North Korean state media this week celebrates a “human-bomb hero” of the regime. Long before 9/11, Pyongyang was glorifying suicide bombers and threatening their use against the regime’s South Korean and US enemies.
A propaganda painting, seen above, shows Korean People’s Army nurse Cho Sun Ok blowing herself up during the Korean War, taking a US tank with her. Such themes support the attempted indoctrination of school children in the heroism of becoming “self-blasting fighters.”
“The venue was crowded with students determined to turn out in the sacred war for defending the country and wipe out the U.S. imperialists and the south Korean puppet forces who are bringing the dark clouds of a nuclear war to hang over the country,” reported North Korean state media in 2013.
“In duet and chorus ‘For My Only Country’ the graduates impressively represented the unshakable faith and will of the younger generation to firmly protect the country at the cost of their lives just as Hero Ri Su Bok did. He made a breakthrough in his unit’s charge by silencing the enemy pillbox with his body during the Fatherland Liberation War…
The volunteers including the graduates from Kim Ju Hyok Secondary School and Ri Chol Min Secondary School pledged to become self-blasting fighters and human bombs throwing themselves to blow up the stronghold of the enemy before any others.” (North) Korean Central News Agency, 3/23/13
One headline from the 1990s: “Youth Vow to Become 5 Million Human Bullets and Bombs.”
This week (August 12, 2023), North Korean official media profiled a human bomb from an earlier conflict. “Kim Jin is the first human-bomb hero of Korea who opened up the route of charge for his unit by blocking the enemy’s pillbox with his breast in the battle of Dashahe, Antu County on August 23, 1939 during the anti-Japanese armed struggle,” reports the “Voice of (North) Korea,” a state media outlet.
Kim, according to the report, died attacking Japanese occupiers. “Kim Jin ran up to the fort, but got wounded. He glared at the enemy’s pillbox before raising himself swiftly to block the muzzle of the machine gun with his breast. Along with explosion, the dark-red smoke engulfed the fort. As said above, Hero Kim Jin was trained under the care of Kim Il Sung and sacrificed himself for the revolution.”