President Kim Il Sung's Reminiscences of His Childhood


Source: Writings on the Revolutionary Activities of President Kim Il Sung Vol.1
Publisher: Foreign Languages Publishing House, Pyongyang, DPRK
From: NDFSK Mission in Pyongyang

   "My family was poor, living as tenant farmers in the house of the grave keeper of a landowner. However, my family endeavored to ensure that my father obtained education at any cost because from his childhood he had an ardent desire to learn. So my father was enrolled in the Sungsil Secondary School in Pyongyang in the spring of 1911. He studied under difficulties only until his second school year but then had to leave, unable to pay his school fees."

   "People now call me a general and regard me as a special sort of man, which I am not. I grew up in a farm village and my life has been the same as that of ordinary people. At one time I was a student like you." (Kim Il Sung, Works, Eng. ed., Vol. 1, p. 407.)

   "We, too, ate gruel prepared with ground unhulled kaoliang because we were badly off. It was no better than herb gruel."

   "As a child I never tasted boiled rice. When young we mostly ate kaoliang gruel, and that tasted good."

   "When young, I suffered much from hunger. We had no rice to prepare gruel with and so always ate kaoliang gruel.
   The gruel was prepared with ground unhulled kaoliang and was hard to eat because it had a rough taste. Even so, we could not eat our fill."

   "When I was young my grandfather planted early-ripening potatoes to eat before the barley ripened. Even now I remember eating boiled potatoes in those days."

   "When I was waging the anti-Japanese armed struggle, I ate boar and the meat of other wild animals from time to time, but as a child I never tasted meat."

   "In childhood we ate meat only when we were ill with hwagi (a sort of endemic disease). As a child I once had hwagi on the neck. It disappeared when I ate some meat my grandmother had bought by pawning something. When we felt like eating meat, we said we had better catch hwagi."

   "I could not buy and eat fruit as a child because my family was too poor."

   "When we were young we could rarely afford to eat apples. Under Japanese imperialist rule we could eat them only on New Year's Day, at memorial services and when going on a visit."

   "As a child I received patriotic education from my parents and was greatly influenced by their revolutionary ideas; I experienced national and class conflicts and social inequality and gradually acquired class consciousness and the anti-imperialist spirit. I have followed the path of the new communist movement ever since I stepped into the arena of socio-political activity."

   "During childhood, I was taught by my parents that the Japanese imperialists and the landlords and capitalists were heinous and that colonial society was abominable. Many a time I witnessed Japanese imperialists, landlords and capitalists trampling people's rights underfoot and remorselessly abusing them. In this way I gradually came to realize that the Japanese imperialists and the landlords and capitalists were extortionists.
   When I was 11 years old I came from Badaogou to Pyongyang, and while attending the Changdok School, I realized even more clearly the culpability of Japanese imperialism's colonial rule. At that time, Pyongyang was under the yoke. The streets swarmed with beggars and people were in rags and starving. On the other hand, the wealthy and the Japanese imperialists were leading a luxurious, dissipated life, cruelly oppressing and exploiting the people. The sight of the wretched state of Pyongyang obliged me to account for the fact that while only a few rich people lived well, the overwhelming majority of the population were in poverty, and to account for the Japanese imperialists' presence in Korea and their suppression of Koreans. In particular, when word came that father had been arrested again by the Japanese police, I was seized by an even more fierce, burning hatred for the Japanese imperialists.
   Afterwards, too, while attending school back in China, I witnessed numerous cases of Japanese imperialists, landlords and capitalists' ill-treatment, oppression and exploitation of the people. ... Having witnessed many such inconceivable and inequitable social phenomena, we not only came to realize more clearly the reactionary nature of capitalist society but also resolved to wipe out the landlords, capitalists and Japanese imperialist aggressors who were oppressing and exploiting the people." (Kim Il Sung, Works, Eng. ed., Vol. 25, pp. 5-6.)

   "Father always told the young people of the village, and us too, that we should hate the Japanese imperialists and become patriots fighting for national liberation. Once, seeing people thronging the church, I asked Father why they went there. Father said, `They go to church to pray to God. But there is no God in the church. You should love your own country and believe in your people, not in God. If all the Korean people believe in their strength and build it up, united, they can drive out the Japanese imperialists, achieve national independence and build a country in which they are well off.' This remark expressed his idea of and desire for national liberation.
   Though I was young, his remark became engraved on my memory. This remark exerted a great influence on the development of my thinking."

