality cult. The first of many statues of him appeared, and he began calling himself "Great Leader".
To solidify his control, Kim established the Korean People's Army (KPA), aligned with the Communist Party, and he recruited a cadre of guerrillas and former soldiers who had gained combat experience in battles against the Japanese and later against Nationalist Chinese troops. Using Soviet advisers and equipment, Kim constructed a large army skilled in infiltration tactics and guerrilla warfare. Prior to Kim's invasion of the South in 1950, which triggered the Korean War, Stalin equipped the KPA with modern, Soviet-built medium tanks, trucks, artillery, and small arms. Kim also formed an air force, equipped at first with Soviet-built propeller-driven fighters and attack aircraft. Later, North Korean pilot candidates were sent to the Soviet Union and China to train in MiG-15 jet aircraft at secret bases.
China acquiesced only reluctantly to the idea of Korean reunification after being told by Kim that Stalin had approved the action. The Chinese did not provide North Korea with direct military support (other than logistics channels) until United Nations troops, largely US forces, had nearly reached the Yalu River late in 1950. At the outset of the war in June and July, North Korean forces captured Seoul and occupied most of the South, save for a small section of territory in the southeast region of the South that was called the Pusan Perimeter. But in September, the North Koreans were driven back by the US-led counterattack that started with the UN landing in Incheon, followed by a combined South Korean-US-UN offensive from the Pusan Perimeter. By October, UN forces had retaken Seoul and invaded the North to reunify the country under the South. On 19 October, US and South Korean troops captured P’yŏngyang, forcing Kim and his government to flee north, first to Sinuiju and eventually into Kanggye.
On 25 October 1950, after sending various warnings of their intent to intervene if UN forces did not halt their advance, Chinese troops in the thousands crossed the Yalu River and entered the war as allies of the KPA. There were nevertheless tensions between Kim and the Chinese government. Kim had been warned of the likelihood of an amphibious landing at Incheon, which was ignored. There was also a sense that the North Koreans had paid little in war compared to the Chinese who had fought for their country for decades against foes with better technology. The UN troops were forced to withdraw and Chinese troops retook P’yŏngyang in December and Seoul in January 1951. In March, UN forces began a new offensive, retaking Seoul and advanced north once again halting at a point just north of the 38th Parallel. After a series of offensives and counter-offensives by both sides, followed by a grueling period of largely static trench warfare that lasted from the summer of 1951 to July 1953, the front was stabilized along what eventually became the permanent "Armistice Line" of 27 July 1953. Over 2.5 million people died during the Korean war.
In the ensuing years, Kim established himself as an independent leader of international communism. In 1956, he joined Mao in the "anti-revisionist" camp, which did not accept Nikita Khrushchev's program of de-Stalinization, yet he did not become a Maoist himself. At the same time, he consolidated his power over the Korean communist movement. Rival leaders were eliminated. Pak Hon-yong, leader of the Korean Communist Party, was purged and executed in 1955. Choe Chang-ik appears to have been purged as well. The 1955 Juche speech, which stressed Korean independence, debuted in the context of Kim's power struggle against leaders such as Pak, who had Soviet backing. This was little noticed at the time until state media started talking about it in 1963.
During the 1956 August Faction Incident, Kim Il-sung successfully resisted Soviet and Chinese efforts to depose him in favor of pro-Soviet Koreans or Koreans who belonged to the pro-Chinese Yan'an faction. The last Chinese troops withdrew from the country in October 1958, which is the consensus as the latest date when North Korea became effectively independent, though some scholars believe that the 1956 August incident demonstrated North Korea's independence.
Despite his opposition to de-Stalinization, Kim never officially severed relations with the Soviet Union, and he did not take part in the Sino-Soviet Split. After Khrushchev was replaced by Leonid Brezhnev in 1964, Kim's relations with the Soviet Union became closer. At the same time, Kim was increasingly alienated by Mao's unstable style of leadership, especially during the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s. Kim in turn was denounced by Mao's Red Guards. At the same time, Kim reinstated relations with most of Eastern Europe's communist countries, primarily with Erich Honecker's East Germany and Nicolae Ceauşescu's Romania. Ceauşescu, in particular, was heavily influenced by Kim's ideology, and the personality cult which grew around him in Romania was very similar to that of Kim.
The North Korean government's practice of abducting foreign nationals, such as South Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, Thais, and Romanians, is another practice of Kim Il-Sung which persists to the present day. Kim Il-Sung planned these operations to seize persons who could be used to support North Korea's overseas intelligence operations, or those who had technical skills to maintain the socialist state's economic infrastructure in farms, construction, hospitals, and heavy industry. According to the Korean War Abductees Family Union (KWAFU), those abducted by North Korea after the war included 2,919 civil servants, 1,613 police, 190 judicial officers and lawyers, and 424 medical practitioners. In the hijacking and seizure of Korean Airlines flight YS-11 in 1969 by North Korean agents, the pilots and mechanics, and others with specialized skills, were the only ones never permitted to return to South Korea. The total number of foreign abductees and disappeared is still unknown, but is estimated to include more than 200,000 people. The vast majority of disappearances occurred or were linked to the Korean War, but hundreds of South Koreans and Japanese people were abducted during the 1960s and 1980s. A number of South Koreans and nationals of the People's Republic of China have also been apparently abducted in the 2000s and 2010s. At least 100,000 people remain disappeared.
