The Dear Reader: DPRK Observations & Musings


Will the Real Kim Jong-il Please Stand Up?

Tonight, moreso than any previous Halloween, a gaggle of would-be Kim Jong-il‘s will be saddling up to good-looking women at parties and warbling, “Tlick or tleat?” And if one or more of these Dear Leader dress-ups happens to be at the same place as a costumed Laura Ling, Euna Lee and-or Bill Clinton (or if a pint-sized Jong shows up tonight on the doorstep of Laura and husband Iain Clayton‘s North Hollywood home), then August history may repeat itself in, respectively, amusing and awkward fashion.

However, thanks to Japanese writer and long-time KJi conspiracy theorist Toshimitsu Shigemura, tonight’s Slim Shady Dictator ranks will also conjure up conversation about a fascinating new slant: the idea that Clinton met on August 4th in Pyongyang not with Kim Jong-il #1 but rather KJi #2 or – perish the thought – KJi #3.

Shigemura is no crackpot; once a reporter for the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, he now teaches international relations at Tokyo‘s Waseda University. Still, while long-time Asia beat journalist Donald Kirk and others concede that there is little doubt Kim Jong-il has people stand in for him at some public appearances, they firmly believe the big Clinton pow-wow was not such an instance.

Nevertheless, the James Bond-like scenario of a craftily schooled evil twin has understandably captured the public’s imagination; even America’s number one pundit, @EbertChicago, couldn’t help but retweet the idea as a tantalizing question. Bottom line: whether Kim Jong-il died years ago or was simply too sick to glad-hand Clinton for three hours and 17 minutes on the evening of the 4th, this year’s most Oscar-worthy Best Actor candidate may reside in a land where the import of Academy screeners is punishable by death.


Filed under: Kim Jong-il

5 Responses

  1. Jeremy says:

    I can’t say I find it so hard to believe if true.

    And Kim or Ling and Lee costumes during this recent Halloween would be a bit tasteless, but I’m not surprised if they made an appearance.

    • liberatelaura says:

      I remember reading a report about how overwhelmed young NK defectors (teen, pre-teen) were in SK when presented with a birthday cake, because they had never seen one before. The same notion strikes me with Halloween – it must be very strange for these youngsters to find themselves in a place where you can actually walk up to a stranger’s front door and get free sustenance.

  2. adamcathcart says:

    No comment yet on the Euna Lee book deal? There’s a bit of opposition here:

    Also, I just wanted to say how much I’ve enjoyed your Twitter feed for the last couple of months. It’s really one of the best out there.

    • liberatelaura says:

      One assumes that the sales of Euna’s book will be robust enough to cover her six-figure advance from Random House’s Broadway Books, so at the appropriate time, it would definitely be nice to hear that Euna has given 10% of it, say, to Liberty in North Korea, the organization she-Laura have been aligned with post-Pyongyang.

      As far as Kushibo (Monster Island) goes, yes, he has flanked Joshua Stanton with consistently critical comments about Euna-Laura, which he is entitled to.

      And per our separate exchange on your very well-researched blog, thanks again for the shout out.

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