North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Ki Nam Funeral Committee

KWP Secretary Kim Ki-nam (1st from left) greets former PRC Ambassador to the DPRK Liu Hongcai (right), along with late WPK United Front Department Director Kim Yang-gon and WPK International Department official Kim Song Nam.

Kim Ki Nam, former DPRK propaganda and culture chieftain, passed away due to old age and chronic health (“decrepitude and multiple organ dysfunction,” according to KCNA) at the age of 94 in Pyongyang on 7 May (Tuesday).  KKN was a mentor to Kim Yo Jong and had a patronage network within DPRK media and culture that affected the careers of dozens of DPRK writers and media figures.  He was also a close social cohort (a/k/a drinking buddy) to late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il (KJI; Kim Cho’ng-il).  Kim Ki Nam was the country’s “slogan master” and the proverbial “iron hand in the velvet glove.”  For six decades, Kim was an academic, but more importantly the most influential elite on DPRK press, rhetoric, media reporting, ideology and essay writing in the last four decades; this ran the gamut from suppressing media reports during the 1970s about former DPRK first lady Kim Song Ae to ghostwriting essays by North Korean leaders.

Kim effectively retired in 2017 during the second plenary meeting of the 7th Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Central Committee in 2017.  However, he discharged a number of public functions on behalf of the man who replaced him, Pak Kwang Ho, when Pak experienced health problems.  Until 2022 he continued to attend public events, but faded from public view due to advanced age.

Kim Jong Un (KJU; Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visited the funeral parlor organized for KKN at 2:00 AM KST on 8 May (Wednesday) and among those in attendance were: Kim Tok Hun (DPRK Premier), Jo Yong Won (WPK Secretary for Organizational Affairs), Choe Ryong Hae (Supreme People’s Assembly Standing Committee Chairman), MAR Ri Pyong Chol (senior WPK Secretary), Jon Hyon Chol (WPK Secretary for Economic Affairs), Ri Il Hwan (WPK Secretary for Propaganda and Workers’ Organizations), Kim Jae Ryong (WPK Secretary for Cadres’ Affairs), Jo Chun Ryong (WPK Secretary for Defense Industry) and Pak Thae Song (WPK Secretary for Science and Education).

North Korea's Kim Jong-un visits former propaganda secretary Kim Ki-nam's grave to mourn

Kim Jong Un and senior DPRK officials visit the funeral parlor for Kim Ki Nam during the early morning of 8 May 2024 in Pyongyang (Photo: KCNA/Yonhap).


You can read more about Kim Ki Nam here in a biosketch last updated in 2018.


A state funeral committee was formed and its members are:



