Young North Koreans Must Avoid South Slang and ‘Cultural Penetration’

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Young North Koreans have been warned to adhere to the country’s standard language and follow “traditional ways of life” as part of the regime’s campaign to eliminate cultural influences from neighboring South Korea.

In an op-ed on Sunday, the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers’ Party, denounced the South’s rampant influence on everything from hairstyles to speech.

“Ideological and cultural penetration under the colorful banner of the bourgeoisie is even more dangerous than enemies who take up arms,” ​​he said, according to the South Korean news agency Yonhap.

Rather than emulating their Southern peers, young North Koreans should stick to their country’s “superior” standard language, based on the dialect used in the capital, Pyongyang.

The newspaper said that nothing less than the future of the North Korean political system was at stake. “When the new generations have a good sense of revolutionary ideology and minds, a country’s future is bright. Otherwise, social systems and the decades-long revolution will perish. It is the lesson of blood in the history of the world socialist movement ”, he declared.

This isn’t the first time the regime has warned against embracing South Korean popular culture, including K-pop, TV series, sartorial savvy and even dance moves.

In December, he introduced a law to wipe out what he called reactionary thought and culture via illicit material from the South, the United States and Japan. Anyone caught in South Korean media could spend up to 15 years in a labor camp, while those distributing contraband materials face the death penalty.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who was educated in Switzerland, reportedly described K-pop as a ‘vicious cancer’ that corrupts North Korean millennials – people in their 20s and 30s who have grown up during the famine of the mid-1990s.

“Kim… is well aware that K-pop or Western culture could easily permeate the younger generation and have a negative impact on the socialist system,” said Yang Moo-jin, professor at the University of North Studies. -Korean, to the Korea Herald. .

“He knows these cultural aspects could put a strain on the system. So by eliminating them, Kim tries to avoid other problems in the future. “

A survey of 116 North Korean defectors in 2020 by Seoul National University found that nearly 48% had frequently watched South Korean television and movies and listened to his music before fleeing. Only 8.6% said they had never consumed South Korean pop culture before defecting.

While North and South Koreans speak the same language, decades of separation have resulted in significant differences in the dialect.

Among the officially banned expressions is “oppa” – which means “older brother” but is often used to refer to a spouse or boyfriend in the South – a usage that has spread among North Korean women, according to the agency. South Korean spy.

Fashions and public displays of affection associated with the South are also prohibited, the agency said.


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