North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un is known for maintaining an iron grip on his nation. However, the communist leader has apparently identified a new threat to his rule: K-pop.
According to an article published this week by The New York Times, Kim has decreed that anyone caught listening to South Korean music will face up to 15 years in a labor camp.
Kim likens K-pop to “cancer”
The Times reported that Kim recently lashed out at K-pop, condemning it as a “vicious cancer” that could ultimately cause North Korea to “crumble like a damp wall.”
The totalitarian dictator was particularly bothered by how South Korean culture has affected the hairstyles, speech, and method of dress exhibited by North Korean youth.
Kim’s new law also threatens those who “speak, write or sing” in the “perverted” South Korean style with a two-year prison sentence.
Jung Gwang-il is a defector who now resides in South Korea and oversees a K-pop smuggling operation, and he told the Times that Kim’s worries are well founded.
“Young North Koreans think they owe nothing to Kim Jong-un,” Jung explained. “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.”
Jung recalled surreptitiously watching the South Korean television drama “Jealousy” and noted how it sharply differed from the programming in his own country.
“On North Korean TV, it was all about the party and the leader,” he remarked. “You never saw such a natural display of human emotions like a man and woman kissing.”
Observers says South Korean culture could destabilize Kim’s rule
Jiro Ishimaru is a Japanese journalist and he agreed with Jung’s assessment. Ishimaru, who serves as chief editor of the North Korea-focused website Asia Press International, said Kim regards South Korean music as a destabilizing influence.
“To Kim Jong-un, the cultural invasion from South Korea has gone beyond a tolerable level,” the Times quoted him as saying.
“If this is left unchecked, he fears that his people might start considering the South an alternative Korea to replace the North,” Ishimaru added.