North Korea has replaced the overcoat of a massive bronze statue of Kim Jong-il with the former leader's trademark shapeless anorak.
To mark the Lunar New Year holiday, the official Rodong Sinmun daily on Monday published on its front page a photo of North Koreans placing flowers in front of statues of Kim Jong-il and his father, nation founder Kim Il-sung, atop Mansudae Hill in Pyongyang.
Compared with a photo the daily published on Jan. 2, the statue of Kim Il-sung is unchanged, but Kim Jong-il is wearing a brand-new anorak.
The Unification Ministry here was baffled. "It looks like [new leader] Kim Jong-un attempted to make some changes, but we're not sure of the exact motive," a ministry official said.
In April last year, the Kim Il-sung statue, which sported a Mao suit, was replaced with another in a regular suit and the essential dictatorial accessory, a pair of sunglasses. Pundits speculated that the aim was to make him look older compared to his recently deceased son.
The latest change may have something to do with the status of Kim Jong-il's wife and Jong-un's mother Ko Yong-hui, who according to a bizarre line of propaganda sewed the late leader's anoraks with her own proletarian hands.
In a propaganda film about Ko shown last year by the Daily NK, a website specializing in news about the North, Kim Jong-il was quoted as saying his wife gave him his first anorak when he was about to launch his "songun" or military-first doctrine.