North Koreans Imitating Won Bin and Jang Dong Gun?

The Korean Wave has been sweeping through Asia lately, and North Korea has not been an exception. A Seoul-based radio station, Open Radio for North Korea, reported on June 28th that North Korean people have become huge fans of South Korean TV shows and movies recently, imitating the hairstyle, fashion, and speech they see on such programs.

“As more North Koreans watch South Korean dramas or listen to K-pop songs, certain words and phrases have become the latest trends,” an unnamed source was quoted as saying. The source said old-school Trot singer Na Hoon Ah’s “Love” or Kim Bum Yong’s “Wind Wind Wind” became popular for quite a while now. Also, a lot of North Korean’s think Won Bin’s famous “How much do you need?” line from KBS drama “Autumn Tales” and Jang Dong Gun’s infamous “You go to Hawaii” line (with the Busan dialect) from the movie “Friend” are cool and trendy, as a lot of young college students and even highly educated people are seen imitating them often.

The Korean Wave has also changed the way North Korean’s present gifts, the article said. “Now people sing happy birthday songs at birthdays and deliver flowers in artfully wrapped paper, just like they see in Korean dramas. Also, some people give makeup products from South Korea,” another source was quoted as saying. What’s impressive is that this new custom is not only seen in the capital city of Pyong Yang but also in large border cities, the source said.

“Under the current circumstances, no matter how hard the (North Korean) government tries, it’s impossible to block human nature to look for new content. However much they clamp down on this, the educated people and college students, and even high government officials prefer South Korean products and contents—and so the Korean Wave will just continue to grow here,” the source said.

Looks like the Korean Wave is spreading to all places around the world, including the secluded northern counterpart of Seoul. Could this perhaps lead to bigger things in the future and contribute to establishing a more peacful Korean Peninsula?