Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pyongyang dictator's son and his magician on a romantic leave to Paris?

Next week, Kim Jong-nam the eldest son of Kim Jong-il, ruler of North Korea, is said to be again heading for Paris and this time with Ms. Hikita Tenko, the magician. Sulfurous rumour? No. Neither an escape from the Stalinian regime but a simple journey. Simple? Or is it an initiation journey back to the source of Korean shamanism* re-interpreted, how ironical, by the heir of a Marxist Leninist dictator bound for the capital of stars and lights?

Well, there are maybe suspicions of financial issues linked to this journey, or is it just gambling, medical treatment? Is it attraction and nostalgia for the atmosphere of France known as the country of lovers and for creating a romantic mood as Nicolas Sarkozy's alleged engagement with "Carla" attested. Ouch. What is related to the dictator's son travel to France? "If the journey is attested, maybe financial reasons", according to Tokyo based sources.

Kim Jong-nam was in Paris in november. He was caught by Asian media strolling in Paris streets and was asked what was he doing in the City of Lights, Kim Jong-Il son answered them in fluent French: "I came here to see a dentist. I don't have much to say. Sorry." Asked how he can speak fluent French, he replied, "You know I studied in Europe."

Kim Jong-nam was one of the heirs of the North Korean ruler until recently. It is believed that he was being groomed as Kim Jong-il's successor but it appears that, according to North Korea watchers, recent reports suggest that although he may for a time have fallen from favor. Nevertheless, Kim Jong-nam is now "once again seen as a possible successor to his father - dictator Dear Leader..."

Going to Paris with a magician is an other form of North Korean hazardous diplomacy?

Who is this magician? Princess Hikita Tenko is the stage name of Mariko Itakura (板倉満里子 Itakura Mariko) born in 1959 in Arai, Niigata, a region known for numerous cases of North Korean spies abducting Japanese citizens.

Tenko is a pop singer turned magician specializing in grand illusions. Her name is taken from Tenkō Hikita (引田天功 Hikita Tenkō), a male Japanese magician who was managed by the same person as Mariko and to whom Mariko was apprenticed in 1976.

A magical affair or a mere business trip, Harry Potter or Disneyland inspired, point is taken that the son of the dictator and the magician are for the least a quite unusual couple. More appreciated than a romance would be a North Korea democratization and denuclearization... "par un coup de baguette magique".

Dictators, ex or current, in action mode or in "peopleization mode", they all seem to be fascinated by the Seine river bank. Quite unfair and frankly " très discourtois."

* On the Korean peninsula, shamanism and magic are common phenomenon, if true, the fact is that dictatorship and repression of North Korean society neither played nor altered deep rooted superstition and traditions regarded as "opium mania" in North Korean society. Who are these magicians? A woman known as a shaman is called a “Mudang” and is part of a tradition that predates nearly every religion and looks to the spiritual world for guidance. A Mudang is chosen two ways. In divine election, the spirits have communicated with them and realized the person’s ability to communicate spiritually. Other Mudangs come from a line of shamans that pass down their tradition. I met some of them and realized documentary magazine on the French broadcasting channel.