   "Looking back, I see that Father was progressive. He told his visitors about Lenin and the October socialist revolution, and about the trend of the new communist idea. He pointed to the need for the champions of independence to unite closely and fight, relying on the workers, peasants and other broad masses of the people.
   Father strove to educate and ideologically awaken the exploited and oppressed workers and peasants by going among them to unite them in an organization and rouse them to the anti-Japanese struggle.
   With the firm belief that the revolutionary struggle could be won only by relying on the workers and peasants, Father called on his comrades and the young people to take a new path, the path to communism.
   Father used to argue bitterly with other people; he said that the nationalist movement could not lead the Korean national-liberation movement to victory. As a result Kong Yong, Pak Jin Yong and other champions of the independence movement and many patriotic-minded young people who were directly guided by Father or were under his influence dissociated themselves from the nationalist movement and turned to communism.
   Thus Father responded to the new revolutionary movement which spread rapidly in the world after the October socialist revolution, and he endeavored to change our revolutionary movement that was influenced by nationalism into a revolutionary struggle led by Marxism-Leninism and to develop it into a mass movement that relied on the strength of the workers, peasants and other broad sections of the oppressed people. In short, Father was active as a pioneer in the historic period of the changeover of our revolutionary struggle from the nationalist movement to the communist movement.
   Father's progressive ideas and activities exerted a direct influence on the formation of my world outlook and inspired me to take the path of the communist movement at an early age."

   "Father had 'Aim High' written in large letters put up at the school and in our home. Father always said that if a man were to achieve a great aim he should study above all else. Only when a man studies can he learn to love his country and embark on the path of revolution, and revolution alone can bring about national independence, he said.
   Father educated the champions of independence and young people and students in the spirit of `Aim High' and led them in the revolutionary struggle.
   Father paid particular attention to patriotic education at school and at home. Father put all his efforts into the patriotic education of the younger generation, since he believed that love for one's country makes one conduct the revolution and achieve national independence.
When I was young Father often told me about An Jung Gun, about famous patriotic generals, and about Korean history and geography. As a child I often read books Father recommended to me, most of which were devoted to Korean history and geography and to the activities of famous patriotic Korean generals. When I reached a responsible age he told me about the October socialist revolution, Lenin and the Paris Commune. The `Korean Reader' which Father had written in his sickbed in Fusong and which was used widely as a textbook in Korean schools throughout Manchuria dealt with these matters. Thus Father devoted himself to the education of the younger generation.
   Father was strict and very exacting in our education."

   "I was particularly impressed by Father's indomitable fighting spirit and devoted service to the country and the people. I admired Father's attitude in outfacing the Japanese policemen when he was arrested and I also admired his unwaning revolutionary enthusiasm and indomitable fighting spirit, though he was weak, when he met Mother and me at Pyongyang Gaol and encouraged her by telling her to help the revolutionary comrades in their work and to live with fortitude. I learned from Father's indomitable spirit and intense loyalty to the revolution in helping his comrades in their work, writing textbooks for the younger generation and never ceasing to fight although he was seriously ill in his latter days as a consequence of persecution and torture by the Japanese imperialists.
   Even in his last hours he was concerned about the fate of the country and the future of the revolution and told us to achieve national liberation at any cost by fighting down through the generations. His last words made a very strong impact on me and strengthened my resolve to embark on the path of the revolutionary struggle.
   Father did everything in his power for the country and people and shared life and death, good times and bad, with many champions of independence, so he had many people, revolutionary comrades and friends behind him.
   Thus Father conducted his revolutionary work, receiving active, help, support and encouragement from his revolutionary comrades, friends and the people, and he passed his life enjoying their deep trust and love.
   The personality of Father who respected the masses and took loving care of his comrades exerted a great influence on the development of my thinking, I believe."

   "Viewing critically this situation of the nationalist movement and the initial communist movement in our country, I keenly felt that the struggle should be waged on the strength of our own people and that our own problems should be solved on our own responsibility.
   My father, too, had much revolutionary influence on me conceiving this idea.
   My father was one of the forerunners of the anti-Japanese national liberation movement in our country. In the autumn of 1917 there occurred the sensational `case of 105' in which 105 persons who had been struggling for national liberation in our country were arrested at a time by the Japanese imperialist police. Most of these arrested people were members of the Korean National Association. My father, the organizer of the Korean National Association, was also arrested at the time and spent more than a year in prison. Although he was physically weak when he was released from the prison, he resumed the national-liberation movement. While he was continuing the struggle against the Japanese imperialists, he was arrested again by their police, but he ran away during his escort. He passed away in 1926 when I was 14 years old because of the aftereffects of the torture he had undergone in prison and of the frostbite at the time of his escape from the escorting police.
   My father thought that it would be impossible to win national independence if the anti-Japanese national-liberation movement suffered factional strife and that national independence could be achieved only by uniting the masses of the people and fighting on their strength. He was opposed to factions in this movement and asserted unity." (On the Korean People's Struggle to Apply the Juche Idea, Eng. ed., pp. 8-9.)

