In North Korea, the country's leader, Kim II Sung, is the object of a personality cult that has reached almost religious proportions.
In North Korea, the country's leader, Kim II Sung, is the object of a personality cult that has reached almost religious proportions. he is now aged 67, and has been leader of the country of some 15 million people for the pat three decades -- during which time he has exerted rigid control to build a society that is virtually sealed off from outside influence.
SYNOPSIS: This 60 foot (18 metre) high statue of Kim II Sung overlooks the capital, Pyongrang. It was erected on his 60th birthday, and is flanked by memorials to the war against the Japanese --who for 35 years occupied the country until the end of World War Two, Books about the anti-Japanese struggle refer to Kim as the great revolutionary leader, the peerless patriot, national hero and ever-victorious, iron-willed brilliant commander. It is all part of a cult which has fashioned President Kim into a figurehead and established something like a theocracy in the country.
Throughout Pyongyang there are constant reminders of Kim's presence. Murals, paintings and statues of him are found everywhere; this one is in a railway station.
A short drive from Pyongyang, Koreans filed through what has become almost a shrine...President Kim's birthplace at Manyongdae. In those days it was a small farming community. Kim left here as a young man to organise the liberation struggles against the Japanese....and returned as leader of North Korea.
Inside the buildings, objects are carefully laid out. These are farming implements, said to have been used by Kim's parents.
The preserved village is visited by thousands of Koreans each day. Everything has a special significance or meaning...this is a picture of a place, overlooking the nearby River Pottongang, where, as a young boy Kim would sit and compose poetry.
Around the village there is an ornate park...built, officials say, as a tribute to Kim, by the people. The gardens and lakes are carefully laid out and tended by women gardeners. For the visitors, there is no apparent supervision; and no charge for admission. They arrive in groups and walks quietly and quickly around the area.
Part of the tour includes a visit to the Kim II Sung museum. Inside, a series of rooms containing photographs and paintings give the President's history, and the story of his family...most of who have been elevated to virtual sainthood...and who, according to the official history books, were themselves associated with the early revolutionary struggles against the Japanese.
To the outsider, the personality cult is overwhelming. So much so that, when asked what will happen when Kim dies, or who will succeed him, few Koreans seem willing to consider possibility.