Chilling: North Korea “Mourns” The Death Of Kim Jong-il

These videos from North Korean State Television that have been released since Kim Jong-il’s death was announced are, in a word, bizarre.

First up, here’s the official announcement from state television:

And here’s footage of North Koreans “overcome with grief” in Pyongyang:

It all looks remarkably similar to what we saw in 1994 when his father died, right down to the news reader herself:

One would like to think that this is all an act, but I don’t think it necessarily is. More likely, it’s a sad example of what happens to the human mind when it lives under abject tyranny.

FILED UNDER: Asia, World Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Andyman says:

    Is that the same newsreader in both clips? Admirable longevity.

  2. If there’s one benefit to this, it’s that in history, Asian rulers who forego the traditional right of succession (meaning, the firstborn takes leadership) tend to seal the fates of their legacies, as the victims of the policy – the forgotten firstborns – usually revolt. This dates back thousands of years.

  3. @Andyman:

    If its not her in both clips, there’s certainly a remarkable resemblance especially considering 17 years had passed

  4. Steve in CT says:

    I hardly think you want to be seen as deficient in the amount or quality of grief you express, but I’m sure that some of it is genuine. Maybe this betrays too much TV from my younger days, but who stands to gain by Kim’s death? Enquiring minds want to know . . .

  5. @Steve in CT:

    Well some of what I’ve read indicates that the real power behind the throne will be Kim Jong Il’s brother-in-law, who is a high placed military official, and his sister, who apparently has a reputation for being especially ruthless.

    Yea, this will end well alright.