Shaylyn Noble

Shaylyn Noble

Published: 13 Sep 2023


Kim Jong-il, the enigmatic former leader of North Korea, was a figure shrouded in mystery and surrounded by myths. His reign, which lasted from 1994 until his death in 2011, was marked by a totalitarian regime that controlled every aspect of the lives of the North Korean people. While much of the information about Kim Jong-il remains inaccessible to the outside world, there are still some fascinating facts that have emerged about his life and leadership. From his love for cinema to his extravagant lifestyle, these facts offer a glimpse into the peculiarities of one of the world’s most secretive leaders. In this article, we will explore 19 intriguing facts about Kim Jong-il, shedding light on the man whose rule continues to have a profound impact on the Korean Peninsula and the international community.

Table of Contents

Kim Jong-il was born on February 16, 1941, in Vyatskoye, Soviet Union.

Kim Jong-il, the former leader of North Korea, was born in the village of Vyatskoye, which is now part of Russia. His birth name was Yuri Irsenovich Kim. He later adopted the name Kim Jong-il upon his father’s request.

Kim Jong-il was known for his eccentric fashion sense.

Kim Jong-il was often seen wearing oversized sunglasses, platform shoes, and unique outfits. His distinctive fashion choices became a trademark and made him easily recognizable.

Kim Jong-il claimed to have bowled a perfect score on his first attempt.

In a documentary released by North Korean media, Kim Jong-il was said to have bowled a perfect score of 300 on his first-ever attempt at bowling. This claim has been widely disputed and regarded as propaganda.

Kim Jong-il was a film enthusiast and produced several movies.

Kim Jong-il had a deep passion for film and played an active role in the North Korean film industry. He produced and directed numerous movies, including “Pulgasari” and “The Flower Girl.”

Kim Jong-il had a fear of flying.

Due to his fear of flying, Kim Jong-il preferred to travel by train for his diplomatic visits abroad. His specially designed armored train, known as the “Kim Jong-il’s train,” was equipped with luxury amenities.

Kim Jong-il claimed to have written operas.?

Kim Jong-il was known to have a passion for music and claimed to have written several operas. It is believed that his involvement in the arts was a form of propaganda to promote his image as a talented leader.

Kim Jong-il was obsessed with his appearance.

Kim Jong-il was known for his obsession with his physical appearance. He reportedly had several plastic surgeries and wore platform shoes to appear taller.

Kim Jong-il had a collection of over 20,000 films.

Kim Jong-il had an extensive film collection and was known to be a cinephile. His personal library included movies from around the world, covering various genres.

Kim Jong-il was the General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

Kim Jong-il held the position of the General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea from 1997 until his death in He succeeded his father, Kim Il-sung, as the leader of North Korea.

Kim Jong-il claimed to have invented the hamburger.

There are claims that Kim Jong-il invented the hamburger, although this is widely regarded as a propaganda tactic. The origins of the hamburger can be traced back to the United States.

Kim Jong-il was known for his strict control over information.

Kim Jong-il tightly controlled the flow of information in North Korea. He implemented strict censorship policies, restricting access to foreign media and the internet.

Kim Jong-il had a great interest in basketball.

Kim Jong-il was a big basketball fan and even had an exhibition basketball team known as the “Pyongyang Sijalit Team.” He was said to be particularly fond of Michael Jordan.

Kim Jong-il was believed to have a taste for luxury goods.

Despite North Korea’s impoverished state, Kim Jong-il was known for his lavish lifestyle. He reportedly had a taste for expensive cognac, luxury cars, and gourmet food.

Kim Jong-il was said to have a photographic memory.

It was claimed that Kim Jong-il possessed a photographic memory and had an exceptional ability to retain vast amounts of information. This claim, however, cannot be independently verified.

Kim Jong-il promoted the concept of “Juche.”

Kim Jong-il advocated for the ideology of “Juche,” which translates to self-reliance. This ideology emphasizes the belief that the Korean people should rely on their own resources rather than external assistance.

Kim Jong-il was known for his love of cognac.

Kim Jong-il had a strong affinity for Hennessy cognac. It is estimated that he spent millions of dollars annually on luxury alcohol imports.

Kim Jong-il had numerous titles bestowed upon him, including “Dear Leader.”

Kim Jong-il was often referred to by his adoring followers as the “Dear Leader” or the “Great Leader.” These titles were used to emphasize his status as the supreme leader of North Korea.

Kim Jong-il was the father of current North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Kim Jong-il had three known sons, with Kim Jong-un being his youngest. Following Kim Jong-il’s death in 2011, Kim Jong-un assumed power and became the leader of North Korea.

Kim Jong-il is often portrayed as a revered figure in North Korean propaganda.

In North Korean propaganda, Kim Jong-il is portrayed as a heroic and infallible leader. His image is widely propagated throughout the country, with statues, murals, and portraits dedicated to him.


Kim Jong-il was undeniably a fascinating figure, with a life shrouded in mystery and propaganda. From his eccentric fashion choices to his love for film and passion for luxury, there were many aspects of his personality that captivated the world. As the Supreme Leader of North Korea, he ruled with an iron fist, maintaining a strict authoritarian regime.

While some of the facts about Kim Jong-il may seem unbelievable, they offer insight into the enigmatic leader and his reign. From his love for Hennessy cognac to his fear of flying, these details shed light on his personality and preferences.

Despite the controversies surrounding his leadership, Kim Jong-il will always be remembered as a polarizing figure who left an indelible mark on history.


Q: Was Kim Jong-il the father of the current North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un?

A: Yes, Kim Jong-il was the father of Kim Jong-un. He passed away in 2011, and Kim Jong-un assumed power as the Supreme Leader of North Korea.

Q: Did Kim Jong-il really have a fear of flying?

A: Yes, Kim Jong-il had a well-known fear of flying. He preferred to travel by train for long distances, and a special armored train was used for his trips.

Q: What were the eccentric fashion choices of Kim Jong-il?

A: Kim Jong-il was known for his unique fashion sense, often seen wearing platform shoes, jumpsuits, and oversized sunglasses.

Q: What was Kim Jong-il’s passion for film?

A: Kim Jong-il had a deep passion for cinema and was an avid film enthusiast. He even wrote a book called “On the Art of the Cinema” and was involved in the North Korean film industry.

Q: Is it true that Kim Jong-il claimed to have scored five holes-in-one in his first-ever round of golf?

A: Yes, it was a widely circulated claim that Kim Jong-il achieved five holes-in-one in his first-ever round of golf. However, the authenticity of this claim is heavily debated.