It turns out that even the most ruthless communists in North Korea can be taken down by Mickey Mouse.
- Kim Jong-il had 3 sons: and the youngest, Kim Jong-un, is currently in power
- Korean customs dictate that the oldest inherit the throne
- Due to an incident involving Disneyland, the oldest brother was passed over
- Kim Jong-un has tried to kill his brother
Somewhere, Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of the reclusive nation of North Korea is plotting to kill his older brother, Kim Jong-nam (45). This has happened before, and could happen again, as the younger brother seems to try to eliminate all threats to his reign.
Who is Kim Jong-nam?
Kim Jong-nam is the first born son of the now deceased Supreme leader of North Korea, the infamous Kim Jong-il. His mother was one of Kim Jong-il’s mistresses, Song Hye-rim. This relationship was never officially recognized, and Song Hye-rim eventually died in exile in Moscow in 2002. Kim Jong-nam was the first son of the Supreme Leader, and as such, he would have been set to inherit the kingdom (according to Korean customs, which are talked about later). He was even named as the heir-apparent in 1998. However, a highly public incident led Kim Jong-il to decide to go with a different son, Kim Jong-un. This incident has to do with fake passports, Japan, and Mickey Mouse.
Mickey Mouse Politics
Verified news from the rogue nation of North Korea is hard to come by, but reports came from the Japanese government about this one. Apparently, Kim Jong-nam couldn’t help himself, and got a fake Dominican Republic passport. He was arrested in Narita International Airport in Tokyo for traveling using fake documents. It came out that he had tried to travel to Tokyo to visit Disneyland. Apparently the allure of Mickey Mouse is just too strong of an influence to keep the future leader of North Korea away. This incident was highly embarrassing for the country of North Korea, because of the fact that the future leader of their country couldn’t avoid the allure of Western culture. This led Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il to look elsewhere for his heir, and exile for the previously favored son.
Kim Jong-il then lead a smear campaign against Jong-nam’s mother, and used propaganda to declare that Ko Yong-hui was “The Respected Mother who is the Most Faithful and Loyal ‘Subject’ to the Dear Leader Comrade Supreme Commander.” This campaign effectively cut Jong-nam out of the family, paving the way for one of his younger half-brothers, Kim Jong-chul or Kim Jong-un, to inherit the throne.
Kim Jong-nam now has a strained relationship with his family and his country, as he has often criticized the regime and tried to get them to open up a bit and modernize. He was living a life of luxury in Macau, a Special Administrative Region in Southern China near Hong Kong, which is known as the Las Vegas of Asia. He fled Macau in 2012, when he was the target of an assassination attempt by his own brother, Kim Jong-un.
His family has also suffered since Jong-nam’s son, Kim Han-sol (21) was put under police protection in Paris, following the 2013 assassination of Kim Jong-un’s uncle.
Kim Jong-nam has consistently said that he has no desire to take power in North Korea. In an email to the editor of Tokyo Shimbun, Kim Jong-nam said, “After I went back to North Korea following my education in Switzerland, I grew further apart from my father because I insisted on reform and market-opening and was eventually viewed with suspicion.”
But given that he says he is not a threat, and he has never tried to take the throne, why would Kim Jong-un try to kill him?
The answer is simple and it lies in tradition. In Korean customs, the responsibility to carry on the family name lies with the first born son. He alone must care for everything, and he alone is responsible for continuing the family name. If the family owns a company, 100% of that ownership transfers to the first born son, who in this case should be Kim Jong-nam. This is the reason why Kim Jong-un tries to eliminate his older brother: he is a symbol of the illegitimacy of his reign. For all traditional purposes, Kim Jong-nam should inherit the throne, but he didn’t, and he has a genuinely legitimate claim for it.
It’s their own Game of Thrones: “You either win or you die,” and Kim Jong-un is playing the game for real.