Ok, boomer. North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, has labelled K-pop a “vicious cancer” on his country’s youth.
Oh my my my, apparently Kim Jong-un isn’t a Dynamite fan of one of South Korea’s biggest exports.
According to a report by the New York Times, the North Korean leader blasted K-pop, saying that it is influencing the “attire, hairstyles, speeches and behaviours” of his country’s young people.
The New York Times confirmed this with documents leaked from North Korea and held by Seoul-based news source, Daily NK.
This ever-increasing wave of attractive idols and catchy songs has inspired Kim Jong-un to launch an all-out “culture war” on one of the world’s hottest music genres.
The chief editor of Asia Press International (a Japanese owned website that keeps tabs on North Korea), Jiro Ishimaru, had this to say regarding Kim Jong-un’s lack of appreciation for girl group Blackpink and their peers:
“To Kim Jong-un, the cultural invasion from South Korea has gone beyond a tolerable level … If this is left unchecked, he fears that his people might start considering the South an alternative Korea to replace the North.”
— Lofti Pixels (@loftipixels) June 11, 2021
However, this goes deeper than the North Korean leader simply not stanning boy groups like NCT 127 or Enhypen.
According to North Korean defector turned cultural smuggler, Jung Gwang-li, the power Kim Jong-un has over his country doesn’t necessarily extend to young people.
“Young North Koreans think they owe nothing to Kim Jong-un. He must reassert his ideological control on the young if he doesn’t want to lose the foundation for the future of his family’s dynastic rule,” says Gwang-li.
Gwang-li operates a cross-border network (known as No Chain) designed to smuggle South Korean (and international) entertainment products into North Korea.
Not only does this cover music, but Gwang-li also moves “everything from James Bond movies to South Korean soap operas”.
The precious cargo is held on USB sticks and smuggled “in via human smugglers, helium balloons and helicopter drones”.
Owning the material is a risk in and of itself as North Korean laws (newly introduced in December 2020) state that anybody caught consuming or possessing the contraband could be sentenced to “between five and 15 years of hard labour”.
That just shows the power of K-pop music and other South Korean media. If more people in North Korea knew what life outside of the country was really like, then his regime would finally crumble when the citizens realize they’ve been lied to all their lives.
— CrimsonMidnight⁷ (@JasperHaleFan) June 12, 2021
North Korea has become infamous for its laws designed to separate its citizens from their southern neighbours as much as possible.
According to News.com, North Korean citizens have begun to have their “electronic devices and notebooks … regularly searched by authorities for traces of South Korean Culture”.
Additionally, citizens are only allowed to “sport one of the 215 … hairstyles authorised”, along with clothing such as “ripped or skinny jeans, T-shirts sporting slogans and nose and lip piercings” being outright banned.
Reports state that the North Korean leader is worried “for the ‘ideological and mental state’” of his country’s young people.
If the aforementioned were allowed into North Korea, Kim Jong-un believes the country would “crumble like a damp wall”.