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North Korea Executes Man Over K-Pop and K-Drama Consumption

North Korea, under the leadership of previous leader Kim Jong Il, initially banned K-pop and other Western influences

North Korea has reportedly executed a 22-year-old male for listening to K-pop music and sharing K-drama films.

According to a testimony in the North Korean Human Rights report released by the South Korean unification ministry, on June 27, 2024, a young man was publicly executed in 2022, for listening to 70 South Korean pop songs, watching three Korean-drama films, and distributing them. 

The unnamed young man, believed to be a native of South Hwanghae Province, was executed under North Korea’s “Elimination of Reactionary Thought and Culture” law, passed in 2022.

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The report includes testimonials from 649 anonymous North Korean defectors, who spoke out against the country’s harsh rules and death penalties imposed on those who embraced Western culture, as part of the regime’s efforts to maintain control over cultural consumption.

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North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Il, initially banned K-pop and other Western influences. His son, Kim Jong Un intensified the ban as part of a broader effort to prevent citizens from adopting external influences. The restrictions include prohibitions on brides wearing white wedding gowns, grooms carrying their brides, wearing sunglasses, and drinking from wine glasses.

North Korea has previously refuted similar slanders in 2021, however, the country is yet to respond to the new development.

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K-Pop or Korean Pop is a genre of music originating from South Korea. It is heavily influenced by American music genres including, rock and roll, hip-hop, electronic music, and R&B. 

The Genre is also characterised by high fashion, colourful futuristic videos, choreography, and teenage music groups. K- Drama or Korean Drama on the other hand refers to popular Korean series which mainly explores the themes of love among teenagers.

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