Kim Jong Un is cracking down on pop fans in the DPRK.
Amid South Korea’s growing cultural influence, the 37-year-old North Korean leader is imposing tougher penalties on citizens caught listening to “kinky” K-pop music.
The covert anti-K-pop campaign was exposed through internal documents smuggled out of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) by Seoul-based news source Daily NK, The New York Times premiered on Friday. time. These were then made public by South Korean lawmakers.
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The recently lightened DPRK despot dubbed the southern cultural imports a “vicious cancer” corrupting the “clothes, hairstyles, speeches, behavior” of North Korean youth in the manner of the dance in the film “Footloose” 80s, but with a much darker appearance. curve.
In an apparent attempt to launch her own brand of cancellation culture, Kim introduced new laws in December that say anyone caught watching or owning South Korean content could be sentenced to 15 years of forced labor. The previous maximum sentence for fans of popular acts such as BTS was five years.
If that weren’t hard enough, K-pop smugglers could even be executed while those caught singing, speaking or writing in a “South Korean style” could be sentenced to two years in one. labor camp, according to contraband documents.
Last May, a citizen was killed by a firing squad for selling illegal South Korean music and other entertainment.
South Korean entertainment has long been smuggled across the DPRK border, initially as cassettes and eventually as USB sticks from China. However, the big boss of the “Hermit Kingdom” has stepped up anti-capitalist rhetoric in recent months as he sees his nation become increasingly sensitive to southern cultural styles, the Daily Mail reported.
Meanwhile, in February, Kim – whose family has ruled the country for three generations – ordered provinces, cities and counties across the country to quell growing capitalist influence.
North Korean state media even warned that the popular musical genre could “crumble the nation like a wet wall” if something is not done.
Indeed, the K-pop ban comes at a terrible time for the rogue regime, whose COVID-19 lockdown has further crippled an economy rocked by decades of mismanagement and US-led sanctions against Kim’s nuclear weapons program.
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In the heat of the moment, experts say, young North Koreans are more likely to adopt foreign customs and challenge Kim’s authority.
“For Kim Jong Un, the cultural invasion of South Korea has passed a tolerable level,” said Jiro Ishimaru, editor-in-chief of Asia Press International, a Japanese website that deals with North Korea. “If this goes unchecked, he fears his people will start to see the South as an alternative Korea to replace the North.”
North Korean millennials who grew up during the famine of the 1990s are particularly disappointed with the state, which has long pushed for the idea that South Korea was a beggar-infested hell. Watching pirated Korean content, they learned that while they were starving, their southern brothers were trying to lose weight by dieting.
It’s not just listening to K-pop that’s the problem. Lately, Korean slang has started to creep into everyday conversation, with North Korean women increasingly calling their boyfriends “oppa” – a term for “honey” popularized by South Korean dramas. – rather than the “comrade” mandated by the State.
In order to eradicate the “evil” phenomenon, state officials were ordered to search computers, text messages and notebooks for the South Korean vernacular, while people caught imitating ” the “puppet accent” could be banned from cities, according to top secret newspapers.
However, it might be too late to curb the trend. A South Korean study of 116 recent defectors found that nearly half of them had “frequently” enjoyed Southern content while residing in the DPRK, The New York Times reported.
“Young North Koreans think they owe Kim Jong Un nothing,” said Jung Gwang-il, a North Korean defector who brought K-pop into his former homeland. “He must reaffirm his ideological control over the young if he does not want to lose the foundations for the future of his family’s dynastic regime.”
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This is not the first time Kim has attacked so-called anti-socialist tendencies.
Last April, the mushroom-haired dictator notoriously banned mules and skinny jeans in an attempt to cut short “decadent” Western fashion trends.
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