   "During my childhood, whenever champions of independence visited us, my father made them stay at our house for a few days, treated them kindly and patiently explained things to them and persuaded them before they left. So they held my father in high esteem and faithfully carried out any task my father gave them. Needless to say, our household finances suffered seriously because of this."

   "My father played the violin and organ well. When I was young my father taught me to play, the organ.
   My father read many books and built up a wide knowledge."

   "When I was young I was greatly influenced not only by Father but also by Mother.
   My mother was gentle and mild in her disposition. She never scolded her children and never quarreled with her family or with our neighbors.
   But she had strength of character. This came from her life full of vicissitudes, I think.
   Mother experienced many hardships in her life, supporting Father and keeping the house, for Father was engaged in revolutionary work all his life.
   Mother did her best to help Father in his revolutionary activities despite harsh persecution by the Japanese imperialists and the hard life in an alien land, and she looked after the champions of independence in all sincerity.
   Even after Father's death she did her utmost to help us in our studies and revolutionary work. She bore a bitter hatred for the enemy and loved her country dearly. But her life was full of hardship.
   Many times I witnessed her strength of character and willpower in my childhood. Once, immediately after Father was arrested by the Japanese police in Kangdong, mounted police rushed to our house and searched it, with Mother stubbornly resisting them. When the policemen began ransacking boxes and rooms, Mother, who was so mild at ordinary times, got angry and took clothes out of the boxes and threw them at the policemen, spitting in their faces and challenging them to continue their search. At first the policemen swaggered about with murder in their eyes, but gradually they became mild in the face of Mother's stubborn resistance, finally becoming disconcerted. This happened when I was six years old, but still I remember Mother's image at that time."

   "Mother was discreet and strict in all matters. The following happened when I was attending Changdok School and had returned to Badaogou from Mangyongdae on hearing that Father had been arrested by the Japanese police.
   Upon my arrival home I learned that Father was in Fusong, having escaped from the Japanese police. My house was under strict surveillance by the police and a cordon had been set up to search for Father.
   Mother met me joyfully after two years' separation and said, `You are a man, indeed. You have come back a long way. Is everyone well at Mangyongdae and at your maternal grandmother's? But you must leave this place tonight. Take your younger brothers with you.' I expected that Mother would detain me for several days as I had come from Korea on foot, covering 400 kilometers, but she told me to leave the same night, which surprised me. I had hoped to stay with Mother for a few days, keeping out of the police's sight, but Mother told me to leave immediately, having shared with me a supper of boiled bean-curd. When I asked where I should go, she told me to go to Ro Gyong Du's house in Linjiang. He was Father's friend.
   That night I left for Badaogou, taking with me both my younger brothers on a sledge, as Mother had told me.
   Although Mother was gentle and mild in character, she was firm and displayed strong willpower in matters of importance and principle, without being moved by compassion.
   Looking back on those days, I think Mother acted in that way partly to cultivate in me a strong will."

   "I also witnessed Mother's strong character when Father died.
   Mother did not weep in front of us, though she grieved over Father's premature death and sent us three brothers, properly dressed for the occasion, to Father's grave, but she did not go.
   On the May Festival, some time after the funeral, we three brothers suggested to Mother that we visit Father's grave together, but she did not agree, telling us to go without her. She visited Father's grave alone instead of going there with us. This was because she did not want us to see her tears or weakness, I think.
   In fact Mother never displayed her sadness after Father's death, and she ensured that I received secondary education, according to Father's will. She carefully kept two pistols used by Father and gave them to me when I embarked on the path of the revolutionary struggle.
   Mother not only gave us active support when we joined the revolutionary struggle but also did her best to help us in our revolutionary work till her final days, at the risk of her life and in spite of the many difficulties."

   "When I was a child, I lived with Mother and received education mainly from her, for Father was not usually at home, being engaged in revolutionary work or in prison.
   Mother always treated us gently and warmly although she experienced hardship and many worries in her life. But she was very strict about matters of principle.
   I went to northeast China after my parents and when I was eleven years old I came to Korea to study.
   When Father told me to go to Korea I gladly agreed, but as I was leaving I felt anxious about the long, lonely journey in the cold weather.

   So I asked Mother, `May I leave when the weather is a little warmer?'
   At this she said, `As your father fixed the date, you must leave on that date even if it is cold.' Having listened to her, I left for Mangyongdae that day."

