January 8th marked the birthday of North Korean leader Kim-Jong Un but nobody celebrated with him.
According to the regime of the DPRK, the day is just a normal working day.
Unlike his father and grandfather, the regime has never publically confirmed Kim’s birthday since he came into power in 2011.
Former basketball star Dennis Rodman was in North Korea on Kim’s birthday in 2014 and sang “happy birthday” to him during a basketball match in Pyongyang.
Local citizens were told that Rodman had sung a special song and no mention of his birthday was made.
Former leaders Kim-Jong Il had his birthday marked on Feb 16 and the day was referred to as the “Day of the Shining Star.” Kim’s grandfather and North Korea’s first leader Kim Il Sung celebrated his birthday on April 15 and the day was known as the “Day of the Sun.”
Some experts believed that Kim’s birthday this year would be declared a public holiday after successful missile launches and the countries sixth nuclear test in 2017.
A source from North Korea told South-Korea based source Daily NK last month that approval ratings of the regime has fallen to a low after the UN passed multiple rounds of economic sanctions against Pyongyang last year as punishment for its nuclear development.
“International sanctions, especially those instituted after the 6th nuclear test in September, have caused a lot of hardship for workers with many losing their jobs as a result of the gradual slowing of coal exports. So public opinion of Kim Jong Un has dropped to a new low.
“As the government pushes propaganda about its nuclear and missile development while even the more successful merchants are losing jobs and going hungry this year, people would only ridicule Kim Jong Un if they saw his birthday had been made a holiday.”
The true extent of Kim’s popularity is however unknown to the outside world. Aiden Foster-Carter who is a Korea expert and honorary lecturer at Leeds University told The Independent: “I don’t think we know anything for sure about his popularity one way or another apart from it’s extremely dangerous to speak out against him.”