North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un called Kpop “A vicious cancer” for the North Korean youth. He regards Kpop as a means of corruption that is driven throughout the youth in the country. The dictator is concerned about his country and claims if this corruption isn’t stopped, it will take the country down like a damp wall.
A North Korean media outlet stated that “K-pop is corrupting and tainting young North Korean’s attire, hairstyles, speeches, and behavior. If left unchecked, it would make North Korea crumble like a damp wall.”
Ever since the divide, North Koreans have been viewing South Korean dramas and music illegally as the dictator banned the viewership for the same but now that Kpop has crossed borders and oceans to gain a very strong base of popularity, it’s influence in North Korea is now stronger than ever. To keep the rising influence in check Kim Jong Un has implemented a ban and censorship on the South Korean content, but this ban has not stopped the North Koreans to get a hand on them illegally.
One defector, Jung Gwang Il, stated, “Young North Koreans think they owe nothing to Kim Jong Un.” Jung Gwang Il is the defector from the North who runs a network of IT professionals that smuggle K-Pop and Kdrama into North Korea. Jiro Ishimaru, the chief editor of Asia Press International, a website in Japan that monitors North Korea, stated, “To Kim Jong Un, the cultural invasion from South Korea has gone beyond a tolerable level. If this is left unchecked, he fears that his people might start considering the South an alternative Korea to replace the North.”
RED VELVET PERFORMS IN NORTH KOREA: Kim Jong Un’s surprise appearance
With the western outreach of artists like BTS, Blackpink, NCT, BOa and others, Kpop is now a very strong genre with a very huge following around the globe. In 2018, Red Velvet flew to North Korea for a two day performance. Kim Jong Un made a surprise appearance at the concert along with his wife, his sister and his officials. He shook hands with the girls from Red Velvet and even took a picture with the South Korean artists.
Kim said that he was “deeply moved to see our people sincerely acclaiming the performance, deepening the understanding of the popular art of the South side,” the North’s Korean Central News Agency said. He even said that the country should hold these art performances more frequently.