In North Korea, April 15, the “Day of the Sun,” is the birth date of founder Kim Il-sung, which means “to realize the sun.” It is the most important day of the year and is celebrated with parades and missiles.
Kim was a bushfighter against the Japanese at the beginning of the 20th century. After WWII, Russia took over the northern half of Korea and the U.S. oversaw the southern part. Soviet Joseph Stalin appointed Kim the dictator of North Korea.
According to “The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot,” by Blaine Harden, Kim looked like a young Chinese waiter. He was 33 years old and required a Soviet sponsored propaganda campaign for the people to follow. Thus, the personality cult of North Korea was born.
The country did well under the Communist leader for 30 years. Kim solidified relationships with like-minded countries. He passed his leadership down to his son Kim Jong Il, father of the current North Korean dictator.
Admiration Cultivates Personality Cult
- Even now, portraits of Kim can be seen throughout North Korea: government buildings, factories, train stations, homes, street corners, and mountainsides.
- He is the primary focus of books, movies, and music produced by the country.
- To receive the best education, students apply to Kim Il-sung University.
- The doctrine followed by the country is called Kimilsungism.
- North Korea’s highest honor, awarded to those who exhibited “extreme heroic exploits during war,” is the Order of Kim Il-sung.
- The center of many cities, including Pyongyang, is named Kim Il-sung Square.
- Citizens are required to wear a badge over their hearts, demonstrating their loyalty to Kim.
- The nation’s flower is a violet orchid hybrid named Kimilsungia.
- Official slogan of the people — “Kim Il-sung will live with us forever!”
- Kim was laid to rest inside the marble mausoleum, Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, in Pyongyang. Visitors must cover their shoes, in his honor.
- The North Korean calendar begins the year Kim was born, “Juche 1.” Juche means “self-reliance.” This year, 2017, is Juche 106.
Citizens are unified and sacred under the personality cult, and successors of the fatherly leader have continued the regime. Opposition is not tolerated. Citizens of North Korea do not speak negatively about their leaders. The people are conditioned by fear, influence, and isolation.
Day of the Sun Celebration 2017
The Day of the Sun is celebrated with parades featuring the military and the most recent arsenal display, including live missile demonstrations.
We saw a submarine launch ballistic missiles, we saw missiles that are capable of being launched from a mobile launcher and just seconds before we came on the air we saw these very large what are believed to be intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Soldiers chanted to their leader, “We will die for you!” The North Korean flag was drawn in the sky by jets that flew overhead. Dancers performed choreographed routines in costume. Children entertained audiences at the Children’s Cultural Palace, and several more displays of national pride took place across North Korea.
Joseph Bermudez with 38 North, stated satellite images showed citizens moving by the hundreds, preparing for the celebration. Since Monday, members of the Korean People’s Army have filled Kumsusan Palace of the Sun to honor three generations of leadership and pledge their loyalty.
Parades and Missiles
After the parades and celebration, Kim Jong Un followed through with his promise to attempt a missile launch. There is a growing concern North Korea could test nuclear weapons at any time. Kim claims to have developed a nuclear device that can be mounted on a missile, although military experts have disputed the likelihood, there are reports of an underground.
During the parades, a senior member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Choe Ryong Hae, stated:
If the U.S. does any reckless provocation, we will immediately apply a destructive strike with our revolutionary power. We’re prepared to respond to an all-out war with an all-out war and we are ready to hit back with nuclear attacks of our own style against any nuclear attacks.
It was announced in January; North Korea was close to the testing phase with intercontinental ballistic missiles.
By Jeanette Smith
The Washington Post: Why is April 15 such a big deal in North Korea?
NK News: Behind the evolution of North Korea’s leadership loyalty badges
CNN: North Korea puts on a show for Day of the Sun
BBC: North Korea military parade combines missiles and pom-poms
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