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Kim Tu-bong
Kim Tu-bong.jpg
Kim Tu-bong in 1955
Chairman of the Workers' Party of North Korea
In office
28 August 1946 – 30 June 1949
Preceded by Position created
Succeeded by Kim Il-sung
Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly
In office
17 December 1945 – 20 September 1957
Preceded by Position created
Succeeded by Choe Yong-gon
Personal details
Born (1889-02-16)16 February 1889
near Pusan, Gyeongsang Province, Joseon Dynasty (Today Busan, South Korea)
Died between March 1958 and 1960 (aged 69–71)
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Nationality North Korean
Political party Workers' Party of Korea (1949–1958)
Other political
Workers' Party of North Korea (1946–1949)
Military service
Allegiance North Korea North Korea
Branch/service Korean People's Army

Kim Tu-bong (February 16, 1889 – March 1958 or later) was the first Chairman of the Workers' Party of North Korea from 1946 to 1949. He was known in Korean history as a linguist, scholar and politician. He with other Korean leaders of the time established a provisional government-in-exile in China, and because of his communist beliefs he played an important role in the early North Korean communist government.

He and other members of the Yan'an faction formed the New People's Party when they returned from exile. After the New People's Party merged into the Workers Party of North Korea (WPNK) in 1946 at the 1st WPNK Congress, he became WPNK Chairman.

He was the first head of state (Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly) of North Korea from 1948 to 1957. He is most remembered in South Korea for his efforts in establishing the Korean linguistic field. Much of his work both political and linguistically was done while living in China with the exiled government of Korea. He was purged by Kim Il-sung in 1957.

Early childhood and education

Born in South Korea's South Gyeongsang Province, near modern-day Pusan, he spent his early years being home schooled during the time of imperial rule. He would move to Seoul at the age of 20 (1908) to attend both Geho School and Baechae School and in that same year graduate from Bogo High School. While he was in Seoul he would join the Korea Youth organization in 1913 and the following year leave Baechae School.

After graduating from Bosungkobo (Bosung College) in 1908, Kim Tu-bong worked closely with a Linguistic professor. He also worked as a teacher. In 1916 he spent a majority of his time working on compiling MalMooe, the first Korean dictionary.

Later life

After the March 1st Movement (March 1, 1919) he fled into China and set up a provisional government in Shanghai. During which he was first exposed to Communism and eventually accepted it in 1920 after first supporting the Democratic Party. In 1924 he was entrusted with the department of children education and schooling where he served as the president and also taught both Korean and Korean History.

After the Japanese invaded China he and other members of the Korean government in Shanghai fled to Yan'an, and there Kim would become the head of the independence club and became a very important figure in combining the conflicting views of both communist and democratic ideas.

The December following World War II and the Japanese's surrender (August 15, 1945) Kim Tu-bong and other members returned to the then-divided Korea. Like many other Communist-minded people of the time, Kim Tu-bong and other Communist leaders took residence in what is now North Korea under the Soviet occupation.

In February 1946 Kim Tu-bong became the chairman of the new People's Party. Later that year in August it merged to form the Workers' Party, he would become the chairman in 1948, though from the beginning the real power was held by Premier Kim Il-sung. Kim Tu-bong designed the new flag that is still used in North Korea today.

Disappearance and death

After the Korean War Kim Tu-bong had served his usefulness in the government and many scholars believe he had become a threat to Kim Il-sung's dictatorship. He was purged in March 1958, accused of involvement in the 1956 August Faction Incident. Like many others of Kim Il-sung's political opponents, he disappeared with no records to indicate whether he had been sentenced to hard labor or exile. He is believed either to have been executed or to have died some time in the 1960s in internal exile.

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