Kim Jong Il Looking At Things refers to an online collection of official photographs of the late North Korean dictator visiting various manufacturing facilities for inspection, which is a long-running tradition within the regime formally known as On-The-Spot Guidance. What began as a single topic blog on Tumblr, the photos typically show the now deceased North Korean dictator staring at objects during the inspection process.
The Tumblr blog "Kim Jong Il Looking At Things" was launched by Portuguese art director creator João Rocha on October 6th, 2010. All of the original photographs were taken and published by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, North Korea's propaganda wing mainly used to promote Kim Jong Il's public image and the state's official Juche ideology.
The very first Reddit thread about the Tumblr surfaced on Oct. 28th, 2010 and only received a few dozen up votes. On Dec. 2nd, 2010, another thread was posted on Reddit that accumulated 2,393 up votes prior to being archived. The following day, various images showed up on the Body Building forums.
Soon after, the mainstream media picked up on the blog including MSNBC, The Washington Post and NPR. The Tumblr spread rapidly through news sites and internet humor blogs like The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Laughing Squid, Funny Or Die and CurrentTV.
Kim Jong Il's Death
On December 18th, 2011, South Korea's Yonhap News via North Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim Jong Il had passed away at the age of 69 during a train ride on Saturday December 17th, 2011. The North's announcement of his death was quickly picked up by various news publications around the world. Within hours of the announcement, the Tumblr blog "King Jong-un Looking at Things" was created featuring photos of Kim Jong Il's son, Kim Jong Un.
Search queries for "kim jong il looking at things" peaked in December of 2010 around the same time it was posted to Reddit.