Over three generations, the Kim dynasty of North Korea has hijacked the ancient origin story of the Korean people — telling outlandish lies of the despots’ god-like abilities — to legitimize their power and brainwash the citizens of the Hermit Kingdom into worshipping them.
The Kims have long claimed to have what they call the “Mount Paektu bloodline.” Mount Paektu lies in the north and is the highest, most sacred spot on the peninsula for all Koreans. It’s where the spiritual founder of Koreans, Dangun, son of a god and a bear, was said to have been born in 2333 B.C.
“It’s hard to overstate how sacred Mount Paektu is for all Koreans,” David Maxwell, a retired US Army Special Forces colonel and North Korea expert, told The Post. “It’s key to the birth of Korea. Everywhere in the south you see pictures of the mountain. Military officers sit in the south side of mess halls so they can look north at the picture of Paektu.”
Kim Jong Un, 37, the portly grandson of Kim Il Sung, who founded North Korea in 1948, is often pictured astride a white horse on the mountain’s snowy slopes. He’s claimed to have climbed the 9,000-foot peak at least twice — though it would be difficult in the long coat, expensive pants and shiny dress shoes he wore both times.
North Koreans have long been told that Kim Il Sung and his guerrilla forces fought Japanese occupying troops here and that his son, Kim Jong Un’s father Kim Jong Il, was born on the mountain. This despite reliable reports that Kim Jong Il was actually born in the Soviet Union where his father was living in exile at the time.
Associated with the phony origin story are tales of eye-popping superpowers: Kim, who hasn’t been seen publicly since May 1, driving a car at age 3, competitively sailing at 9, making 11 holes in one during a single round of golf, his father walking at 3 weeks old, and this doozy — discovering a unicorn lair.
“The Kims are literally standing on the shoulders of giants by co-opting the Mount Paektu story,” Sean King, a North Korea expert with Park Strategists political consulting firm, told The Post. “By tying themselves to the creation of the whole Korean race, they’ve suggested that the Kim family has the divine right to rule the peninsula. And that is the goal overall: to rule over the entire country.”
But there’s been a potentially seismic shift in some of the outrageous propaganda.
Rocketman took a calculated risk this month when state media admitted that Kim’s grandfather was in fact not capable of “chukjibeop” — the supernatural ability to “fold space,” make people appear and disappear, or travel through time.
By doing away with some of the crazier, supernatural tales, say North Korea experts in the West as well as South Korea, Kim Jong Un is shrewdly hoping to focus on more realistic disinformation that may play better with the masses.
Analysts say he is shrewder than he appears.
“Kim Jong Un knows that North Koreans, despite their isolation, still have more and more access to electronic devices and smuggled-in DVDs,” Michael Madden, a North Korea scholar at 39 North, told The Post.
“He knows his people aren’t going to buy some of this stuff anymore. He’s doing what he has to do to keep up with the times and hold on to his power.”