Kim’s many faces…

Our friend and ally (no) Axis of Evil headliner (yes) Kim Jong-un, the new North Korean Leader has 6 new titles (these are real):

  • Marshal of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
  • First chairman of the National Defense Commission
  • First secretary of the Workers’ Party
  • Chairman of the party’s Central Military Commission
  • Member of the Presidium of the party’s Political Bureau
  • Supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army

Interestingly, I had a lot of these same titles in high school.

Kim’s friends call him ‘Karma Chameleon’ and some of his family calls him ‘Jeff’; he’s also been known to answer to ‘Sam Walton.’

Original article on Jeff’s names:

http://m.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2012/0718/Kim-Jong-un-s-6-super-duper-titles/Marshal-of-the-Democratic-People-s-Republic-of-Korea

3 comments

  • Lost in Translation.
    I thought I might attempt to add some comedy to your post, as the translation of the title conferred (원수) in Korean has several meanings. Here are meanings 2 and 3, according to the widely recognized Naver web dictionary.

    원수2 元首 단어장추가
    (최고 통치권자)the head of state[a country]

    원수3 元帥 단어장추가
    (군대의 최고 계급) (육군) (Am) general of the army, (Brit) field marshal (해군) (Am) fleet admiral, (Brit) admiral of the fleet (공군) (Am) general of the air force, (Brit) marshal of the royal air force

    Strangely enough, and the South Koreans probably like this translation the best, the word also means ….enemy.

    원수1 怨讐 단어장추가
    (적)enemy, (literary) foe,
    sworn enemy, mortal enemy, bitter enemy

    Korean has these types words all the time that are “usually” distinguishable in context. If written and pronounced in Chinese this word becomes three distinctly different words. For English, because of the wide array of similiar words of varying degrees it is amazing how many ways his (KJE), father’s (KJI) and grandfather’s (KIS) titles can be translated, thus giving the English speaking world a wide variety from which to choose.

    BTW, I didn’t figure out the immigration reference in this one…

    • Nice comment.

      Why so many new titles though? Is it the N Korean culture? Granted our culture associates titles with importance too but don’t the people think 6 new titles in 7 months is a little hokey?

  • Well, that’s what I’m saying. There was only one title conferred…this month at least…that can be translated into English in multiple forms. The word is similar in use to the word “manager” in English. Manager of what? Floor, Department, etc. It has multiple applications. However, to distinguish different types of managers in English, we add that specificity to the title. Koreans, in fact most Asian languages, do not. This one word in Korean can mean many things or identify many people, but it is not individually tailored to the exact person by adding more detail. The problem is that we have so many different types of words that translate from their individual words. Simply put, we have Thesauruses, they do not, because their is only one word for one meaning or multiple meanings. As far as being part of NK culture, I think this lends to the communal concepts of a socialist society where your name is irrelevant. It is more important to identify that you are a part of the collective. This is done by having a collective title/s that show your contributions to the society.

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