   "My mother planted a patriotic spirit in me, always saying that I should love the country and become the faithful servant of the people. Even now I remember this significant remark of hers."

   "I embarked on the revolutionary struggle early, secondly because of the influence exerted on me by the social environment.
   As I grew up I witnessed the dark reality of the occupation of the motherland by the Japanese imperialist aggressors.
   In Mangyongdae where I was born and grew up, and wherever my father was active at home and abroad, I often saw the wretched plight of the Korean people suffering from the Japanese imperialists' brutalities under their colonial rule.
   As the saying has it, people without their country are as miserable as a dog in the house of death so the Korean people were in rags and starving without any rights and freedom, and they were ruthlessly trampled underfoot by the Japanese imperialists wherever they went.
   Moreover, while attending Changdok School in Korea, I, though young, was indignant at the sight of the miserable plight of the Korean people suffering under the harsh exploitation and oppression of the Japanese imperialist aggressors and their accomplices-the landlords and capitalists, and I was keenly aware of the need to overthrow the unfair society. Later I witnessed the painful reality of the motherland as I crossed the frontier again singing the Song of the River Amnok, firmly determined not to return to Korea until she was independent. I could not help feeling a heavy responsibility as a son of Korea when I saw my parents and brothers and sisters who were undergoing hardship and were being subjected to every manner of maltreatment and humiliation in a distant alien land, deprived of their motherland and their dear birthplace by the brigandish Japanese imperialists."

   "From childhood we witnessed the miserable plight of our people downtrodden by the Japanese imperialist aggressors and experienced acute sorrow as a stateless nation.
   Occupying Korea, Japanese imperialism established a most brutal and tyrannical colonial rule over our country. The Japanese imperialist aggressors robbed our country of its wealth and ruthlessly exploited our people. They wantonly trampled underfoot even our people's elementary right to live and sanguinarily suppressed their struggle for freedom and liberation. The bestial, outrageous aggressors of Japanese imperialism massacred our patriots and plunged the whole country into a sea of blood.
   We could not just look on at the bestialities perpetrated by the burglarious aggressors of Japanese imperialism and the tragic lot of our fellow countrymen who, deprived of their nation, were going about in rags and hungry, maltreated and humiliated. We started our struggle with a firm determination to crush the Japanese imperialist aggressors and regain our lost homeland at all costs and save our people from distress." (Answers to the Questions Raised by Foreign Journalists, Eng. ed., Vol. 2, pp. 23-24.)

   "During my childhood many a time I witnessed the patriotic activities of the Korean people for national independence and was greatly influenced by them.
   I think it was when I was seven years old that the March First Popular Uprising of the Korean people against the Japanese occupationists broke out. At the time I went to the Potong Gate, following the column of demonstrators from the Mangyongdae area.
   I was deeply impressed by the indomitable fighting spirit and valor of our people in rising against the enemy.
   In Kangdong, Chunggang, Linjiang, Badaogou, Fusong and wherever I went, following my father, many a time I witnessed the patriotic activities of the champions of independence in waging a stubborn struggle to win back their motherland."

   "Revolutionary books played a very great role in the formation of my revolutionary world outlook. I was an avid reader from an early age, and having decided to become a revolutionary, I concentrated on various political books, including Marxist-Leninist literature, and revolutionary works of fiction, in search of the paths of revolutionary struggle." (Kim Il Sung, Works, Eng. ed., Vol. 25, p. 6.)

   "During the first half of the 1920s, when we were growing up, Marxism-Leninism was spreading widely in Korea and China. At that time a large number of Marxist-Leninist books were translated and published in these countries. Under the influence of my father, I began to read these books and other progressive books on social and political subjects in my boyhood. When I was 14 or 15 years old, I devoured The Outline of Socialism, Lenin's life and other books on Marxism-Leninism and progressive books on political subjects." (Kim Il Sung, Works, Eng. ed., Vol. 28, pp. 178-79.)

   "In my school days, I used to give a great deal of thought to the unjust society where man is oppressed and exploited by man, and confirmed my determination to fight for the freedom and happiness of the people." (Kim Il Sung, Works, Eng. ed., Vol. 1, p. 412.)

   "I did not acquire revolutionary ideas through experience as a worker oppressed by the capitalists or by operating a blast furnace. I gradually learned revolutionary ideas by reading revolutionary books while at school. Later I learned about the inequalities that prevailed in the society and determined to crush the landlords and capitalists through revolution. Thus I began the revolution and fought in the mountains for 15 years excluding underground struggle."

   "... The social environment, the influence of my parents and my experience of life promoted the formation of my world outlook and encouraged me to embark on the revolutionary struggle at an early age."

