Ordinary North Koreans are no longer going out of their way to show esteem for their leader Kim Jong Un. They are also less careful about addressing him in respectful terms.
A source in North Hamgyong Province told Radio Free Asia the trend dates to the era of Kim Jong Il, who ruled the country between 1994 and 2011.
“Even when Kim Jong Il was alive, there was a gradual shift to no longer addressing the leader in honorifics,” the source was quoted as saying by UPI online. “It was only until we entered the Kim Jong Un era the trend has come out in the open.”
Feelings of reverence for the leadership have waned with economic changes, the source added.
A second source in the same province said the decline in the use of honorifics began among Workers’ Party officials at the regional level, as well as among officials in the judiciary.
“Among close friends, it is my understanding they no longer address Kim respectfully,” the source said.
The report also stated when titles that elevate Kim’s status are used among people who know each other well, they are teased about it.
But among strangers interacting in the unofficial markets or at train stations, the honorific titles continue to be employed out of caution, according to the report.