By Ian Williams, NBC News Correspondent
SEOUL, South Korea – These are challenging times for Kim Jong Il – or at least his South Korean lookalike, who's been making a living impersonating the North Korean dictator.
"I get massive headaches. My blood pressure goes up every day," said Kim Young-Shik, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the Dear Leader.
I went to visit Kim at his cluttered print shop in the suburbs of Seoul, where he greeted me dressed in his trademark leisure suit and dark glasses.
"People now point at me in the street and accuse me of throwing bombs at Yeonpyeong Island," he told me. "I try and tell them I am sorry before they can say anything. I apologize for Kim Jong Il's provocative behavior."
Kim is the same height as the Dear Leader, has the same pot belly and unkempt hair, and he has perfectly mastered the gestures - the clapping, waving and that slightly awkward walk.
Ian Williams / NBC News
NBC News' Ian Williams meets Kim Young-Shik, a Kim Jong Il impersonator who works in Seoul, South Korea.
He's been hired for wedding and birthday parties, and for roles in advertisements and movies. During the years of the South Korea’s "Sunshine Policy," a period of cozying-up to the North, he would be applauded in the street, and people would line up for his autograph and to have their photographs taken with him.
But Pyongyang's recent aggression has changed all that, and Kim’s invitations are drying up. It’s no longer cool to have Kim Jong Il singing at your wedding. "People tell me to stop making them nervous. I just keep saying, ‘I'm sorry,’” he said.
Although, he still can't resist a bit of public performance, waving at passersby while we were talking to him. One elderly man glared back: "That's Kim Jong Il, that's Kim Jong Il. He's that dictator from the north," he muttered.
Kim the impersonator first got his break when he won an audition for a 1995 movie about the two Koreas coming together, unifying – and then nuking Japan. It ends with a large mushroom cloud over Tokyo.
The movie didn't do particularly well, but it did launch his career as Kim Jong Il, a career he fears is coming to a rapid close; he is considering hanging up his leisure suit and getting a makeover.
"I will have to get my hair permed soon to avoid looking like Kim Jong Il. The way people look at me is not friendly anymore. I want to avoid looking like him now."
Ian Williams / NBC News
Sitting in his office in a suburb of Seoul, Kim Young-Shik, a Kim Jong Il impersonator contemplates his career future.
In the bunker-like main office of his print shop, surrounded by photos of his version of Kim Jong Il, he is quietly contemplating the future. Customers come and go, quietly encouraging him to abandon the Dear Leader and follow a career as a singer and entertainer.
He knows that makes sense, and he's now learning to impersonate a famous Korean singer.
The real Kim Jong Il is starting to look sick and emaciated anyway, and Kim the lookalike is rather attached to his pot-belly.
"In the old days I'd go on a diet," he said, to keep up with appearances. Not now. "I don't want to do this anymore," he told me.