When you go a little way up from President Kim Il Sung’s native home at Mangyongdae to Mangyong Hill, you will find a quiet valley called Phundu-gol.
Once there used to stand the graves of great-grandparents of Kim Il Sung. In front of the graves there was an old tombstone built under the care of his grandfather Kim Po Hyon. The tombstone bore the names of all of his family members except his name.
One spring day in 1946, the year after Korea’s liberation, Kim Il Sung visited his native place. Climbing Mangyong Hill after an interval of more than 20 years, he often stopped walking and looked around before moving his steps again, recalling his old days. At the hillside he cast his eyes at the graves of his great-grandparents in Phundu-gol and told the accompanying officials as follows: In this valley lie the graves of my great-grandparents and a tombstone in front of them. The tombstone bears the names of all of my family members but my name.
And then he laughed broadly.
Kim Po Hyon wanted to take good care of his deceased parents’ graves with all sincerity but he could not perform his filial duty because of his poor economy. So he was always impelled by feelings of his filial inadequacy. In 1938 he had a simple tombstone built in front of the graves.
Carved on the back side of the tombstone were the names of all family members including those of children on the paternal and maternal sides. But only the name of Kim Il Sung, the eldest great-grandchild of the family, was not seen.
Around this time Kim Il Sung was vigorously conducting military and political activities, relying on the headquarters of the Korean revolution in the secret camp on Mt. Paektu.
The historic victory of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army in the battles at Pochonbo and Jiansanfeng in June 1937 shook the ruling system of the Japanese imperialists to the foundation. In addition, the Japanese imperialists sustained defeats by the KPRA everywhere else so severely that they were shuddered merely to hear the name of General Kim Il Sung.
They admitted that even innocent children in the backwoods held Kim Il Sung in high esteem as the lodestar of liberation. The head of a police station in Changbai County shrieked and swooned as he took the name Kim Il Sin on the card held out to him by a journalist who visited his station for that of Kim Il Sung.
The Korean people have had the names of descendants carved on their ancestors’ tombstone by degree of relationship out of filial duty generation after generation. But the Japanese imperialists attempted to make it impossible for Kim Il Sung’s family to observe such a custom. Worse still, they persistently tried to have the tombstone itself built for fear that his name should be carved there.
After all, the name of Kim Il Sung could not be carved on the tombstone.
Despite the vicious attempts of the Japanese imperialists, his august name is shining brilliantly all over the world along with history.