Kim Jong Un is initiating a crackdown on those caught listening to K-Pop music in North Korea.
As first reported by The New York Times, the 37-year-old leader’s plan to suppress K-pop music was revealed through internal documents smuggled out of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. They deemed the southern cultural imports a “vicious cancer” that is actively manipulating North Korean children to alter their “attire, hairstyles, speeches” and “behaviors.”
As part of a new culture war, Kim created new laws in December announcing that anyone caught possessing or engaging in South Korean content could be sentenced to five years of hard labor at a work camp. K-pop smugglers themselves could face execution, and those even caught writing, singing, or speaking in a “South Korean style” could face up to two years of internment at a work camp. A North Korean man was murdered back in May after he got caught collecting bootleg South Korean entertainment.
Kim has become increasingly hostile towards international cultural influence over the last year, going as far as to outlaw mullets and skinny jeans in an effort to stop western influence. The North Korean media recently warned that K-pop could cause North Korea to “crumble like a damp wall” if it isn’t quelled. “If this is left unchecked, he fears that his people might start considering the South an alternative Korea to replace the North,” said Jiro Ishimaru, Chief Editor of Asia Press International. “To Kim Jong Un, the cultural invasion from South Korea has gone beyond a tolerable level.”