   "When I was young our family lived in Ponghwa-ri. I think I was five years old when we moved there. So I do not fully remember what happened in those days. But I do remember that my family traveled from Mangyongdae to the Maekjon ferry in a boat.
I think the boat was sailing up to Sunchon. My family reached Ponghwa-ri at dusk. At first my family did not lodge in this house. We stayed for several days in another house before moving to our own house."

   "Ponghwa-ri is a good place in which to live. When we lived there it was very quiet around the house. It was only when pupils gathered that it became lively. The children of the village would meet there. The people of Ponghwa-ri accepted my father's instructions with respect and carried them out.
   When I lived in Ponghwa-ri, I climbed Mt. Ponghwa once or twice a year and often went up the hill behind Myongsin School and picked and ate the fruit of the wild jujube trees."

   "There were many wild jujube trees on the hills around Ponghwa-ri. Wild jujube is tasty. In autumn I used to pick wild jujubes and send them by boat to my grandparents in Mangyongdae."

   "During my childhood I helped Mother in her work in many ways. There was no daughter in my family, so I acted as daughter in Mangyongdae and in Kangdong. I would get up early in the morning and fetch water and take it to Father so he could wash. When Mother prepared the meals I sometimes stewed the bean-curd. My parents ate with relish the bean-curd I stewed."

   "An address one makes before people in one's childhood remains long in one's memory. Once I delivered an address at a commemorative meeting in Kangdong, as the Children's Union's congratulating groups do now, by learning by heart a speech prepared by my father. I still remember it vividly."

   "My father was teaching Korean to the children at Myongsin School in the autumn 1917 when he was arrested by the Japanese police. The people of Ponghwa-ri prayed for my father's release for as long as a month . ...
   Ponghwa-ri was a good place for the anti-Japanese revolutionary fighters to conduct their revolutionary activities, out of sight of the Japanese police.
   At the foot of the hill behind Myongsin School I played at soldiers, riding a rock which resembled a horse."

   "... When we went to Kangdong after Father, we together with my great-grandmother, went in a boat. At that time my home was a three-roomed house with a back door opening towards a hill, and some distance up the hill was a rock.
   I remember that many people in turumagi (Korean overcoat) and straw hat called at my house.
   When they called at my house, they usually went up the hill for a talk . ... Sometimes my mother and I would burn documents. We burned bundles of documents and the photographs among them."

   "Father was arrested in Kangdong when I was five years old. On hearing of this Mother and I burned some documents in the kitchen, when the policemen came. They immediately began to search the house. My mother got so angry that she shouted at them, challenging them to search.
   At this the policemen shrank away from her, saying, `Why are you acting like this?'
   The smoke had not fully dispersed in the kitchen where we had just burned the documents. As they looked into the kitchen, the policemen whispered something, but went away . ...
   After my father's arrest my uncle came from Mangyongdae and urged us to go and live in Mangyongdae, but my mother said she would stay where she was. She passed the winter in Kangdong and only the following year did she move house."

   "My father had been to Jiandao many times. Both before and after the March First Movement following the October revolution he went to Longjing, five or six times in all.
   After returning from Jiandao, my father many times told me about the Longjing incident and the struggle of the people'in the Jiandao area.
   Then I was five years old, but the story my father told me is still vivid in my memory ....
   My father said that the people of Jiandao had great fighting spirit."

   "At the time of the March First Movement I was in Mangyongdae. I witnessed the people's struggle, going with the column of demonstrators as far as the Potong Gate. At that time my father was not in Mangyongdae."

   "I remember that I cheered, holding a flaming torch, on MangyongHill on the evening of the outbreak of the March First Movement."

   "My father lived in Chunggang for some time. I think he had gone to the Jiandao area of China after being released from Pyongyang Gaol, and then gone there. My father took us there, from Mangyongdae ....
   We went to Chunggang on foot via Kanggye and Chasong.
   When my father took us to Chunggang, my great-grandmother remained in Mangyongdae. I am sure that my father went to Chunggang after he had been to the Jiandao area following his recovery from illness . ... We stayed in Chunggang for 15-20 days.
   My father had many friends. Some were in Kanggye and others in Sinuiju.
   On my way to Mangyongdae I stayed overnight at my father's friend's in Kanggye, and I was not charged for my board.
   At that time it was difficult to register the family in Chunggang. After our arrival there Kang Gi Rak negotiated with an official of the sub-county office about registering the family. When he obtained the register I cast a side glance at it and found that my father's name was underlined in red.
   So we could stay no longer in Chunggang and moved to Linjiang.
   After our removal to Linjiang I visited Chunggang several times.
   In Linjiang we lived in a long house next door to a flour mill. In between was the kitchen which was near entrance to the street, so matters were very complicated. My father set up the `Sunchon Medical Practitioner's Office' in that house.
   At that time the Japanese imperialists moved freely around Linjiang. So we moved to Badaogou, our removal taking several days."

