"North Korea is a mythically strange land, an Absurdistan, where almost nothing is known about the people or, more important, their missile-launching leaders. There is, however, one man—a humble sushi chef from Japan—who infiltrated the inner sanctum, becoming the Dear Leader's cook, confidant, and court jester.
What is life like serving Kim Jong-il and his heir? A strange and dangerous gig where the food and drink never stop, the girls are all virgins, and you're never really safe." (via @stevesilberman)
Former Great Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Il
was a noted cinephile
with a personal video library of over 20,000 movies. In 1970, he said "The motion picture industry, when dealing with the socialist reality, has not yet reached the standard set by our Party."
To help it reach the standard, the Dear Leader wrote a treatise On the Art of the Cinema
(PDF), took an interest in minute details of film production (as recounted by film stars
), revamped the Taedongmun Cinema House
, and kidnapped a director (previously 1
But did this lead to better movies?.... [more inside]
Visitors to, and other non-residents in, North Korea are now able to tweet and instagram, as mobile data services are gradually opened up
. (Probably) the first tweet sent in this way appeared earlier today
. [more inside]
(1926 - 2006) was a Korean movie writer, director and producer, who studied film in Japan and returned to South Korea, where he gained fame and became the uncontested leader of the film industry
in the 1960s, in a time when regulations on the industry limited other studios. In the 1970s under the Fourth Republic of South Korea
, the film industry was even further limited, which lead to Shin's studio being closed. Things went from bad to worse, when "the Orson Welles of South Korea" was kidnapped by request of Kim Jong Il
, the son of North Korea's dictator, Kim Il Sung. The reason? Kim Jong Il wanted the nation's film industry to promote the virtues of the Korea Workers' Party to a world-wide audience. After being imprisoned for four years, Shin was reunited with his ex-wife (who was also a captive of North Korea) and the given relative freedom, producing seven films in North Korea. While setting up a distribution deal to share Kim Jong Il's vision with a broader audience for a Godzilla-like monster movie, Shin and his wife escaped and sought political asylum in the United States. Their freedom was possible because of that last film for Kim, entitled Pulgasari
. But Shin's life in movies was not over yet. [more inside]
That's My Uncle Kim
"A song about everyone's favourite kooky, incorrigible uncle: Kim Jong-Il" (SLYT) (Previous
The Big Picture
displays recent photos released by the KCNA of Kim Jong-il
giving "on-the-spot" field guidance.
Happy birthday, Comrade Kim
Pepe Escobar's series in the Asia Times (parts 1
) reveals how everything we know about North Korea is wrong.
Bill Clinton makes secret trip to North Korea, wins pardon and apparent release of two captive US journalists.
Jailed reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee
, employees of Al Gore's Current TV
, were arrested for spying in March and had recently been sentenced to 12 years in a labor camp. The remarkable development is likely to boost to Clinton's battered image
. [more inside]
Kim Jong Il has reportedly chosen an heir to his throne.
And like a lot of stories involving North Korea, there's a mix of world-ending gloom and mad-cap hilarity. Meet the mysterious Kim Jong-un [more inside]
The beginning of the end for Dear Leader?
This Times (of London) report is filled with telling details.
North Korea Issues Wartime Guidelines
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea has ordered its citizens to be ready for a protracted war against the United States, issuing guidelines on evacuating to underground bunkers with weapons, food and portraits of leader Kim Jong Il
Rev. Moon's submarines, sold to Kim Jong-Il, empower a nuke threat to the West Coast
Comment from Atrios: "North Korea Has Dozen Subs
Could threaten us with sea-launched missiles. Where'd Dear Leader get them? It looks like he got them from the guy who writes the paychecks of BillGertz, Tony Blankley, Wes Pruden, Andrew Sullivan, Jonah Goldberg..."
Kim Jong Il (the illmatic)'s LiveJournal
3:39 am Dear diary. Bush still doesn’t ‘get it.’ I tried making my feelings clear but he’s too busy ignoring me, he is such a jerk. Everything in his life is just Saddam, Saddam, Saddam and I am sick of it.
On the plus side, I think my hair looked pretty good today. Also I went frolicking at Paektu Mountain and the rainbow came out again. After dinner some of my subjects sang me a song because I invented Outer Space.
abducted by North Korea in Japan for brief visit
After many years of denying accusations, North Korea finally came clean last month and admitted to
having kidnapped a number of Japanese civilians. Of the thirteen they admit to abducting, they say
only five are still alive, and these five have been allowed a visit to Japan this week. On a less
encouraging note, however, the five survivors were not allowed to bring their children or spouses and
arrived donning pins bearing an image of the Great Leader.
Is Kim Jong Il genuinely turning over a new leaf
, is this just another part of a heartless cash grab
scheme, or did the "axis of
evil" speech intimidate
into softening up for a moment?
"I am Kim Jong Nam."
This is funny. Maybe Disney will precipate the collapse of North Korea. Or a nuclear exchange.
If this little man
with the funny haircut has the courage to abandon the policies of his father, there is a chance within three years to witness one of the greatest triumphs of human spirit in recent memory.
'A Model of Loyalty and Filial Devotion. An Outstanding Statesman. Great Leader of the People and Theoretician. Outstanding Representative of Independent Politics.'
No. It's not me. It's Comrade Kim Il Jong - His Life and Mission
. Read the Commie bunk the Reds are pushing on their people.