Jeans And Piercings Banned In North Korea In Continued Crackdown On Western Culture

Teenagers loyal to Kim Jong-un now make up “inspection units,” created in an attempt to catch offenders sporting body piercings or wearing jeans, in the latest in the crackdown on Western culture in North Korea.

Western fashions and hairstyling are already taboo in North Korea, and a nationwide crackdown is currently ongoing and growing in scope. Reportedly ahead of the 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party to be held in May this year, the country is placing even tighter controls on its citizens, with North Hamgyong province and Yanggang province being the hardest hit due to their proximity to China.

Kim Jong-un’s government believes residents living in those provinces have relatively easy access to information about the outside world, including the latest in hairstyles and Western fashion, leading to the increase in this crackdown.

As reported by Newsweek, North Koreans have already been forced to sport regime-approved hairstyles, which can be chosen from a limited, state-sanctioned list of various styles.

In the past, the Asian country had ordered its male citizens to sport Spartan Socialist hairstyles, which can be no longer than three or four inches in length. That campaign, titled “Let’s trim our hair in accordance with the socialist lifestyle,” was part of the grooming and dress standards back in 2004 and 2005.


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However, the latest ruling, which extends to Western clothing and body and face piercing, was uncovered by reporters at the North Korean news website, Rimjin-Gang. According to that news report, the tighter fashion controls are part of Kim Jong-un’s regime efforts to totally eradicate capitalism from society in North Korea.

The North Korean leader fiercely opposes Western culture in any style or form and reportedly those found guilty of anti-socialist behavior could face being sent to labor camps or even death in extreme cases.

The International Business Times quotes a Japanese reporter, Ishimaru Jiro, who works with citizen journalists inside the North Korean regime, as saying, “A growing number of North Korean people are infatuated with Western culture.”

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“The crackdown will continue until the end of the upcoming gathering [7th Congress of the Workers’ Party].”

In the meantime, the North Korean government has reportedly formed “inspection units” made up of teenagers loyal to their leader. These units now patrol the streets, seeking out anyone who dares to break the new anti-Western dress code.

While some might think such measures are amusing, they are all part of Kim’s regime in creating a truly communist state. Rimjin-Gang reports that these “inspection units” target supposed capitalist tendencies, including the length of skirts, “the shape of shoes, T-shirts, hairstyles and clothes.”

The units are part of the North Korean Youth Union, which comprises volunteers who have signed up once they reach 15 years of age and are tasked with preventing “the corruption of public morals.”

Reportedly, it isn’t just the North Korean fashion and body-styling offenders who are being targeted, however, as unmarried women who carry out business in marketplaces are also being hit, as this is forbidden in the country.

[Image via Flickr by Paul Lowry, cropped and resized/CC BY 2.0]