Kpop in North Korea: Does Kim Jong Un Know SNSD Too?
Kpop music have many international fans and its phenomenon is spreading like wildfire.
It is popular throughout Asia, as well as North America. And I think Kpop may gain popularity not only in Europe, but also in South America and Africa.
Then, is Kpop popular in North Korea too? Have you ever think about the question?
Division History of South Korea and North Korea
Before talking about Kpop's popularity in North Korea, I want to talk about the division history of South Korea and North Korea to help you understand special relationships between the two countries.
In 1945, Korea gained independence from the rule of Japanese imperialism. However, since Korea gained independence, South and North Korea have taken completely different paths. Eventually, on June 25th, 1950, the North Korean troops launched an invasion across the 38th parallel into South Korea. Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Un's grandfather, ordered 110,000 soldiers to invade the South with hundreds of Soviet tanks, declaring, "This war will be over in three days."
The Korean War took the lives of some 5 million men and women, and an armistice stopped fighting between the two countries in 1953. The division of the Korean Peninsula became permanent after the war.
South and North Korea have been engaged in a continual struggle over ideology since their division, and the two countries have many differences because they have been separated for more than 60 years. As you may already know, Kim Jong Un, the uppermost ruler of North Korea, is sticking to anachronistic one-man rule and socialist leadership in a rivalry with South Korea over ideological legitimacy on the peninsula.
Kpop's Popularity in North Korea
North Korea is one of the world's most closed countries. However, South Korean culture is spreading in North Korea secretly.
Years ago, Girls' Generation released a new song 'Gee' and performed the song on the stage wearing skinny jeans. Well, after that, the group's fashion style was in vogue in North Korea. In Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, many women wore skinny jeans, which aroused North Korean government's anger. The government tried to crack down by forcing people who violate the law to do hard labor.
In spite of a crackdown by the government, South Korean singers' CDs and magazines are also brought into North Korea through chinese merchant. Kpop is quite popular with North Korea's affluent children.
And there are dance teachers too! They teach Kpop idol's dance moves, and it is said that affluent children spend about 20 dollars a month for the dance lesson. Yeah, Kpop cover dance is the current fad among young people in North Korea too. They like prominent Kpop stars such as Girls' Generation and Big Bang.
However, of course, it seems that Kim Jong Un doesn't like Kpop stars at all. In 2011, about the cultural inflow, he stated, "It is not time to talk people in soothing way. We need to crack down on illegal behavior. Punish them severely."
|North Korea's Moranbong Band|
Is There A Girl Group Like SNSD in North Korea Too?
Have you ever watched North Korean singer's performance? In 2012, 'Moranbong Band' was organized in North Korea, while it is known that Kim Jong Un selected all the members personally. The band is comprised of more than 10 female performing artists and 7 female singers. Because the members in their 20s wear miniskirts and dance in group, South Koreans usually call the band "North Korea's SNSD."
Usually, the band is used for political purpose by Kim Jong Un. In 2014, North Korea opened a ski resort to attract foreign tourists, and the band members are staying there just like PR ambassadors.
Check out Moranbong Band's performance below. Quite different from Kpop stars' performance, huh?