SEOUL — Kim Jong Un has called this a “malignant cancer” that destroys “the attire, hairstyle, speech and behavior of North Korean youths”, his state media warned if left unchecked. will make North Korea “Cracking like a damp wall”
After winning the hearts of fans around the world, South Korean pop culture has entered its final frontier, North Korea, where its growing influence has prompted the leaders of the dictatorship to declare a new cultural war to halt it. But even a dictator can have trouble restraining the tides.
in the past several months Hardly a day has passed without Mr Kim or the state media against the influence of The “anti-socialist and maverick”; spread in his country. Especially South Korean movies, Korean dramas and K-pop videos. Part of a panicked attempt to reconfirm control Mr Kim has ordered his government to eliminate cultural aggression.
Censorship is anything but a tyrant’s tantrums. At a time when North Korea’s economy is struggling and diplomacy with the West has stalled. Perhaps it will make the country’s youth more open to outside influences and challenge Kim’s occupation of North Korean society.
“Young North Korean youths think they owe nothing to Kim Jong-un,” said Jung Gwang-il, a North Korean defector who oversees a network that smuggles K-pop into North Korea. “He has to assert his ideological control over the child. If he doesn’t want to lose the foundation for the future of his family’s dynastic rule.”
Mr Kim’s family ruled the North for three generations. And the loyalty of domestic millennials is often tested. They entered old age during a famine in the late 1990s when the government was unable to provide food rations. causing the deaths of millions The family survived buying food from unconventional markets containing smuggled goods from China. as well as illegal entertainment from the south
North Korean state propaganda has long described South Korea as a living hell and beggar. The first Korean drama to be smuggled from tapes and CDs. Young North Koreans have learned that as they struggle to find enough food during famine, People in South Korea have to diet to lose weight.
South Korean entertainment is now smuggled from China. It steals the hearts of the young North Koreans who watch behind closed doors and blackened windows.
Its presence became a concern as North Korea passed the new law in December last year. Calls for a five to 15-year labor camp for those watching or possessing South Korean entertainment, according to lawmakers in Seoul, who were briefed by government intelligence officials. and North Korean internal documents smuggled by Daily NK, a Seoul-based website. The previous maximum punishment for such crimes was five years of hard labor.
Those who take content into North Korean hands may face harsher penalties. This includes the death penalty. The new law also calls for up to two years of hard work for those who “speak, write or sing South Korean style”.
The legislation was followed by several months of new orders from Mr Kim. warn of outside influences in February He ordered all provinces, cities and counties to “ruthlessly” stave off the growing trend of capitalism. In April, he warned that “serious changes” were taking place in The “ideological and mental state” of young North Koreans and last month Rodong Sinmun state newspaper has warned that North Korea will “fall” if its influence spreads.
“For Kim Jong-un, cultural invasion from South Korea has exceeded acceptable levels,” said Jiro Ishimaru, editor-in-chief of Asia Press International. Website in Japan that tracks North Korea says “If not checked He is afraid his people might start considering South Korea as an alternative to North Korea.”
Computers, messages, music players are now searched. and notebooks for South Korean content and accents According to a North Korean government document smuggled by Asia Press, for example, women in North Korea are supposed to call their date “comrades.” Many people started calling them “oppa,” or darling, as women in Korean dramas call it. Mr. Kim called this language “warp”.
The family of the arrested “Mimicking puppet accents” from the South in their daily conversations or messages could be expelled from the city as a warning. such documents
This is not the first time North Korea has attacked. All radio and television are pre-set to receive government broadcasts only. Governments have blocked people from using the internet around the world. Disciplinary divisions patrol the streets. Stop men with long hair and skirt women who are too short or pants are too tight. The Russian embassy in Pyongyang said The only hair dye available is black.
But it may be too late to fix the cracks left in the 1990s. Ms. Jung, 58, remembers watching “Jealousy,” a Korean drama about young love when he was still in North Korea, and was shocked at the “Jealousy”. culture “On North Korean TV It’s about the party and the leader,” he said. “You’ve never seen a natural human expression of emotion like a kiss between a man and a woman.”
In a survey at Seoul National University’s Institute for Peace and Unification Studies In a survey of 116 people who fled North Korea in 2018 or 2019, nearly half said they watched South Korean entertainment “frequently” while in the north. Jung said his current favorite is “Crash Landing on You,” a show about a South Korean paragliding heir who is blown across the border by gusts and falls in love with a North Korean soldier.
Mr. Kim has always seemed more resilient to outside culture. In 2012, he performed on state television giving a thumbs-up to a girl group in a miniskirt that played the theme song “Rocky,” while the characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse roamed nearby. A government-approved kiosk in Pyongyang sells Disney favorites such as “The Lion King” and “Cinderella,” restaurants showing foreign movies, concerts and TV shows. The Russian Embassy reported in 2017.
But Kim’s confidence plummeted after talks with former US President Donald J. Trump collapsed in 2019 without lifting economic sanctions. He has pledged to lead his country through constraints by creating a “self-sufficient economy” that is less dependent on trade with the outside world. Then the epidemic causing economic trouble to the North
“The northern economy is the worst since Kim Jong Un took office ten years ago,” Ichimaru said. “If people are hungry, the crime rate could be higher. He has to tighten control to curb social unrest.”
North Korea has resorted to urging citizens to inform others who watch Korean dramas, according to documents smuggled by Daily NK. But many have decided to look the other way. They even had their neighbors leave before the police attack. The document states, “The phenomenon of impure distribution of publications and propaganda has not disappeared. But it continues.”