Robert Dominic Ventre II
Content EditorThe political world's most tragic-yet-compelling sitcom continues. Kim Jong Un, Great Leader of tyrannical hermit kingdom North Korea, has demanded his (forcefully) loyal subjects to don his (unusual, somewhat hideous) hairstyle. You read that correctly - rather than address widespread famine, international smuggling or police brutality, Un has identified what the real issue with his nation has always been. And apparently, that issue is a lack of hairline uniformity in North Korean men. Later reports have indicated that the rule only applies to North Korea's male university students, which isn't much consolation. Sources vary as to the effect this has had on North Korean citizens. NK News has reported no change in appearances thus far (if the rule does only affect students, that may be why). The initial source for the story, the Korea Times, reports that Radio Free Asia made the announcement on Tuesday and that the announcement has been met with widespread outrage, though it's doubtful any attempts at protest or defiance will be met with anything but a boot and a volley of gunfire. As a disclaimer, there appears to be no information on the RFA website corroborating this story, so maybe take it with a grain of salt. North Korea has a long history with finding fault with "westernized" hairstyles, going so far as to issue "state mandated" styles, from which men could choose one of 10, and women could choose one of 18 (the actual number of available hairstyles also seems to vary from source to source). The most over-the-top example of the Kim family's apparent obsession with hair was the 2005 North Korean campaign, known as "Let us trim our hair in accordance with the Socialist lifestyle" (not very snappy, guys). This declaration, issued by state-run Pyongyang television, ordered all male citizens of North Korea to adopt shorter, cleaner hairstyles as, according to authorities, long hair is detrimental to "human intelligence development" and "consumes a great deal of nutrition." Balding men were allowed to grow longer hair to cover their bare spots. If they were of a certain age. Perhaps most amusingly, it has been widely reported that Kim Jong Un's signature dragged-backwards-through-a-thorn-bush hairstyle was known as the "Chinese smuggler haircut" until the mid-2000s. Apparently Chinese smugglers all visit a very consistent and single-minded barber. We'll be keeping an eye on this story to see if it can be thoroughly verified (and also because it's funny), so stay tuned to PopWrapped! Reporting on North Korean hairstyles since 2014!
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