Sunday, April 10, 2011

MANGYONDAE

Mangyongdae is the place where President Kim Il Sung, founder of socialist Korea and the Juche idea, was born on April 15, 1912.

Situated at the confluence of the Taedong, flowing across Pyongyang, the capital of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and its tributary, the Sunhwa, Mangyongdae is famed for its beautiful scenery from olden times. The area is surrounded by several hills, the highest one named Mangyong(Ten thousand views) Hill because one can enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the exquisite landscape, and the village at its foot is called Mangyongdae.

In Mangyongdae the President native home, a low-roofed and straw-thatched one, is preserved in its original state.

Visitors are surprised to see the house, too modest and humble as compared with the President’s worldwide fame and great personality. Originally it had been a house for the keeper of a hill and grave for a landlord in Pyongyang. As the family was too poor to afford even such a house, the President’s great-grandfather became the landlord’s grave keeper and moved there.

At this house, humble as it was, lived ardent patriots who devoted all to the country and nation through generations.

Kim Ung U, great-grandfather of Kim Il Sung, took the lead in sinking General Sherman and repelling Shenandoah, US aggressor ships which intruded into Korea in the mid-19th century. The President’s grandparents supported with all their might the revolutionary activities of their sons and grandsons though they eked out a meager living as tenant peasant.

The house is also the native home of his father Kim Hyong Jik, an outstanding leader of the anti-Japanese national liberation movement in Korea, his uncle Kim Hyong Gwon, and younger brother Kim Chol Ju, who sacrificed themselves for the revolutionary struggle for the country’s independence. His mother Kang Pan Sok, an outstanding leader of the women’s movement in Korea, lived at the house for a while.

In the house are preserved a desk and an inkstone used by Kim Il Sung in his school days, chests of drawers, a brazier, tableware, an A-frame carrier, plow and other farm implements, a loom, a spinning wheel and a rush mat. There is also misshapen water jar whish leaves a strong impression on visitors. The President’s family was so poor in those days that they were even unable to buy a perfectly shaped water jar indispensable to the livelihood of the Korean people.

Though they lived in poverty, the grandparents and parents of the President educated him to inherit the patriotic tradition of the Mangyongdae family, who were prepared to lay down their lives without hesitation for the country and nation.

The swinging site and the spring near the President’s birthplace tell the story of those days. The wrestling ground, the study site and warship rock (on which he played at soldiers) where Kim Il Sung fostered hatred for Japanese imperialism and the spirit of patriotism are still preserved.

Kim Il Sung left home, following his father who had embarked on the road of national independence. In March 1923, when he was 11 years old, he made a journey on foot from the northeastern part of China to Mangyondae to learn better the realities of his native country, travelling 250 km all alone.

In January 1925, while studying in the homeland, he was told that his father had been arrested by the Japanese police again, and left Mangyongdae, resolutely pledging that he would never return to the motherland before he won back the country.

He came back to Mangyongdae after 20 years. He had organized and led the arduous armed struggle to defeat the Japanese imperialist aggressors, and liberated the country ( August 15, 1945).

After his triumphal return, he had first visited the Kangson Steel Plant (now the Cholima Steel Complex) for the building of a new Korea, although the road leading to the plant also led to his old home. Only after he had founded the Worker’s Party of Korea (October 10, 1945), the guiding force of Korea society, and extended greetings of triumphal return to people at the historic Pyongyang mass rally (October 14, 1945), he entered the brushwood gate of his native home.

His grandmother rushed into the courtyard barefoot and hugged him, saying why he had returned home alone, leaving behind his father and mother. Many members of this family had left this house to liberate the country, but Kim Il Sung was the only one who returned.

Since them, President Kim Il Sung, whenever he saw the brushwood gate of someone else’s home during his on-the-spot guidance, would wonder how many members of the family had gone out through that gate and how many of them had returned.

Now Mangyongdae is the holy land of revolution for the Korean people and the world progressives who adhere to the Juche idea and aspire after independence. Koreans at home and abroad and foreigners visit the place to recollect the great career of the President and plant beautiful flowers and trees. More than 120 million people have visited Mangyongdae for the past 60-odd years.

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