North Korea Made 'Jong Uns' Change Name

Names of leader's father, grandfather also off limits
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2014 8:35 AM CST
North Korea Made 'Jong Uns' Change Name
Kim Jong Un: the one and only. Literally.   (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

America is home to 1,513 George Washingtons, but North Korea claims only one "Kim Jong Un." Or has as of roughly January 2011, according to an internal document dated from that month that a South Korean TV station was able to access. Issued in the year before Kim Jong Un took the reins but after he had been declared his father's successor, the directive ordered anyone named "Kim Jong Un" or even "Jong Un" to change his or her name, Yonhap reports. The New York Times notes Jong Un is a common Korean name for both sexes. Party, police, and state officials were instructed to "train" those with the name "to voluntarily change their names," per the document.

The AFP reports that no future-born children were to be named Kim Jong Un, either, and those already with the name would need to change all official documents down to their school diploma. The directive also stated "authorities should make sure that there is no one making unnecessary complaints or spreading gossip … regarding this project." The AFP notes the directive's authenticity couldn't be verified, but the country is said to have followed the same policy under the past two leaders. Says a defector, "There is no one in the North named Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il." (It's not the only unusual order to be issued in North Korea.)

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