Swiss Expert Outs N. Korea's Kim Jong-un as Avid Manga Reader, Poor Student
posted on by Lynzee Loveridge
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un welcomed the New Year by simultaneously offering to open talks with South Korea while reminding the U.S. that there's "nuclear button" on his desk at any sign of threat. This has been Kim's modus operandi since he claimed the position of Supreme Leader from his father in 2012. The threat of missile deployment has been a cornerstone to his leadership, and 2017 was no exception, with test firings rousing concerns in Japan anew.
The threatening showmanship towards Japan is puzzling, given that at least two people familiar with Kim have claimed the dictator was an avid manga fan during his school days. TV Tokyo aired a segment about North Korea's leader during its Yabai Hanashi The World (Dangerous Talk the World) program. Professional boxer Daiki Kameda visited the Swiss capital of Bern where Kim studied abroad for about four years, beginning at the age of 12, under a pseudonym. Kameda met with resident Gabriel Mayer, who specializes in researching the North Korean leader, and he revealed details about the young, soon-to-be successor.
Mayer stated that Kim Jong-un loved the NBA, especially Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. His interest in basketball also reflected in his manga choices: Slam Dunk. He also read Akira Toriyama's classic Dragon Ball. Mayer admitted that Kim preferred reading manga to his studies, remarking that he was a poor student during his stay in Bern.
The appreciation for foreign media, in contrast to stances on politics, seems to run in the family. Kim Jong-un's father was noted for a giant Hollywood movie collection that included tens of thousands of home video releases. Mayer said in his interview that Kim Jong-un's sister read Sailor Moon while she was studying abroad.
70-year-old Mobile Suit Gundam character designer Yoshikazu Yasuhiko recently drew Kim Jong-un, along with U.S. President Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe on the cover of Japan's major financial magazine Weekly Tōyō Keizai. The art showed Kim sitting atop a nuclear missile at a table while the other leaders drank alcohol.
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