   "There used to be a church in Popyong. The church served as a base for educating the young people and planting the seed of revolution in their minds.
   My father gathered together the young people in the church and taught them to play the organ and told them stories. Those who gathered in the church were all patriotic-minded young people and the church served as an important center. I learned to play the organ from my father and could perform some pieces of music. So I often went to the church to play the organ ....
   We often went to Popyong, which was a large town.
   When we lived in Badaogou we went there to see the Korean wrestling on the May Festival, and when the River Amnok was frozen we went there to fetch the mail twice a week.
   In Popyong there was a house from where my father sent postal matter and where letters for my father were kept. The house made and sold noodles.
   The owner of the house was a friend of my father. He gave us the mail for my father when we went to his house, or he brought it to us.
   I used, to go there to fetch Chosun Ilbo, Dong-A Ilbo and other newspapers and magazines published in Korea and medical magazines published in Japan. I would go there to fetch the mail when the River Amnok was frozen.
   When there was a lot of mail, my uncle and I went there on a sledge to fetch it.
   When the ice on the river melted, but it was dangerous to cross the river by ferry my father sent my uncle to fetch the mail, but not me.
   The noodle house to which we went for our mail was L-shaped. The kitchen was at the angle, the living room in one wing and a room with a board-floored doorstep in the other wing.
   The family of the house lived in the living room and in the room with the board-floored doorstep noodles and sometimes meat soup or wine were served.
   There was a garden in front of the room which faced the River Amnok.
   When I came for the mail I entered the living room, not the other room . ... In front of the history museum built first there was a Japanese shop adjoining a Japanese custom house and several Japanese houses.
   The Japanese lived only in this quarter. I had to go through this quarter to get to the noodle house for the mail.
   In Popyong there was a family who came from Hamgyong Province. The women of the house were good-natured. The house had no separate guest room and no partition between the heated room and the kitchen where there was a cauldron like in the houses in Hamgyong Province.
   When I lived in Badaogou, I often visited this house. In Popyong there was only this house that was like one in Hamgyong Province, I think
   The mistress of the house was extremely attractive. She was older than my mother. Her sister frequented my home.
   In Popyong there was a police substation. I went there two or three times.
   When my father's comrades-in-arms were thrown into Popyong police substation, I went there on my father's behalf to take food and clothes to them.
   I clearly remember the arrangement of the police substation. There was a cleaner at the police substation who was a good man.
   He produced a description of the police substation and conveyed it to the noodle house . ...
   Two or three houses away from the police substation there was a house. I don't clearly remember who lived there. I took a slip of paper from my father twice, unnoticed by the police.
   I don't know what was written on it because it was sealed.
   Several kilometres away from Popyong was the Rajuk Primary School .... The teachers of the school called on my father on several occasions, talked and had dinner with him. Later there. was a strike at the Rajuk Primary School."

   "During my childhood I went to that house frequently to fetch mail. Every day the master of the house brought Dong-A Ilbo, Chosun Ilbo and other newspapers and magazines and publications published in Korea from the Popyong post office and kept them in his house. As my father told me, I went to that house and brought the magazines twice a week. It was difficult to cross the river if it was not covered with ice. This was because travel across the border was strictly controlled under Zhang Zuolin's rule before the establishment of 'Manchukuo'. When the river was frozen, I crossed and recrossed the river once every other day, and on Sundays I crossed it as I liked. When I was studying uncle Kim Hyong Gwon went on the errand.
   During the holiday I went on an errand every day. As Popyong was not far from Badaogou, I went there and returned at dinner time. On cold days I warmed myself at the house and at times I went in and sat there for a while. When I was pressed for time, I returned immediately."

   "I went to Tuji-dong on an errand for my father once or twice. At that time there was a Japanese police substation in Tuji-dong."

   "Although old Hong Jong U was an assistant of the military police, he was a friend of my father and protected him. He actively supported my father's revolutionary work behind the scenes.
   Many a time I conveyed a letter from my father to old man Hong Jong U and brought a letter from him to my father."

