Person of Interest

Who Is Kim Jong Un?

Dictatorships usually rely on iconography, so this may be a problem for Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s next Dear Leader: Only one photo of him exists outside the country, and in it, he is only 11 years old. Little is known about Kim—much of what is comes from testimony by a sushi chef who cooked for him when he was seven and who says he “looked just like” his father, Kim Jong Il. According to The New York Times, “They describe Kim Jong-un as a man in his mid-20s, of medium height, overweight and prone to high blood pressure and suffering from diabetes, and with character traits similar to his father’s.” Even within North Korea, little is known about him—the media have never shown his image or mentioned him by name. One North Korean specialist tells the Times that Kim is “very young, without any administrative experience to speak of, and without his own coterie—he had not had time to create a power base. He will be an obedient puppet in the hands of people who lobbied for this decision. Who are these people? I have no idea, to be frank.”