Kim Jong Un is apparently no fan of BTS or Blackpink. But some in his country apparently are, and that has had the North Korean leader on a verbal tirade against the pop culture invasion that's apparently seeped in from the South. Following reports on Kim's crackdown on everything from slang to tight jeans, the New York Times zeroes in specifically on the spread of K-pop, K-dramas, and South Korean movies, reporting that "hardly a day has gone by" in the last few months without Kim or state media decrying South Korean entertainment. He's labeled it a "vicious cancer" that is eroding the "attire, hairstyles, speeches, behaviors" of North Korea's youth.
The country in December reportedly increased the penalty for watching or owning South Korean entertainment to 5 to 15 years of hard labor. Disseminating it could result in the death penalty. The Times reports the content is coming into the country via flash drives from China, and it gives an example of how the influence is slowly working its way into things: While women are supposed to call their dates "comrade," some have adopted the use of "oppa" (honey) popular in K-dramas. Kim has reportedly called such language "perverted." "Part of this is trying to reassert the power of the party and trying to re-establish social control in a time of hardship," a North Korea expert tells Business Insider. (Read more Kim Jong Un stories.)