While K-Pop has become a worldwide sensation in recent years, Kim Jong-un says it’s a ‘vicious cancer’.
For anyone unaware, K-Pop is a genre of pop music originating from South Korea. You’ll have likely heard of BTS, the historic Grammy-nominated boyband known globally for their hit English-language single Dynamite, among other tracks.
The Supreme Leader isn’t impressed with such influence, said to be crossing over from the south side of the DMZ into young people’s ‘attire, hairstyles, speeches and behaviours’ in North Korea.
As reported by The New York Times, Kim has declared a culture war against South Korea, spouting concerns his country will ‘crumble like a damp wall’ as a result of these ‘dangerous poisons’.
It comes amid a stream of warnings from Kim and the totalitarian state’s media about ‘anti-socialist and nonsocialist’ influences spreading from South Korea into the country, such as K-Pop and other movies and television dramas.
While the leader’s grip over the country is no less terrifying, young people are becoming more perceptible to foreign ideas, with North Korea’s economy and international relations also failing to inspire much hope.
Jung Gwang-il, a defector who smuggles K-pop into North Korea, told the publication, ‘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.’
Jiro Ishimaru, chief editor of Japan’s Asia Press International, which monitors North Korea, also said, ‘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.’
Without any access to the resources of the south, North Korean residents are left without access to the internet as we know it and only state-controlled radio and TV. Those caught with large amounts of media from South Korea, the US or Japan can be punished by death, with those caught watching anything facing 15 years in a prison camp.
Yoon Mi-so, another defector, recently told BBC News about seeing a man executed when she was just 11 years old. The crime? Watching a K-Drama.
‘I have a strong memory of the man who was blindfolded, I can still see his tears flow down. That was traumatic for me. The blindfold was completely drenched in his tears. They put him on a stake and bound him, then shot him,’ she said.
Featured Image Credit: PA Images/BTS/Instagram
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Topics: News, K-pop, Kim Jong-un, Music, North Korea, Now, South Korea