Kim Jong-Un Wins Time’s ‘Person Of The Year’ Reader Poll

By: Dana Sher

TIME’s Person of the Year will be announced Dec. 19, however the reader poll’s results were announced on the 13th, and I have to say I was very surprised.Cover Among the 40 candidates are Marissa Mayer, Hilary Clinton, Barak Obama and many more outstanding influencing figures. The results for the poll were unequivocal; On the question: “Should Kim Jong Un be TIME’s Person of the Year 2012?” voters percentage were: Definitely  97.61%, No Way  2.39% and number of votes was 5,275,531.

In a celebrity panel last month, which included Newt Gingrich, Padma Lakshmi, Bryan Cranston and Matt Lauer, the main issues addressed as their choices were related to Women’s Rights, US & Europe politics and social issues, and Sports. None of them even mentioned The North Korea leader.

That being the case, the question raised is what made Kim Jong-Un be elected by the readers?

Un gained power when his father died in 2010. As many people hoped as a Swiss-educated he would bring change to his country, rebuilding the economy and fighting hunger- he has not. Un has continued his father’s legacy: launching rockets, escalating international tensions, and reportedly imprisoning anyone who speaks out against the revolutionary Workers Party.

One reason for his rise to the top of the list is brought by International Business Times: The Internet forum 4chan. This site has a history of influencing online poll; this time was no different as members united to vote for him to the top of the list. Nevertheless, the elected person by the voters is considered to be the most influential figure of the year, and Times has called this move an attempt to manipulation. Un was also announced as the “Sexiest Man of the Year” by the Onion, which a Chinese publication picked up as a news story thinking it was factual.

Jokes aside, who is Kim Jong-Un?

He was the youngest, and up till recently also the most kim jong ununknown of Kim Jong-il sons. He managed to alienate the US right from the beginning of his leadership and announced last October North Korea has missiles that could reach the American mainland. Another move in foreign relations was to not obey to the Chinese vice minister of foreign affairs request, and committing a ballistic missile test.

Is North Korea facing any changes with the new Regime?
The average North Korean does see some difference in style by the new leader: allowing more women to dress in a more Western way (short skirts), appearance of Mickey Mouse and a Sylvester Stallone clip. Does this imply the attitude towards the West is changing?

with the peopleNonetheless, it seems that life for Koreans is getting harder. The attempt for a new aid agreement with the US was prevented due to the rocket launching in April. Also escaping hunger by illegally crossing into China appears to be less viable since Mr. Kim came to power.

Will the new leader with the more approachable style lead his county to prosperity? While analysts have noted the apparent change in tone from Mr. Kim, some suggest caution in reading too much into it just yet. Only time will tell.


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