Our next dictator, Kim Jong-Un of North Korea, is unique because he’s still in power, so currently there’s no telling how some of the crazy things he has done will impact his rule or his country. He inherited rule from his father, Kim Jong-Il, and appears to be just as dictatorial as him, but he also seems to want recognition from the West.
He invited former NBA star Dennis Rodman to be his personal guest and “peace envoy” and has engaged American President Donald Trump in peace talks. And it actually seems that Jong-Un has reacted well to those overtures by all but is not stopping his militaristic bluster and missile tests.
But make no mistake about it, Kim Jong-Un has done plenty of crazy things since he took power in 2011. He has ordered the execution of several top North Korean officials, often by bizarre methods, was possibly behind the assassination of one of his brothers, and has generally continued to follow the pattern of repression and cult of personality instituted by his father.
Maybe more than anything, though, Kim Jong-Un follows a crazy health plan.
Many of the dictators we’ve profiled were actually health and fitness nuts, but Kim seems to have gone the other way. With all the power he has, he could afford to employ some of the best nutritionists and fitness trainers to keep him lean and mean, but the 5’6 Kim Jong-Un weighs in at a portly 300 pounds. The obese autocrat really doesn’t seem to mind, though, as he imports expensive, fatty foods, such as cheese from Switzerland, and is said to smoke up to four packs of cigarettes a day.
With a family history of heart problems, some of the crazy things this dictator is doing seem to be to his own body.
Inheriting the Hermit Kingdom
Kim Jong-Un was born into a privileged life in the early 1980s in a country where poverty and repression are more common than anything, but since Kim’s father was the leader, he was given access to things that most could only dream of.
Like leaving the country.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Kim lived in Switzerland under a pseudonym, which is where he acquired his love for Swiss cheese and basketball. He then came back to North Korea to study at university and work in the North Korean Communist Party, but it was known to everyone that he was merely being groomed to take his father’s place.
Unlike most of our other dictators in this book, Kim never had to prove himself, never landed in prison due to his political activities, and never really had to risk anything to reach his current position.
North Korea, also known as the “hermit kingdom” because of its relative international isolation, was simply passed on to Kim Jong-Un after his father died. Sure he was prepared by his father and his father’s most trusted men in many ways, but he was also woefully unprepared.
When Kim Jong-Un became North Korea’s dictator, he inherited his father’s crazy, violent ideas to go with his own crazy, unhealthy habits.
The Obese Autocrat
Kim Jong-Un made an immediate splash on the international scene by continuing his father’s legacy of brutality. Kim became known for regularly purging high-ranking government and Communist Party officials and executing them in manners that are interesting, to say the least.
Once the reins of power were officially given to Kim, he did as any good dictator would do; by eliminating all competition. Kim executed 14 high-ranking officials in the government, including Vice Minister of the Army, Kim Chol, who was said to have been executed by mortar bombardment!
Kim later had his Uncle Jan Song-Thaek executed by firing squad and, in one of the more spectacular executions reported, had government official O Sang-Hon killed by a flamethrower!
But as crazy as the purges and executions Kim Jong-Un has ordered are, the way he treats his body is just as crazy.
In addition to his obesity, heavy smoking, poor diet, and family health problems, Kim Jong-Un is said to suffer from asthma, walks with a cane, and was reportedly on his deathbed in April 2020. None of this is good for a person of any age, but when one considers that Kim is only in his mid to late thirties, it will be a huge surprise if he makes it to 50.
And he doesn’t appear to want to slow down.
Kim has been reported to spend more than $30 million a year on booze, and although he enjoys throwing lavish parties and doesn’t drink all of that himself, he is known to consume several drinks of hard liquor per day.
If Kim doesn’t watch himself, his crazy health habits will put him in an early grave and the mantle of power will pass to his sister, Kim Yo-Jong, making her the first female communist dictator in history.
Did You Know?
- Kim Yo-Jong was born in 1987, so she is about two to five years younger than Kim Jong-Un. The two are reported to be very close, but Yo-Jong has become a bit of an internet sensation with several memes floating around about her, so Jong-Un may have to worry.
- Kim Jong-Un married an attractive former cheerleader named Ri Sol-Ju in 2009. The couple has at least one child, although some news outlets claim they have up to three children.
- In addition to asthma and a family history of heart disease, Kim Jong-Un also has diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Kim Jong-Un increased North Korea’s nuclear weapons program before meeting with Trump in 2018 and 2019, although they didn’t reach any type of agreement.
- Kim Jong-Un allowed some North Korean athletes to compete with the South Korean team in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea and allowed a limited concert of more than 150 South Korean K-Pop stars in North Korea in March of that same year.