A new constitution was proclaimed in December 1972, which created an executive presidency. Kim gave up the premiership and was elected president. On 14 April 1975, North Korea discontinued most formal use of its traditional units and adopted the metric system. In 1980, he decided that his son Kim Jong-il would succeed him, and increasingly delegated the running of the government to him. The Kim family was supported by the army, due to Kim Il-sung's revolutionary record and the support of the veteran defense minister, O Chin-u. At the Sixth Party Congress in October 1980, Kim publicly designated his son as his successor. In 1986, a rumor spread that Kim had been assassinated, making the concern for Jong-il's ability to succeed his father actual. Kim dispelled the rumors, however, by making a series of public appearances. It has been argued, however, that the incident helped establish the order of succession—the first patrifilial in a communist state—which eventually would occur upon Kim Il-Sung's death in 1994.
According to official North Korean sources, Kim Il-sung was the original writer of many plays and operas. One of these, The Flower Girl, a revolutionary theatrical opera, was adapted into a locally produced feature film in 1972.
However, Albania's Enver Hoxha (another independent-minded communist leader) was a fierce enemy of the country and Kim Il-sung, writing in June 1977 that "genuine Marxist-Leninists" will understand that the "ideology which is guiding the Korean Workers' Party and the Communist Party of China...is revisionist" and later that month he added that "in Pyongyang, I believe that even Tito will be astonished at the proportions of the cult of his host [Kim Il Sung], which has reached a level unheard of anywhere else, either in past or present times, let alone in a country which calls itself socialist." He further claimed that "the leadership of the Communist Party of China has betrayed [the working people]. In Korea, too, we can say that the leadership of the Korean Workers' Party is wallowing in the same waters" and claimed that Kim Il Sung was begging for aid from other countries, especially among the Eastern Bloc and non-aligned countries like Yugoslavia. As a result, relations between North Korea and Albania would remain cold and tense right up until Hoxha's death in 1985. Although a resolute anti-communist, Zaire's Mobutu Sese Seko was also heavily influenced by Kim's style of rule. At the same time, Kim was establishing an extensive personality cult. Kim developed the policy and ideology of Juche in opposition to the idea of North Korea as a satellite state of China or the Soviet Union.
As he aged, starting in the 1970s, Kim developed a calcium deposit growth on the right side of the back of his neck. It was long believed that its close proximity to his brain and spinal cord made it inoperable. However, Juan Reynaldo Sanchez, a defected bodyguard for Fidel Castro who met Kim in 1986 wrote later that it was Kim's own paranoia that prevented it from being operated on. Because of its unappealing nature, North Korean reporters and photographers were required to photograph Kim while standing slightly to his left in order to hide the growth from official photographs and newsreels. Hiding the growth became increasingly difficult as the growth reached the size of a baseball by the late 1980s.
To ensure a full succession of leadership to his son and designated successor Kim Jong-il, Kim turned over his chairmanship of North Korea's National Defense Commission—the body mainly responsible for control of the armed forces as well as the supreme commandership of the country's now million-man strong military force, the Korean People's Army—to his son in 1991 and 1993. So far, the elder Kim—even though he is dead—has remained the country's president, the general-secretary of its ruling Workers' Party of Korea, and the chairman of the Party's Central Military Commission, the party's organization that has supreme supervision and authority over military matters.
In early 1994, Kim began investing in nuclear power to offset energy shortages brought on by economic problems. This was the first of many "nuclear crises". On 19 May 1994, Kim ordered spent fuel to be unloaded from the already disputed nuclear research facility in Yongbyon. Despite repeated chiding from Western nations, Kim continued to conduct nuclear research and carry on with the uranium enrichment program. In June 1994, former US president Jimmy Carter travelled to Pyongyang in an effort to persuade Kim to negotiate with the Clinton Administration over its nuclear program. To the astonishment of the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency, Kim agreed to halt his nuclear research program and seemed to be embarking upon a new opening to the West.
Kim Il-sung's death resulted in nationwide mourning and a ten-day mourning period was declared by Kim Jong-il. His funeral was on July 17, 1994 in Pyongyang and was attended by hundreds of thousands of people who were flown into the city from all over North Korea. Kim Il-sung's body was placed in a public mausoleum at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where his preserved and embalmed body lies under a glass coffin for viewing purposes. His head rests on a traditional Korean pillow and he is covered by the flag of the Workers' Party of Korea. Newsreel video of the funeral at Pyongyang was broadcast on several networks, and can now be found on various websites.
Kim Il-sung's image, especially his posthumous portrait released in 1994, is prominent in places associated with public transportation, which hangs at every North Korean train station and airport. It is also placed prominently at the border crossings between China and North Korea. Thousands of gifts to Kim Il-sung from foreign leaders are housed in the International Friendship Exhibition.
Currently, Kim Il-Sung is 110 years, 4 months and 3 days old. Kim Il-Sung will celebrate 111th birthday on a Saturday 15th of April 2023.
Find out about Kim Il-Sung birthday activities in timeline view here.