Researcher claims North Korea’s Kim Jong-un loved manga, got bad grades as a teen

Plus, his familial connection to Sailor Moon fandom.

Sometimes, it’s easy to spot a hardcore anime or manga fan. The guy in the faded bootleg Tenchi Muyo T-shirt, for example, is probably a life-ling otaku, and so too is the woman who plays the Yuri on Ice theme every time she gets in her car.

But sometimes, otaku can pop up in unexpected places, like when you suddenly find out that your coworker’s sister is really into cosplay, your neighbor’s living room shelves are lined with anime figures, or the supreme leader of North Korea loves manga.

Japanese TV program Yabai Hanashi The World recently sent pro boxer-turned-media personality Daiki Kameda to Bern, Switzerland, where North Korean Workers’ Party Chairman Kim Jong-un studied under a false name for four years, starting when he was 12. While in Bern, Kameda spoke with researcher Gabriel Myer.

“[Kim Jong-un] loved the NBA,” Myer said in a taped segment, referring to the American professional basketball league, “and was a big fan of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.” But Myer claimed that Kim was also a big fan of manga, and, not surprisingly, basketball manga.

“Slam Dunk, something like that was the name of one of the manga he read,” Myer continued, invoking the name of the most popular basketball manga of all time, which was serialized from 1990 to 1996, which would overlap with Kim’s reported time in Bern during the mid-‘90s. Myer went on to say that Kim’s younger sister, Yo-jong, who studied in Bern at the same time, was also a manga fan, with a particular fondness for Sailor Moon. Back in the Yabai Hanashi The World studio, Kameda also relayed Myer’s statement that the older Kim was a Dragon Ball fan as well.

In the taped segment, Myer also asserted that while Kim Jong-un spent a lot of time reading manga, he apparently didn’t spend so much time studying, and got poor grades during his time in Switzerland. So now we’re left to wonder if his father, previous North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was ever seen grumbling to himself and worrying if his son was going to end up a hikkikomori otaku NEET.

Source: Livedoor News via Anime News Network/Lynzee Loveridge, The Guardian
Top image: Wikipedia/Lukepryke

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