Kim Jong Un is cracking down on DPRK-pop followers.
Amid growing cultural affect from South Korea, the 37-year-old North Korean chief is imposing harsher penalties on residents caught listening to “perverse” K-pop music.
The secretive anti-K-pop marketing campaign got here to mild via inside paperwork smuggled out of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) by the Seoul-based information supply Daily NK, the New York Times first reported Friday. These have been then made public by South Korean legislators.
The newly slimmed-down DPRK despot had dubbed the southern cultural imports a “vicious cancer” corrupting North Korean youths’ “attire, hairstyles, speeches, behaviors” à la the dancing within the ’80s film “Footloose” — however with a a lot darker bent.
In an obvious bid to launch his personal model of cancel tradition, Kim launched new legal guidelines in December stipulating that anybody caught watching or possessing South Korean content material may very well be sentenced to as much as 15 years of arduous labor. The earlier most punishment for followers of common acts similar to BTS was 5 years.
If that wasn’t harsh sufficient, K-pop smugglers may even face execution whereas these caught singing, talking or writing in a “South Korean style” may very well be sentenced to 2 years at a work camp, per the smuggled paperwork.
This previous May, a citizen was killed via firing squad for hawking bootleg South Korean music and different leisure.
South Korean leisure has lengthy been smuggled throughout the DPRK border, initially in cassette kind and finally as flash drives from China. However, the “Hermit Kingdom” honcho has ramped up the the anti-capitalist rhetoric in current months as he sees his nation develop into more and more inclined to the cultural stylings from the south, the Daily Mail reported.
Meanwhile, in February, Kim — whose household has dominated the nation for 3 generations — ordered the nation’s provinces, cities and counties to clamp down on growing capitalist affect.
North Korean state media even warned that the favored music style may make the nation “crumble like a damp wall” if one thing isn’t completed.
Indeed, the K-pop prohibition comes at a terrible time for the rogue regime, whose COVID-19 lockdown additional crippled an economic system wracked by a long time of mismanagement and US-led sanctions over Kim’s nuclear weapons program.
In the warmth of the upheaval, consultants say, younger North Koreans usually tend to undertake exterior customs and problem Kim’s authority.
“To Kim Jong Un, the cultural invasion from South Korea has gone beyond a tolerable level,” stated Jiro Ishimaru, chief editor of Asia Press International, a Japanese web site that reviews on North Korea. “If this is left unchecked, he fears that his people might start considering the South an alternative Korea to replace the North.”
North Korean millennials who grew up through the 1990s famine are particularly disillusioned with the state, which had lengthy pushed the notion that South Korea was a beggar-infested hellhole. By watching bootlegged Korean content material, they realized that whereas they have been ravenous to loss of life, their southern brethren have been making an attempt to shed kilos via weight-reduction plan.
It’s not simply listening to K-pop that’s the issue. Lately, Korean slang has began to infiltrate on a regular basis dialog, with North Korean ladies more and more calling their boyfriends “oppa” — a time period for “honey” popularized by South Korean dramas — moderately than the state-mandated “comrade.”
In order to eradicate the “perverse” phenomenon, state officers have been ordered to look computer systems, textual content messages and notebooks for South Korean vernacular, whereas folks caught mimicking the “puppet accent” may very well be banished from cities, per the top-secret papers.
However, it is likely to be too late the curb the development. A South Korean examine of 116 current defectors discovered that almost half had “frequently” loved southern content material whereas residing within the DPRK, the New York Times reported.
“Young North Koreans think they owe nothing to Kim Jong Un,” stated Jung Gwang-il, a North Korean defector who smuggles K-pop into his former motherland. “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.”
This isn’t the primary time Kim has cracked down on so-called anti-socialist tendencies.
This previous April, the mushroom-haired dictator infamously outlawed mullets and thin denims in an try to chop off “decadent” Western-style trend tendencies.