Our next stop on the “the Eternal Sun of Mankind” tour was the Mangyongdae Native House, where Kim Il-Sung was supposedly born and raised. While this small, simple cottage was of little interest to the majority of our tour group, the North Koreans who flock to it consider it a holy site. It is, after all, the cradle of the revolution:
This traditional scenic wonder leapt to potentially foremost significance in the national consciousness on April 15, 1912 when President Kim Il Sung was born at a plain thatched-roof cottage here, against a backdrop of Korea’s national disaster in the colonial thrall of Japan.
He came of a generations-old patriotic and revolutionary family and spent his childhood under the revolutionary influence of his parents, witnessing the society riddled with contradictions. He nurtured his ambition to liberate the country and establish a society geared to the well-being of the people.
He left his old home at 13 and waged a heroic anti-Japanese war that culminated in national liberation and a people-oriented country. He rendered feats unparalleled in history, as the leader of the Korean people and a veteran statesman of the world.
“Then they entered the yard of President Kim Il Sung’s old home in Mangyongdae where they were briefed on the fact that born in a patriotic and revolutionary family for several generations, he grew up to be a great revolutionary, nurturing ardent patriotism and the noble idea of believing in people as in Heaven. They looked round with deep emotion the relics preserved with good care at the historical house.” – KCNA
“They looked round with deep attention historic relics impregnated with the personal odor of members of the revolutionary family in Mangyongdae and posed for souvenir photographs in front of the old home before inspecting revolutionary relics on Mangyong Hill.” – KCNA
Our tour guide led us to the well from which the Kim family drew their water. We were told that drinking water from the well would make us “a great person, like President Kim Il-Sung.” There were a couple of dirty plastic cups sitting by the well for visitors to use, but I instead opted to use my hands.
Here it is, the moment when I turned great (or started down the path of becoming a dictator).
The location where young Kim would think and read
Pavilion at the top of the hill
Views of Pyongyang
This is where Kim would wrestle with his friends. Our cameraman and American guide demonstrate.