SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Korea Bizwire) – January 8, 2018 marks the North Korean Fearless Leader’s 34th birthday, but the wishing of many happy returns appears to be happening only behind closed doors as all remains quiet on the Northern front.
In the pre-noon hours of the day, none of the various mouthpieces of the communist regime – the party’s official paper Rodong Sinmun, the Korean Central News Agency and Korean Central Television – had made any mention of Kim Jong-un’s birthday and the national event or holiday that such celebrations have traditionally entailed.
The only state-sponsored events currently being held are troop rallies in regions throughout the country, but these are believed to be purposed as a show of support for Kim’s New Year’s address.
Unlike his forebears, Kim’s birthday is not listed as a national holiday on the country’s calendar. His father Kim Jong-il and his grandfather and founder of the North Korean state Kim Il-sung both enshrined the day of their birth in North Korea’s national consciousness, declaring April 15 (Kim Jong-il) and February 16 (Kim Il-sung) as days of celebration.
Despite being seven years into his dictatorship, the fact that the third generation Kim has so far abstained from following his predecessors’ example might be the product of his relative youth – said to be born in 1984, making him 34. Closer to 30 than 40, many are of the opinion that he would see placing himself among the pantheon of his sires as premature.
As such, any mention of his birthday by the North Korean media is rare. It was only from the mouth of retired former basketball great Dennis Rodman, in his visit to North Korea in January 2014 that Kim’s birthday was publicly recognized. The Korean Central News Agency reported Rodman had arrived in North Korea “on our leader’s birthday”.
With efforts to build a cult of personality around Kim Jong-un underway, it is expected that January 8 will eventually attain national holiday status once the young leader gains stature.
Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)