What is on the back of Kim Jong-il’s—no, Kim il-Sung’s—head?

UPDATE: [18 July 08] So…what is the attraction of this particular post? Hundreds and hundreds of people have come to my blog specifically to view this post. I find that entirely puzzling! Oh, and yes, as you’ll see below, I did find out shortly after posting that this was in fact Kim il-Sung, and not his wacko son as I’d first thought.

On the advice of Mr. Ms S. Weasel‘s comment on my recent North Korean videos post, I watched the video “Welcome to North Korea” and at about time marker 22:16 I noticed something like a gigantic lump on the back of Kim Jong-il’s Kim il-Sung’s head. Here’s a screenshot.

What is that, has it always been there? Alien implant? Tumor? Remote control package? Transdermal liquor pouch? I’m sure somebody out there knows the story behind this thing so please fill me in.

[UPDATE: No, it's not an alien implant, so they say. I found an article from 1993 in the International Herald Tribune that says, "Mr. Kim has long had a large, unsightly tumor on the back of his neck, but it appeared benign and caused no obvious distress." Shucks. Although I think I've seen more recent pictures of him without "mini-me" so maybe he's had an operation since this footage was taken.]

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10 Responses

  1. great story! linked here, and on Digg.
    regards, nuke

  2. thanks nuke, maybe I’ll get an answer.

  3. I noticed that too and thought, “has that always been there?” I’m not very observant, but I assumed it must’ve been. Then I convinced myself I remembered it.

    I don’t know, though. Creepy film, huh? All those empty museums and hotels and palaces…monuments to a madman.

  4. that is not a photo of Kim Jong-il. It is a photo of his father, former leader of North Korea, Kim Il-sung. The growth was a calcium deposit that usually results from childhood malnutrition and was harmless. It was located too close to the spinal chord so an operation would have been too risky. American reporters mistook it for a brain tumor and started all this talk about how it was making him insane and eating his brain. He died in 1994 of natural causes at the age of 82. Kim Jong-il has no growth as it is not hereditary. Glad to clear up the confusion.

  5. Why, you’re right! The documentary this picture came from gave the definite impression that this was Kim Jong-il. The entire context was surrounding Kim Jong-il. It didn’t occur to me to search for information about the elder Kim. Thanks for the info. It’s also interesting that I found an old IHT article saying it was Kim Jong-il. But searching on ol’ dad really brought out the references.

  6. “He died in 1994 of natural causes at the age of 82.”

    That is not true. He died of a heart attack and not natural causes.

    “It is a photo of his father, former leader of North Korea, Kim Il-sung.”

    Kim Il Sung is not the former leader, but is still considered the President. The DPRK constitution was changed in 1998 to make Kim Il Sung the so-called “Eternal President”. Kim Jong Il is the Chairman of the National Defense Commission which is designated as the most powerful position in North Korea. Apparently, the “Eternal President” title is to perpetrate the cult of personality.

  7. Hahaha I just found Jack’s remark fascinating -

    “He died of a heart attack and not natural causes. ”

    Is he implying that heart attacks are somehow unnatural, or is it simply that a single heart attack would be “a natural cause” rather than the plural “causes”.

    If a heart attack isn’t a natural way to die, what on earth is?

  8. In response to Jack

    Heart attack is considered a natural cause of death. Ask a doctor or look it up.

    Kim il sung is the former leader of North Korea. “Leader” meaning the individual who is running the country, occupying the most powerful position in the government, etc. If he maintains a title and has some form of recognition in the country still to this day then fine, but the fact is he is dead, he is not leading a peanut stand let alone the country, his son is.

  9. According to Wikipedia, the growth on Kim Il Sung’s neck is a calcium deposit. From Wikipedia: “As he aged, starting the late 1970s, Kim developed a growth on the back of his neck which was a calcium deposit. Its location near his brain and spinal cord made it inoperable.”


  10. I have good quality pictures of Kim Il Sung taken in 1956 and 1984. I cannot share them due to copyright issues though. The lump, although smaller, was clearly there in 1956 already, but by 1984 it had become huge..

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