The Great Successor

Kim Jong Un: A Political Cartoon, An Epic Comic of the Dark Kingdom and the Passing of Power to a Third Kim

Fiction - Graphic Novel/Comic
174 Pages
Reviewed on 06/18/2016
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Author Biography

Written by Ha Tae Keung
Born in Busan on March 29, 1968, Prof. Ha graduated from the Department of Physics of Seoul National University, then studied at the Graduate School of Interpretation and Translation of Pusan National University and the Graduate School of International Studies of Korea University. He received a doctorate in economics from Jilin University in China and also served as a Reagan Fellow at the US Democracy Research Institute. Since his college years, he has been highly interested in North Korean and unification issues.
While working as a senior researcher at the SK Telecom Business and Economy Research Institute, he conducted volunteer activities related to North Korea. In November 2005, he established Open Radio for North Korea and fully immersed himself in North Korean human rights issues. As the CEO of Open Radio for North Korea, which provides radio broadcasts for the North, he delivers information on the rest of the world to North Korean residents. He is actively using newspapers and television broadcasts to inform residents in South Korea and the rest of the world about the seriousness of North Korean human rights issues. He also wrote the book, Analysis of Actual Human Rights Conditions in North Korea and Issues Regarding North Korean Human Rights Movements. Ha is currently an elected member of the Republic of Korea’s National Assembly.
Illustrated by Choi Byeong-seon
Born in Pyongyang on March 22, 1946, Mr. Choi survived the Korean war and later traveled to the US where he majored in design at the New York Art School in 1961. He is now a researcher at the Global Artists Association and a director of the Korea Cartoonists Association.
With inborn talent in drawing and writing, he demonstrated his ability at an early age. He has worked on cartoons, calligraphy, drawings, and genre paintings, and made caricatures of intangible cultural properties. He has been continually acting as a cultural envoy in each area of politics, economics, and society with works that include Cartoon Korean History, Cartoon World History, Encyclopedia for Learning, and A Child from Pyongyang. He announced countless works through magazines, newspapers, and books, including When Dad Was Little, which was published serially on Sports Chosun.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite

“I hope this book makes at least a small contribution to accurately publicizing the true nature of the young successor, of whom little is known.” Ha Tae Keung.

The Great Successor - Kim Jong Un: A Political Cartoon is a comic book detailing the succession to power of the present North Korea leader, written by Ha Tae Keung, president of Open Radio for North Korea, which broadcasts educational, cultural and personal message programming into North Korea. This book is illustrated by artist Choi Byeong Seon, a researcher at the Global Artists Association and a director of the Korea Cartoonists Association.

Perhaps this is the most serious and thought-provoking comic book that I’ve ever read. Reading or listening to any news about the self-isolated North Korea is sporadic at best. This book gives us insight into the North Korea dictator’s past, present, and the sentiments towards him and his ruling. Readers will also learn about Jong Un’s half older brother, Kim Jong Nam, who was once widely considered to be the next leader of North Korea. Jong Nam’s capitalist nature and his desire for reformation of the country, however, were opposed by his father. His much-publicized botched attempt to secretly enter Japan using a fake passport and visit Tokyo Disneyland in 2001 was his ultimate downfall with his father and North Korea’s elite.

The illustrated feelings of the North and South Koreans regarding the succession give us a rare and informative glimpse into this particular event. All in all, this is a great read and ultimately, the North Koreans are hoping for a better future. Hopefully that day will come soon.