   "One day after I had left the Badaogou Primary School my father said to me that I had better go to Korea to study. This was so that I could learn the Korean language better and witness the miserable situation in Korea, I think., I was only eleven years old, but my father told me to go to Mangyongdae alone.
   My mother felt uneasy, but she spent the whole night preparing for my journey, making a turumagi (Korean overcoat) and Korean socks for me. The next morning my father told me to leave immediately. I made a firm resolve to study in Korea as my father had told me to, but as I left the side of my parents, I felt unhappy.
   Even now that day is unforgettable for me. He jotted down my itinerary as far as Pyongyang, indicating how far it was from Huchang to the next place and from Kanggye to the next place, and he told me to send a telegram to him from Kanggye and Pyongyang. I travelled to Huchang on a sledge according to the itinerary my father had written in my memobook and then on foot to Kanggye. On my arrival at Kanggye I sent him a telegram stating. `Arrived safely at Kanggye', as he had told me to, and reached Mangyongdae in 13 days via Huichon, Kaechon and Anju."

   "So it was when I was eleven years old that I left Badaogou for my homeland alone to learn the Korean language better and cultivate a patriotic spirit by witnessing the miserable situation in my homeland as my father had told me to. I left on the 16th of March.
I arrived at Mangyongdae covering the distance of 400 kilometers in 13 days via Huchang, Hwapyong, Kanggye, Huichon and Kaechon."

   "In my motherland I passed through Huchang, a former county seat, across Mt. Oga and then through Hwapyong County, Changgang, Kanggye and Chonchon, across Kae Pass to Huichon and to Kaechon where I boarded a train, and then I arrived at Mangyongdae."

   "I met a person who ran an inn in Woltan-ri, which had been the Huchang county seat before liberation . ... He came from Pyongan Province. He had lived near Pyongyang before moving to Woltan-ri to run an inn .... When I, aged seven, had gone to Chunggang from Mangyongdae, I did not call at his home because I went via Chasong. But when I was eleven years old I called at his home on my way to Mangyongdae from Badaogou. So, as my father told me to, I visited the inn in Huchang on my way to Mangyongdae, and the family welcomed me."

   "I also stayed overnight in Hwapyong on my way to Mangyongdae.
   There is a village at the foot of Chik Pass at some distance from the town of Hwapyong. In the village, there were four or five houses and an inn.
   I stayed overnight at the inn.
   It is 72 kilometers from Huchang to Hwapyong. I reached Hwapyong after two or three days, covering 24-28 kilometers a day.
   On my way from Popyong I stayed the first night at a close friend of my father's in Tuji-dong.
   Even now I remember the pass over Mt. Oga. At that time I crossed the pass over Mt. Oga on foot. People said that the Oga mountain pass was dangerous, with many tigers, bears and other wild animals.
   Traveling on foot up the pass at that time, my feet became blistered, and I seared the blisters with a burning match, I remember. When I left Badaogou, my father wrote down in my memo-book notes indicating who lived where, what was where and where I should stay overnight.
   I traveled on foot, marking the itinerary my father had written in my memo-book. When my legs hurt, I had a passing cart give me a lift."

   "I passed a whole day in crossing the pass over Mt. Oga on my way to Mangyongdae when I was eleven years old. The pass over Mt. Oga is higher than Chik Pass. At the foot of the pass over Mt. Oga there was a stableman's where I stayed overnight, and the next day I crossed the pass and reached Kanggye."

   "When I was eleven years old I went to the motherland. Leaving Popyong at that time, I crossed Mt. Oga and reached Kanggye, going through Hwapyong and Changgang Counties.
   I took the road passing the present provincial security office and the wine brewery and entered Kanggye late in the evening, staying overnight at an inn.
   As I entered the inn I met the innkeeper. He was of ordinary stature, had long hair and wore white Korean clothes and a black jacket. He looked as old as my father, about thirty years old ....
   He was progressive and a close friend of my father. He was expecting me, having received a telegram from my father, he said.
   At the inn there was an elderly lady who was on familiar terms with my father. She treated me very kindly.
   She served me with beef-rib soup and broiled herrings. At the inn there were also some children. I spent the night at that inn, sleeping under a new quilt.
   The next day I went to the post office and sent my father a telegram telling him that I had arrived at Kanggye ....
   The next day the innkeeper went to a car station to make arrangements for me to go to Mangyongdae by car. But, finding that the car had broken down and would be available only after ten days or so, he urged me to stay at his house until it was repaired.
   I told the innkeeper that I was in a hurry. I stayed for two days there and the innkeeper gave me two pairs of straw sandals he had made and, on the third day, found a cartman for me. Then I left the inn wearing one of the pairs of sandals, the other pair slung over my shoulder. I received really great hospitality at that inn."

   "Changdok School was where I was educated in our country for the first time. My memories of Chilgol and Changdok School were a source of great strength for me in the anti-Japanese armed struggle."

