There are many flowers that draw people’s attention with their beauty and fragrance.

Among them is a flower that attracts special attention; it is the Kimjongilia.

With its unusually large and broad-blown flowers, crimson petals, heart-shaped green leaves that give a fresh and robust feeling–the rare cultivar of the genus Begonia is the most beautiful among all the cultivars of the genus, and its flowers bloom for 120 days at a time.

Kamo Mototeru, a Japanese floriculturist, bred a new flower and wanted to name it after a defender of peace and justice, an architect of a beautiful future for mankind and an outstanding man who commanded the respect of all people. After studying the world and reading biographies of great persons, he decided to name his creation after the Korean leader Kim Jong Il. He wrote a letter to him.

“I send you the tuberous begonia I bred. I ventured to name my plant after Your Excellency’s august name, as the Kimjongilia, to wish you a long life in good health and a bright future of prosperity and development. If you allow me to present this plant to Your Excellency, I will take it as a greater honour than I deserve. I sincerely wish Your Excellency a long life in good health.

February 13, 1988. Kamo Mototeru”

The Kimjongilia won people’s admiration and applause immediately after it was born. It won the special prize and the gold medal at the 12th International Flower Show held in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia in May 1991, the top prize at the Horticultural Exposition held in Jilin, China, in August 1997, the Grand Prize at the 1999 Kunming International Horticultural Exposition, and the specially instituted gold prize for exhibition at the 2011 Xian International Horticultural Exposition.

The flower has been propagated on a worldwide scale. Such organizations as the Kimjongilia association and Kimjongilia appreciation society have been formed in many countries and regions of the world. Many cities have hosted major Kimjongilia shows.

People say that when they see the flower, they feel as if they are looking at the rising sun, and it deserved to be named after a great man.