North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has labeled K-Pop as a “vicious cancer” that is corrupting the youth of the country he leads. Consequently, harsh penalties will be imposed on citizens who are consuming South Korean movies, K-dramas, and K-pop videos.
In an attempt to reassert control, the leader declares a new cultural war to stop the spread of South Korean culture to his citizens through a secretive anti-K-pop campaign.
Kim believes the popular culture of the South is corrupting the “attire, hairstyles, speeches, behavior” of North Korea’s youth.
Kim introduced a series of new laws in December that raised the punishment for watching or possessing South Korean entertainment from five years of hard labor to 15 years in a labor camp. His state media warned that if these influences are left unchecked, it would make North Korea “crumble like a damp wall.” Those caught smuggling South Korean content are at risk of receiving even harsher punishments, including the death penalty.
Computers, text messages, music players, and notebooks are now being searched for South Korean content and accents, according to North Korean government documents smuggled out by Asia Press. Women in North Korea, for example, are supposed to call their dates “comrade.” Instead, many have started calling them “Oppa,” or honey, as women do in K-dramas. Mr. Kim has called the language “perverted.”
“Young North Koreans think they owe nothing to Kim Jong-un,” Jung Gwang-il, a defector who smuggles K-pop into North Korea, said in the New York Times article. “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.”