Tags: North Korea | kim jong un | kim jong chol | book | pampered | childhood | military genius

'Little Prince' Kim's Childhood Chronicled in New Book

a young kim jong un waves to the people of north korea during a rare public appearance
Kim Jong Un (Wong Maye-E/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 06 June 2019 06:50 PM

Kim Jong Un grew up in a world where everything revolved around him and life was pure luxury – and where the legend began of him as "a military genius who was destined to be leader," a new book about his weird and lonely young life says.

"The Great Successor: The Divinely Perfect Destiny of Brilliant Comrade Kim Jong Un," written by The Washington Post's Beijing bureau chief, Anna Fifield, and excerpted in the news outlet Thursday, reveals tidbits about the North Korean leader's cloistered and pampered early years.

For example, Fifield writes both Jong Un and his older brother, Jong Chol, were dressed up in child-sized military uniforms – olive green suits with gold buttons and red piping, moon-shaped hats and gold stars on their shoulders.

"They were little generals" and referred to as "little princes," she wrote.

Here are some of the other perks of North Korean privilege:

  • Playrooms were filled with "more toys than any European toy store – mountains of Lego and Playmobil; boxes of jigsaw puzzles, more than they could ever get through; and plastic pistols with surprisingly realistic bullets."

  • Jong Un had "every kind of four-wheeled toy imaginable" but also "a real vehicle and a real gun." His father, Kim Jong Il, had a specially modified vehicle made for his son so he could drive it at 7. The little prince also packed a Colt .45 pistol to his hip when he was 11.

  • Jong Un's well-documented passion for basketball began as a boy — when other kids were brought in just to play with him and his brother.

  • When he was 8, Jong Un's party was attended by high-level officials rather than children, and he was dressed in a black suit and a bow tie and was presented with bouquets of flowers — a point after which "even high-ranking officials bowed and deferred to" him.

  • As a boy, he was "mad about all sorts of machinery, model planes, and toy ships in particular," and would "stay up all night doing experiments with his machinery . . . insisting on speaking to some expert or other even in the wee hours of the morning if he couldn't figure things out by himself."

  • In 2010, he told a military official who asked his advice about a new model of gun that he had "formed a close attachment with planes and warships" as a child — even made a runway in the backyard. The anecdote, Fifield wrote, "became a crucial part of his legitimacy myth. It wasn't a story about a boy and his toys. It was incontrovertible proof that the little boy was a military genius who was destined to be leader."

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A new book about his weird and lonely young life says Kim Jong Un grew up in a world where everything revolved around him and life was pure luxury, and where the legend began of him as "a military genius who was destined to be leader.'
kim jong un, kim jong chol, book, pampered, childhood, military genius
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2019-50-06
Thursday, 06 June 2019 06:50 PM
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