North Korea’s Great Leader knew his cabbage

October 13, 2009

One of the primary aims of North Korea’s propaganda machine is to show its founder Kim Il-sung and current leader Kim Jong-il as all-knowing, parent-like (and at times god-like) figures who devote themselves entirely to bettering the lives of every citizen of the state.

Kim Il-sung, known as the “Great Leader” is also the eternal president of the state formed at the start of the Cold War. His son Kim Jong-il, who took over when his father died in 1994, is known as the “Dear Leader.”

The reality of course is quite different. While the Kim family basks in riches, North Koreans are some of the poorest people in North Asia, who are threatened with famine due to a lack of food in a state that several have criticised for having one of the world’s worst human rights records.

North Korea’s state media from time to time runs stories about events that had taken place several years ago, even decades sometimes, to reinforce the message that its leaders have shown great concern for all the people.

Here is a story that came out this week about a visit state founder Kim Il-sung made to a cabbage patch nearly three decades ago.

    Pyongyang, October 12 (KCNA) — President Kim Il-sung gave field
guidance to the Oryu Co-op Farm, Sadong District, Pyongyang one day in June
Juche 63 (1974).
    He went to a cabbage field where the cabbage grew well.
    He stepped into the field regardless of muddy ground with a bright smile on his face. Suddenly he stooped himself to see a head of cabbage carefully. T
hose accompanying him turned their doubtful eyes to the cabbage.
    Its leaves had only fine luster.
     After a while the President asked a farm official whether the cabbage had been hit by hailstones.
     At that moment the official was very surprised.
     Actually the cabbages had suffered a slight damage from hail when young.
    However, the cabbages were unusually in good condition so that it was difficult to find the marks of damage.
     The President found out instantly the marks that even the peasants and experts could hardly do.
     The officials were deeply moved by his extraordinary observation.

(Photo: North Koreans offer flowers to a statue of state founder Kim Il-sung to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the founding of the state, in Pyongyang September 9, 2009, in this picture released by North Korea’s official news agency KCNA.)

No comments so far

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see