Chinese People’s National Salvation Army, Comintern, Jin Richeng,
Kim Il-sung, Korean Youth Communist Society
This article studies an important period 1929–1931 in the life of Kim Il-sung
(C. Jin Richeng), the first leader of North Korea, through an analysis of his
previously unknown personal file written by officials of the Communist
International in the Soviet Union in 1941 after Kim had escaped to the USSR
from Manchukuo. It is possibly the first biography of Kim Il-sung ever written.
The document sheds new light on some aspects of Kim’s early life, including his
arrest in 1929, his service in the Chinese People’s National Salvation Army, and
the events surrounding his admission into the Chinese Communist Party. On
the basis of this file and other documents of the era, such as diaries of Kim’s
superior Zhou Baozhong and Comintern chief Dimitrov, this paper presents
an account of Kim Il-sung’s life and career in the late 1920s – early 1930s and
reveals the distortions of the official North Korean biography of Kim Il-sung
in service to the ideological goals of the state.