   "While I was a pupil at Changdok School in Chilgol, I received physical education from a teacher at the school. Still I vividly remember how at the age of eleven I attended lessons at Changdok School. The teachers there used to organize prize sports contests between Changdok School and Taepyong School.
   During my childhood I was not very fond of sports, but the physical training teacher organized such interesting lessons that I became interested in sports and took part in the lessons with pleasure."

   "While at Changdok School I once went on an excursion to Mt. Chongbang, at the age of eleven., We boarded a train for Chongbang Station and went on foot up to Mt. Chongbang. We visited a temple and had a very pleasant time."

   "I worked while I lived at Mangyongdae to which I went from Badaogou at the age of eleven.
I pastured cattle and mowed the grass as feed, so helping my grandfather. In those days pupils all worked at home during the holidays."

   "When I attended school, all the pupils would go out to gather pine cones and, by feeding the stove with them, were able to attend lessons in winter. In those days the farmers collected roots of foxtail millet and dried grass from embankments and used them as fuel."

   "During my childhood every year I went up Mt. Ryongak to swim or to play. I don't know whether the place where I used to swim is still there.
   I climbed Mt. Ryongak to play when I attended Changdok School in Mangyongdae to which I came from Badaogou at the age of eleven. Even after liberation I went to Mt. Ryongak.
   There used to be two or three temples on Mt. Ryongak, I think."

   "I crossed the Amnok River when I was 13, firmly determined not to return before Korea became independent. Young as I was, I could not repress my sorrow as I sang the Song of the Amnok River written by someone and wondered when I would be able to tread this land again, when I would return to this land where I had grown up and where there were our forefathers' graves." (Kim Il Sung, Works, Eng. ed., Vol. 1, p. 321.)

   "I still vividly remember the inn at Kanggye. The inn had a raised dirt-floor verandah and a stable. The innkeeper wore Korean dress.
I stayed at the inn on my way to Chunggang at the age of seven and on my way to Mangyongdae from Badaogou at the age of eleven.
   I also stayed at the inn when I went again to Badaogou from Mangyongdae, having heard that my father had been arrested by the Japanese police, the innkeeper seemed to have gone into hiding. It seems that after my father was arrested he kept clear of the Japanese police. The innkeeper in Kanggye came home for a while that night and told me to leave quickly. There were only women at the inn, with the innkeeper having gone into hiding."

   "On my arrival at Badaogou my mother told me to leave for Linjiang that night, taking Choi Ju and Yong Ju with me. So we left for Linjiang on Inspector Song's sledge."

   "I left Badaogou quickly, cheering up my young brothers who became frightened as the sun set and it grew dark. In those days there were many bandits in northeast China and they often attacked people. We arrived safely at Linjiang two days after leaving home and went to Ro Gyong Du's house. He entertained us with warm hospitality, calling us Mr. Kim's sons."

   "When I left Badaogou, my mother told me that she would come no later than 15 days after us. In fact, she came' 10 days after our arrival at Linjiang. I still remember the events of that day.
   After she had exchanged civilities with the master and mistress of the house she suggested that we go out to a Chinese restaurant, and there she bought us each a dish of steamed meat dumplings. I thought she wanted us to have a square meal with us being away from home, but that was not the reason. She had invited us because she wanted to ask us about something in private. She asked us whether any suspicious-looking people had visited the house and inquired about us, whether we had called at any other house, who knew where we were staying and whether the master of the house was kind to us. She told us not to tell anyone the name of my father. She told us about various matters that had to be taken care of. We stayed in Linjiang for a while before going to Fusong where our father was living."

   "When we had arrived at Linjiang, Ro Gyong Du had called my father in Fusong by telephone. I spoke to my father over the long-distance telephone.
   So, having arrived, we had stayed at Ro Gyong Du's, waiting for my mother to come from Badaogou before going to Fusong. There two Independence Army men met us.
   In Fusong at that time lived Chang Chol Ho and Ryang Se Bong, company commanders of the Independence Army under Chongui-bu. Father was on close terms with O Dong Jin, a commander of the Independence Army under Chongui-bu. My father sent two Independence Army men to us with the help of O Dong Jin. They wore hemp hoods, and they protected us.
We stayed one night at Songshuzhen and the next day met my father at Daying."

   "When my father died, many people came to his funeral.
   In our house stayed Ryang Se Bong, O Dong Jin and other commanders of the Independence Army, and because our house was small, low-ranking people stayed at the inn belonging to sub-county head Choe, my neighbor.
   At my father's funeral in Yangdi village in Fusong, O Dong Jin, Chang Chol Ho, Kim Si U and many other people pledged at the graveside that they would accomplish the work my father had left unfinished. At that time I was fourteen years old, and still I remember the events of those days."
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