Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Wait...What?!?" - How Disney Changed North Korean Succession

No matter how much information we think we have at our disposal, every once in awhile we learn something new about Disney...

Yes you read that title correctly.

I had no intention of making any mention of the death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il on this site (after all, why would I?) But then I came across today's edition of the Dan Lewis "Now I Know" newsletter (which you can and should subscribe to, for free, here.)

So here's the story...
Kim Jong-il, the dictator who lead North Korea for nearly two decades, died over the past weekend. Filling his shoes is his son, Kim Jong-un. But unlike most sons who succeed their fathers in the seat of government, Jong-un is not the oldest son. He’s actually the youngest of three, and his half-brother, Kim Jong-nam is the oldest. So why isn’t Jong-nam taking over for his recently deceased father?

Because he really, really wanted to meet Mickey Mouse.

Jong-nam was groomed to be his father’s successor starting around 1998, four years after his grandfather died. He took a position near the top of the Ministry of Public Security and led the government organization charged with building North Korea’s computing technologies industry.

But that May, the then roughly 30 year old Jong-nam went on another trip. He took a flight to Tokyo, intending to visit Tokyo Disneyland. But he never made it to the theme park. Japanese officials detained Jong-nam for traveling using a forged passport — Jong-nam tried to enter the country using a faux Dominican Republic passport under the name “Pang Xiong.” He was deported to China, leading to the cancellation of his father’s scheduled trip there as well as a significant amount of embarrassment for Jong-il. Soon after, Jong-nam fell into disfavor, and Jong-un became the heir-apparent to their father.

If you want to read the whole story, you can check it out in Dan's archives here. This is the second time I've reposted Dan's work here, he's pretty amazing and chances are that if I find him interesting, you will too. Thanks, Dan!

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