Defectors may allege that North Korea has a music industry with girl groups like Girls’ Generation from K-pop. And K-dramas like ‘Crash Landing On You’ may have demonstrated that North Koreans actually have some freedom to enjoy small pleasures such as music. However, the country continues to monitor anyone who may be influenced by South Korea’s pop culture and ‘capitalistic avarice’.
In reality, seven people have been slain in the last ten years for watching; and selling K-pop videos such as those of BTS and Blackpink. A North Korean was condemned to death last month after smuggling copies of the popular K-drama ‘Squid Game’ to seven high school pupils, according to sources.
In the last decade, at least seven people have been publicly executed for watching and/or selling K-pop films to North Koreans; according to sources. In a recent investigation, a South Korean human rights organisation detailed the executions, which Fox News fact-checked.
The Transitional Justice Working Group, a South Korean NGO, published a paper titled ‘Mapping Killings During Kim Jong-Un,’; in which they chronicled all known killings committed under the North Korean ruler’s leadership. Since 2012, they claim to have discovered seven public executions in the country. The victims were allegedly executed as a result of their role in spreading and indulging in South Korea’s K-pop business.
With the support of 638 North Korean defectors, the report of the seven public executions was fact-checked and recorded.
According to the NGO, they learned about the killings; because they were carried out in public to warn people about the dangers of listening to K-pop and seeing related videos. North Korea, according to defectors, goes to great measures to ensure that their ‘Hermit Kingdom’ is not tarnished by capitalistic initiatives such as K-pop; which could convert North Koreans against their own country’s ideology. With the support of 638 North Korean defectors, the report of the seven public executions was fact-checked and recorded.
South Korean nationals and defectors have found it strange that there have been allegations of Kim Jong Un personally handpicking the members of female groups. There have also been reconciliation efforts between the two countries in recent years. K-pop groups such as Red Velvet have performed in North Korea in front of Kim Jong Un, who was ‘deeply affected’ by their performance.
North Korea also features well-known bands, such as the all-female Moranbong Band. Defectors have also claimed that despite the tough laws, there are still K-pop fans in the country; with K-pop groups such as Girls’ Generation and BTS; popular idol PSY, and ballad and trot soloists such as Jang Yoon-jung and Oh Seung-geun among the most popular musicians.
However, there have been ongoing initiatives in North Korea to eradicate K-pop; with the North Korean leader referring to the music business as a “vicious cancer”. Those who have been found listening to or watching K-pop videos have faced harsher penalties including incarceration, hard work, and large fines. The K-pop smugglers will be put to death, with the most recent suspected execution scheduled for May 2021.
Kim Jong Un states that his motivation stems from the music industry’s “attire, hairstyles, speeches, and behaviours”; which he alleges are corrupting North Korean adolescents who are influenced by “perverse” K-pop music.