About Kim Jong-il, Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Soviet records show that Kim Jong-il was born in the village of Vyatskoye, near Khabarovsk, in 1941, where his father, Kim Il-sung, commanded the 1st Battalion of the Soviet 88th Brigade, made up of Chinese and Korean exiles. Kim Jong-il's mother, Kim Jong-suk, was Kim Il-sung's first wife. Kim Jong-il's official biography states that he was born in a secret military camp on Baekdu Mountain in Japanese Korea on 16 February 1942. Official biographers claim that his birth at Baekdu Mountain was foretold by a swallow, and heralded by the appearance of a double rainbow over the mountain and a new star in the heavens.
In 1945, Kim was three or four years old (depending on his birth year) when World War II ended and Korea regained independence from Japan. His father returned to Pyongyang that September, and in late November Kim returned to Korea via a Soviet ship, landing at Sonbong (선봉군, also Unggi). The family moved into a former Japanese officer's mansion in Pyongyang, with a garden and pool. Kim Jong-il's brother, "Shura" Kim (the first Kim Jong-il, but known by his Russian nickname), drowned there in 1948. Unconfirmed reports suggest that 5 year old Kim Jong-il might have caused the accident. In 1949, his mother died in childbirth. Unconfirmed reports suggest that his mother might have been shot and left to bleed to death.
There is no official information available about Kim Jong-il's marital history, but he is believed to have been officially married once and to have had three mistresses.
He has four known children:
- Kim Sul-song (daughter)
- Kim Jong-nam (son)
- Kim Jong-chul (son)
- Kim Jong-un (son)
Kim's first wife, Kim Young-sook, was the daughter of a high-ranking military official. His father Kim Il-Sung handpicked her to marry his son. The two have been estranged for some years. Kim has a daughter from this marriage, Kim Sul-song (born 1974).
Kim's first mistress, Song Hye-rim, was a star of North Korean films. She was married to another man when they met; Kim is reported to have forced her husband to divorce her. The relationship was not officially recognized, and after years of estrangement she is believed to have died in Moscow in the Central Clinical Hospital in 2002. They had one son, Kim Jong-nam (born 1971) who is Kim Jong-il's eldest son.
His second mistress, Ko Young-hee, was a Japanese-born ethnic Korean and a dancer. She had taken over the role of First Lady until her death — reportedly of cancer — in 2004. They had two sons, Kim Jong-chul, in 1981, and Kim Jong-un (also "Jong Woon" or "Jong Woong"), in 1983.
Since Ko's death, Kim has been living with Kim Ok, his third mistress, who had served as his personal secretary since the 1980s. She "virtually acts as North Korea's first lady" and frequently accompanies Kim on his visits to military bases and in meetings with visiting foreign dignitaries. She traveled with Kim Jong Il on a secretive trip to China in January 2006, where she was received by Chinese officials as Kim's wife.
Kim Jong-il is also reported to have a younger sister, Kim Kyong-Hui (김경희)