North Korea has been known as the ‘hermit state’ for decades as it isolates itself from the rest of the world and rarely allows outsiders a view into the regime. Life inside the nation, which was founded by Kim Il-sung in 1948, remains shrouded in mystery and even statements to emerge are claimed to misrepresent reality. Prior to the current leader, Kim Jong-un, two leaders have ruled North Korea. Each were known for their lavish spending on luxury items and brutal treatment of ‘dissidents’ and those who disobeyed them. Citizens living under the dictatorship have been subject to unusual laws and restrictions during the Kim dynasty, which many nations have condemned. One of the bizarre instructions related to the cleanliness of people’s houses.
While Kim Jong-un’s reign seems unusual to many in the outside world, compared to his predecessors some consider him to be more tame.
Chris Mikul, who penned ‘My Favourite Dictators’ last year, told Express.co.uk that while he is the “most benevolent leader” to date, he still remains “a brutal dictator”.
During his first five years in power, he executed 300 officials who disagreed with him and thought he was “too young” or inexperienced to rule.
In contrast to Kim Il-sung, the state’s founder, and his successor Kim Jong-il, many consider the current head to be the “most westernised” and liberal to date.
While Kim Jong-un’s grandfather ruled North Korea strict laws were put in place that would preserve the history and legacy of the nation’s rulers.
During this time, Kim Jong-il hatched a cunning plot to usurp his older brothers’ claim to power according to Mr Mikul, by demonstrating himself to be the leader’s “most loyal follower”.
In later years, Kim Jong-il commissioned films that cast his father with god-like qualities and portrayed him as “the greatest man who ever lived”.
He was appointed to head the Propaganda and Agitation Department – a highly important role within the North Korean government.
In an attempt to flatter his father, Kim Jong-il had a 66ft bronze statue of his father erected to celebrate his 60th birthday.
The giant effigy cost a staggering $850million (£695m) and was covered in gold-leaf until Chinese leaders called it ridiculous.
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They included outlandish claims that Kim Il-sung could turn “pinecones into bullets”, “grains of sand into rice” and crossed a river on floating leaves.
By contrast, the claims about North Korea’s current leader Kim Jong-un have been mild yet some still continue to emerge.
In modern times, the beliefs stem around his intelligence and ability to work around the clock without rest to ‘benefit’ his nation.
Despite this, rumours emerged that he had died during “botched” heart surgery last month and his sister Kim Yo-jong was tippes to take over as the nation’s ruler.
They were compounded by Kim Jong-un’s absence from the celebrations of Kim Il-sung’s birthday – April 15, 1912 – during one of two near-three week vanishing acts.
The state is yet to say where the leader was during these periods – and likely will not comment further.