SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea has ordered people who share the name of leader Kim Jong Un to change their names, South Korea’s state-run KBS television reported on Wednesday.
North Korea imposed similar bans on the use of the names of its two former leaders, Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, and grandfather, Kim Il Sung, as part of propaganda drives to build cults of personality around them.
Kim Jong Un’s name is not allowed for newborns and people who share the name must not just stop using it but must change it on their birth certificates and residence registrations, KBS reported, citing an official North Korean directive.
Kim Jong Il, the father of the current leader, issued the order in 2011, when his son was heir apparent, KBS said. The elder Kim died in December that year and his son took power.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles ties with the North, could not immediately confirm the report but said it was plausible.
“The ban is highly possible since North Korea had the same policy in the era of Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung,” a ministry official said.
It is not known how many people there are in North Korea called Kim Jong Un, but Kim is a very common family name and Jong Un are common given names.
(Reporting By Sohee Kim; Editing by Robert Birsel)