Questions about Kim Jong Un’s (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) maternal family lineage have once again floated to the surface. Since his December 2011 accession, official documentary films and essays about KJU have been released and two treatises attributed to him were publicized. However, neither the Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Propaganda and Agitation Department nor the Party History Institute have released an official biography about him. This should not suggest that the party image makers have not compiled or disseminated information about KJU’s background; biographical data on KJU has been released and discussed in party cell meetings of security organizations. The only reported references to KJU’s lineage are oblique references to a “respected mother” and “Mother of Korea,” believed to be KJU’s mother Ko Yong Hui (Ko Yo’ng-hu’i), found in 2002 Korean People’s Army [KPA] indoctrination literature and in a 2012 poem published in Rodong Sinmun.
For a number of years Ko Yong Hui’s father was believed to be Ko T’ae-mun. Mr. Ko was born on Cheju Island and migrated to the Osaka area with his father. Ko was trained as a judoist and later became a professional wrestler. Through his connections in the Osaka martial arts community, he was recruited by members of Chosen Soren (Ch’ongryo’n; General Association of Korean Residents in Japan) to move to the DPRK with his family in the early 1960s. According to this account, Ko was responsible for introducing judo to the DPRK, which earned him Kim Il Sung’s attention.
In 2006 South Korea’s NIS claimed that Ko Yong Hui was not the daughter of Ko T’ae-mun. The focus of current media reporting is that she was the daughter of Ko Kyo’ng-t’aek. Ko Kyo’ng-t’aek was also born on Cheju Island in the 1920s and moved to Osaka. He worked at a Japanese garment factory before migrating to the DPRK in the early 1960s. In the DPRK he worked at a chemical factory in North Hamgyo’ng Province. Ko Kyo’ng-t’aek was subsequently profiled in a Chosen Soren publication in the 1970s. That profile included a reference to a daughter who, like Ko Yong Hui, was a dancer in the Mansudae Art Troupe.