Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Case of Kim Jong Il's Missing Portaits

This article shows the importance of perception in North Korea. Kim Jong Il is using something as minor as paintings of himself in order to directly affect foreign perception, as most of the removed portraits came from places frequented by foreign visitors. However, this move, coupled with the downplaying of the "dear leader" title, may show a softening Kim Jong Il. However, the actions taken by the dear leader, both in domestically and internationally, have not helped to support this softer view. Perception can't fix everthing.


comrade_tovarich said...

Sorry, this isn't a proper comment to your post, but I thought you guys might want to peruse this link about someone's trip to NK (I couldn't find it on your site, and the search engine for "Kansai Time Out" won't turn it up):

Kaitlin C. said...

While some missing paintings may suggest Kim's seeking a new image abroad, it really could mean a number of things. As the article points out, the paintings could be gtting cleaned, updated, or the mising paintings could be a test of loyalty. Kim's rule has been over a very troubled time in DPRK's history, and while he may be seeking to secure his rule through softening his image, he may also feel threatened, as the catastrophes in North Korea would signal to a good Confucian the end of a current dynasty, and he may be using the removal of the paintings as a way to figure out who is loyal, and who he can still trust, similar to a way he tested the loyalty of sme people in the 70s.