How much do you love your K-Pop? Enough to risk more than a decade in a labor camp?
That’s the choice in North Korea, as leader Kim Jong Un is warning citizens to avoid the influx of pop culture.
After all, he said, it’s not only a “vicious cancer” but it is having a negative influence on “attire, hairstyles, speeches, behaviors.”
At issue is the appetite for South Korean movies, K-dramas and K-pop videos and, according to a New York Times story, Kim has put the screws to his trusted officials to put down the rebellion.
Jiro Ishimaru, a chief editor from the Japanese website Asia Press International, said in a Variety story that Kim, 37, believes that the “cultural invasion” from South Korea is just too much.
“If this is left unchecked, he fears that his people might start considering the South an alternative Korea to replace the North,” Ishimaru said.
In April, Kim expressed dire concern, saying “a serious change” is evident in the “ideological and mental state” of young North Koreans.
K-pop fans won’t take the crackdown lightly, and probably will soon launch assorted campaigns protesting North Korean government properties.
And the new penalties? Any evidence of citizens consuming – or possessing — South Korean entertainment will be going from a sentence of five years of hard labor to 15 years in a labor camp. And the death penalty will be considered for those caught smuggling South Korean content.
“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.”
Kim’s family has been in power for three generations.