Kim Jong-un's 6 super-duper titles

Kim Jong-un leads North Korea, but not as president. That title is held by his late grandfather – for eternity. Kim Jong-un's late father, meanwhile, holds the title of 'Supreme Leader' for eternity. For now, the younger Kim has picked up a number of his own titles in the seven months since he became the country’s leader. Here are a few:

1. Marshal of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

David Guttenfelder/AP
In this Feb. 16 file photo, new North Korean leader Kim Jong-un waves at Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang after reviewing a parade of thousands of soldiers and commemorating the 70th birthday of his late father Kim Jong-il.

Seven months after taking over as the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un was officially named the country's top military leader on July 17, 2012. North Korean media reported that the promotion was decided in a meeting of top government, military, and Workers’ Party officials. 

The news was announced in dramatic fashion, according to media reports. First, the North Korean government sent a special TV and radio broadcast alerting the nation that  it would make a “special announcement” around noon. The last time such a  “special” announcement like this had been made in advance on state-run television was when Kim Jong-un's father Kim Jong-il died in December. Monitor correspondent Donald Kirk reports that circumstances of the announcement and the bestowal of the title were designed to hammer home the new leader's control.

He still has one more rank to which to aspire – that of “great marshal,” the title held by his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, and his father. Meaningless though the difference between "marshal" and "great marshal" may appear, the inference is that he is rapidly falling into place as heir to the dynasty – and may soon reign on their same level.

1 of 6

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.