Here Are The Photos Of Kim Jong Un Riding A White Steed You Never Asked For

It’s corny, but the horse is special in North Korean culture, making this among the most propaganda-laden imagery the regime can distribute.

byTyler Rogoway|
North Korea photo


Kim Jong Un probably feels like a knight in shining armor after finagling his way into having the U.S. stand down from a military confrontation while also continuing on with his nuclear and missile programs

while also being praised excessively by the President of United States and obtaining unprecedented photo ops with him on no less than three separate occasions, while also tightening ties with his neighbors, China and Russia. It has truly been an incredible couple of years for the Chairman of Juche, Kim Jong Un. With all this in mind, these glorious photos of the Hermit Kingdom's "Young General" riding a decorated white horse through a snowy landscape at the top of sacred Mt. Paektu probably fit perfectly with his dashing vision of himself and the one he and his henchmen want to portray to their people, many of which live on the brink of starvation on any given day.

The reality is that Kim grew up as something of a secondary prince of a kingdom many detested and even fewer visited. Still, the life of a despot's son offered a lot of opportunities. Kim's obsession with aviation was fostered by the military dictatorship his family presided over, for instance. Horseback riding is also a famed Kim family tradition that has symbolic roots that date back to Kim Il Sung's rise to power. As such, horses play a substantial part in the propaganda surrounding the supposedly divine Kim Dynasty, one that only dates back about 65 years. Grand paintings and statues in North Korea's most important public spaces show Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il riding triumphantly on horseback. Now Kim Jong Un is joining their ranks symbolically. 

A grand statue located in Pyongyang of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Un riding steeds., Nicor/Wikicommons
 Kim Il Sung on horseback carrying a young Kim Jong Il on Mt. Paektu.,

Like everything else in North Korea, these images rhyme with those perpetuated by past iterations of the Kim regime in an attempt to subliminally fortify the young ruler's connection with the cherished bloodline of North Korea's brutal ruling family. 


As such, even though these images may seem bizarre, they are hardly unique. In fact, Kim Jong Un has been seen atop a horse before, including alongside his entourage of toadies and yes men, many of which have since been liquidated.

A younger Kim riding with his inner circle—some of which have since gotten the axe—during a military inspection. Image circa 2012. , KCNA
Kim and his mount in a gallop seven years ago., KCNA

The horse is clearly a symbol of strength and progress in North Korea. In fact, the mythological winged horse Chollima is probably the closest thing one can find to a national animal in the Hermit Kingdom. It not only has a military and power element to its symbolism, but it also connects North Korea's leadership with its subjects, many of which live heard agrarian lives. 

So, putting Kim Jong Un on a white horse adorned with decorative bridal and tack at the most sacred geographical location in the entire country is just about as divine as it gets propaganda-wise, even though it may look downright ridiculous to those of us in the free world. 

As to how many North Koreans really buy into this type of thing, that's debatable. But the regime clearly finds great value in pulling out their trusty propaganda playbook and running the same old plays over and over again for decades on end. 

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