Lifestyle & Belief

North Korea's love for Kim Jong Un is now visible from space


A Google Earth picture taken on Oct. 6 has revealed a huge homage to North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un.


Google Earth

North Korea wants everyone to know how great Kim Jong Un is. Even in space.

Satellite pictures have revealed an enormous message of praise to North Korea's dear dictator, carved into a hillside in northern Ryanggang province.

According to South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper, it reads: "Long Live General Kim Jong Un, the Shining Sun!"

As you'd expect of a shout-out visible from space, the stats are impressive. Each letter measures 49 feet wide and 65 feet high, or, as the Chosun Ilbo helpfully contextualizes, "about the size of a building."

Such displays are pretty much exactly what you'd expect from the Kim dynasty. Shortly after Kim Jong Il's death, to mark what would have been his 70th birthday, the words "Peerless Patriot General Kim Jong Il" were carved into Mount Sokda in South Pyonggan province, Bloomberg reported at the time.

Indeed, according to North Korea watchers at the Daily NK, the tradition began back in the mid-1970s when Kim Jong Il was appointed successor to his father, Kim Il Sung:

"In essence it involves picking the most scenic mountains like Keumkang and Myohyang and carving inane things in them like 'The Nation’s Celebrated Mountain. Kim Jong Il.'

"According to defectors, it got worse after Kim Il Sung's death, when Kim Jong Il ordered the authorities to carve phrases into various scenic locations because 'We need to convey to our descendants how great a person we had as Suryeong [our leader].'"

The exact number of North Korean beauty spots turned into propaganda posters isn't known. (The North Korean Economy Watch blog says it has found plentiful examples via Google Earth.)

But, as the Daily NK points out, letters carved three feet deep into natural rock aren't easily erased – and will probably still be visible long after the Kims themselves are gone.