North Korea Decrees No One Else Can Be Named Kim Jong-un

If people are named Jong-un they must get a new name.

ByJoohee Cho
December 03, 2014, 12:51 PM

SEOUL, South Korea — -- North Korea has decreed that no one else can have a name that is similar to the name of their dictator Kim Jong-un, and those that have the name Jong-un must get a new name.

Jong-un is a common Korean name for both men and women.

A document dated Jan. 5, 2011 -- a few months after Kim was publicly named as the next heir to his father Kim Jong-il -- recently came to light detailing the Kim's sole claim to the name.

The document instructed officials of the Workers’ party and public security agencies to make sure that people already named Jong-un voluntarily adopt new names, according to South Korea’s national broadcaster KBS.

“In the case of reporting new births with the same name as our comrade general, the People’s Security Agencies shall not allow the registration, and have them create a different name through refinement education,” the administrative order document read.

During the past rules under Kim’s father Kim Jong-il and grandfather Kim Il-sung, a similar decree had been in effect. For example, names like “Kim Tae-yang” were banned because “Tae-yang” literally means the sun, which is the symbol of North Korea’s founder Kim Il-sung. Even names such as “Jong Il-bong” was restricted because the full name consists of a “jong” and a “il.”

Starting in the 1970s, the decree was broadened to people with same names as the ruler’s parents including Kim Jong-il’s mother Kim Jong-sook and Kim Il-sung’s mother Kang Ban-suk.

ABC’s Minjun Kim contributed to this report

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