April 13, 2024
Analysis

Cry me a river: How North Koreans interpret Kim Jong Un’s tears

Experts say state media coverage seeks to ‘humanize’ the leader, regardless of whether the tears are genuine or theater

The North Korean leader was seated on stage, apparently listening to a speech at a meeting of mothers from across the country last week, when the tears started to flow. He took a deep breath as if to hold it in. His eyes grew redder, and he dabbed at them with a handkerchief.

State television captured the moment and broadcast it to the nation, cutting between Kim Jong Un crying and shots of teary-eyed mothers in the crowd.

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