Home » Is Kim Jong-un Forcing North Korean Men to Wear His Hairstyle?

Is Kim Jong-un Forcing North Korean Men to Wear His Hairstyle?

by Jeremy Holcombe

North Korean boy dictator Kim Jong-un is forcing his male citizens to cut their hair the way he wears it, according to Radio Free Asia. But recent visitors to the “Hermit Kingdom” say they have seen no changes to the citizens’ hairstyles, placing the report in doubt.

According to press reports, the North Korean regime has mandated over the last few weeks that male citizens get the buzz-sided, floppy-topped hairstyle, which until Kim seized power was popularly known in the peninsula as the “Chinese smuggler haircut.”

The North’s lunatic leaders have long mandated 28 official hair styles, 10 for men and 18 for women; it is illegal to wear an unapproved style. Kim’s current ‘do, which was popular amongst American youth in the 1990s, is not on the approved list.

While a number of web sites repeated the Radio Free Asia story, the site NK News is having none of it. The site quoted several recent visitors to the North, who reported seeing nothing unusual about mens’ haircuts.

“We were in the country last week and saw no one with said haircut. It seems to be that the BBC must find a new North Korea story every week,” Beijing-based tour operator Gareth Johnson told NK News.

The site says there has been an actual loosening of the fashion rules since Kim became dictator upon the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, in 2011. According to Matthew Reichel, director of the Pyongyang Project, “Ever since the Moranbong Band [an all-girl band created by Kim Jong-un] was popularized and the DPRK’s first lady was officially announced, there has been a liberalization of the rules. Also, Pyongyang’s middle and upper class youth are quite interested in fashion. To suggest that a single style must be adopted around the country is not logical. Of course it is socially acceptable to follow the leaders’ fashion choices, and the Kim Jong-il perm can still be found on street corners from Pyongyang to Chongjin, but that does not mean it is required.”

Still, in a country where the “fashion police” can literally put you in prison, led by a young man who had his ex-girlfriend and all her friends executed, is it too ridiculous to believe he would force everyone to look like him?

Sources: BBC | NK News | Want China Times | Korea Times | Wikipedia

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