Kimjongilia is a flower bred by Kamo Mototeru, a Japanese horticulturist, by crossbreeding a variety of plants of South American origin. Plants of the tuberous begonia species grow in the vast areas of the tropics and subtropics and its species number 2 300, but no species is more unique than Kimjongilia.
Mototeru who had heard legendary tales of President Kim Il Sung of the DPRK from his mother in his early years read a lot of books on the country with unusual interest and passion. During a visit to the DPRK he witnessed the ever-changing reality of the country in person. In those days he was very impressed by the wise leadership, warm love and lofty virtue of President Kim II Sung and Chairman Kim Jong Il who were taking care of the people with maternal affection and bringing all their wishes into full bloom.
When he heard that Kimilsungia had been born in 1965 out of the boundless respect of the Indonesian people for President Kim Il Sung, he made up his mind to breed a flower that would be named after Kim Jong Il, another peerlessly great man, who was leading Juche Korea to prosperity.
He deepened his study of the tuberous begonia which he had been cultivating with great interest and finally succeeded in breeding a new species of the tuberous begonia, whose flowers as red as a blazing sun are in full bloom for over four months.
He presented it to Kim Jong Il in February 1988 on the occasion of the 46th anniversary of the latter's birthday, together with a letter, in which he wrote, "I send you the tuberous begonia I bred with sincerity to congratulate Your Excellency on your 46th birthday, and hoping for friendship between Japan and Korea. I ventured to name my plant after Your Excellency's august name, as Kimjongilia, wishing you a long life in good health and a bright future of prosperity and development. If you allow me to present this plant to Your Excellency, I will take it as honour more than I deserve."