Kim Jong Un



Kim Tok Hun

Jo Yong Won

Ri Pyong Chol

Ri Il Hwan

Pak Jong Chon

Kim Jae Ryong

Jo Chun Ryong

Jon Hyon Chol

Pak Thae Song

O Su Yong

Kang Sun Nam

Jong Kyong Thaek

Pak Jong Gun

Choe Son Hui

Ri Yong Gil

Ju Chang Il

Kim Chol Sam

Kim Hyong Sik

Han Kwang Sang

Ju Chol Gyu

Kim Song Nam

Kim Yong Chol

Yang Sung Ho

Ri Chol Man

Ri Chang Dae

Ri Thae Sop

Kim Su Gil

Kang Sun Sok

Kim Myong Hun

Pak Hun

Jong Song Guk

Kim Ho Chol

Ri Tu Song

Choe Tong Myong

O Il Jong

Ri Son Gwon

Kim Pong Chol

Kim Yong Su

Pak Jong Nam

Ri Hye Jong

Pang Tu Sop

Choe Chol Ung

Hong Sung Mu

Kim Jong Suk

Sin Ryong Man

Kim Yo Jong

Pak Song Chol

Ri Kyong Chol

Pak Chang Ho

Pak Thae Dok

Kang Pong Hun

Paek Song Guk

Kim Yong Hwan

Ri Jong Nam

Ri Thae Il

Ri Jae Nam

Sin Yong Chol

Kim Yong Gyu

Pak Hui Chol

Jo Kyong Chol

Jong Myong Do

Sin Ki Chol

Pak Yong Il

Kwon Thae Yong

Jang Il Gun

Kim Jong Nam

Ri Kyong Il

Kim Kum Chol

Kim Yu Il

Jon Hak Chol

An Kum Chol

Kim Chol Ha

Kang Jong Gwan

Ri Sang Do

Kim Chung Song

Han Ryong Guk

An Kyong Gun

Ju Yong Il

So Jong Jin

Ri Son Chol

Kim Chang Sok

Jo Yong Chol

Song Chun Sop

Jin Kum Song

Yun Jong Ho

Ri Chung Gil

Kim Sung Jin

Kim Kyong Jun

Rim Kyong Jae

Kim Kwang Jin

Kwak Jong Jun

Kim Sung Du

Jong Mu Rim

Sung Jong Gyu

Kim Il guk

Paek Min Gwang

Ri Chol San


KCNA published a death announcement about Kim Ki Nam which read


Kim Ki Nam, former secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, died at the age of 94 at 10:00 of May 7, Juche 113 (2024) while being treated in sickbed for decrepitude and multiple organ dysfunction since April 2022.

An obituary of his death was announced on May 7 in the joint name of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK and the Cabinet of the DPRK.

The obituary said that Kim Ki Nam was a veteran of the WPK and the revolution and a prominent political activist who devoted his all to the sacred struggle for defending and strengthening the ideological purity of our revolution and firmly guaranteeing the steady victory of the socialist cause politically.

Born into a stevedore’s family in the late 1920s, he spent his childhood in hardships. After Korea’s liberation he was trained into a reserve backbone of a new Korea under the deep trust of President Kim Il Sung and was engrossed in study abroad from the period of democratic construction to the days of the war.

When the fierce war was in full swing to defend the country from the invasion by the imperialist allied forces, he was engaged in educational work at Kim Il Sung University. He devoted himself to training competent talents who would contribute to the sacred cause of building a powerful socialist country on the debris of war as desired by the President.

He worked at the Central Committee of the WPK from May 1956 thanks to the great political trust of the President. For over 60 years he devoted his all to consolidating the ideological and theoretical foundation of the Party and victoriously advancing the Chuch’e revolution.

In the 1960s when the work of establishing the monolithic ideological system in the whole Party and defending the Party Central Committee politically and ideologically from the moves of all counter-revolutionary trends that emerged in the international communist movement became an urgent requirement, he made a great contribution to the Party’s cause with high degree of political insight, theoretical level and mature writing.

In the 1970s, he made positive contributions to the Party’s ideological building and strengthening of its leadership ability while working as a leading official in charge of editing and publishing the political and theoretical magazine Kulloja and the newspaper Rodong Sinmun, organs of the WPK Central Committee.

He displayed his transparent outlook on the leader, party principle and high political and theoretical qualifications while consecutively holding an important post of the information and publicity field of the Party in the period of succession to the leadership of the WPK. He also performed distinguished feats in demonstrating in every way the prestige and militant might of the WPK, remaining loyal to the ideas and leadership of Chairman Kim Jong Il in the van.

He played a distinguished role in thoroughly establishing the monolithic leadership system of the respected Comrade Kim Jong Un and steadily enhancing the political and ideological might of Korean-style socialism at a crucial period of historic turn in carrying forward the revolutionary cause of Chuch’e.

He devoted himself to backing the victorious journey of building a powerful socialist country by maintaining the powerful offensive and fresh development in the new era in all spheres of the Party’s ideological work always with sincere attitude and high sense of responsibility before the revolution and people.

Kim Ki Nam was awarded Order of Kim Il Sung and Order of Kim Jong Il , the highest order of the DPRK, watches bearing the august names of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and high-ranking party and state commendations, including the title of Labor Hero, for his feats for the Party, the revolution, the country and the people.

Though he passed away, his feats for the Party, the revolution, the country and the people will always go down in the whole historic course of accomplishing the great cause of Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism, the obituary said.

That day the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK and the Cabinet of the DPRK announced that the deceased Kim Ki Nam will be accorded a state funeral and formed the state funeral committee with the respected Comrade Kim Jong Un as its chairman and Kim Tok Hun and other 99 persons as its members.

The state funeral committee said that the bier of Kim Ki Nam is placed at the Sojang Club of Pot’onggang District in Pyongyang and that the mourners to the deceased will be received from 09:00 to 20:00 of May 8 and the coffin of the deceased will be carried out at 09:00 of May 9.

An affiliate of 38 North