North Korea has made a state request to officials in China, pleading for them to stop referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as fat.
Nicknames popular in China for the North Korean dictator include “Kim Fatty III,” “Kim Fat Fatty” and the somewhat less juvenile “Kim Abundant III,” reports The Sun.
The North Korean government is reportedly calling on Chinese officials to take action on the matter, fearing Kim will take revenge, according to the Apple Daily of Hong Kong.
The cult of personality surrounding the North Korean leader can be understood in a historical context.
Bruce Cumings, the leading American scholar on the subject, provides a useful summary in The Montreal Review: “The North Korean people have known only millennia of monarchy and a century of dictatorship -- Japanese from 1910 to 1945, where in the late stages of colonial rule Koreans had to worship the [Japanese] Emperor, and then the hegemony of the Kim family for the past sixty-six years.”
Writing in The New York Review of Books, Andrew J. Nathan explains the official ideology of the North Korean regime is “Kimilsungism,” named after founder of the North Korean Communist state, Kim Il Sung, who ruled from 1948 until his death in 1994.
“He was the founding father,” officially decreed as the “Greatest Man in the Five Thousand Years of Korean History,” writes Andrei Lankov in his book, “The Real North Korea.”
His successors, son Kim Jong Il and grandson Kim Jong Un, inherited the mythological powers Kimilsungism, and it is state policy that the “dear leader” be worshipped at all times.
So even if Kim has gotten fat by indulging in Swiss cheese, whiskey and scallops as reported, making fun of his weight is a criminal offense in the reclusive country that is North Korea.