North Korean teens caught listening to BTS song
North Korean high school students who were caught singing and dancing to a song by South Korean boy band BTS are under investigation, according to a South Korean press report Thursday.
A source in North Korea’s South Pyongan Province said that the students were trainees with North Korea’s Red Youth Guard who were taking a break from training, Seoul Pyongyang News reported. The Red Youth Guard is a North Korean militia organization of teenage cadets.
The students of Anju Middle School were listening to BTS’ hit song, “Blood, Sweat & Tears” on an MP3 player and belting out the lyrics, the source said.
A local chapter of North Korea’s Workers’ Party and state security were notified of the activities. The group is being investigated for engaging in “reactionary ideology and culture,” in violation of North Korean law, the report said.
In December North Korea passed laws against reactionary ideology and culture, a reference to flows of information from the outside world, including South Korean entertainment media and broadcasts.
SP News’ source said that BTS songs are enjoying “explosive popularity” among North Korean youth.
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“They also know that BTS are young South Korean singers, that they have topped the [U.S.] Billboard charts many times, something not many artists have done,” the North Korean source said.
The source also said young North Koreans like the songs of BTS because of their meaningful lyrics that tell listeners to “love themselves.”
North Koreans indoctrinated to be loyal to the state are “shocked” to hear the message of self-care for the individual, the source said, according to SP News.
The BTS song “Blood, Sweat & Tears” also was mentioned in a 2020 report from the South Korean news service Daily NK.
A North Korean military source told the news service last year that three soldiers in their 20s “partied” to the song and were arrested.
South Korea’s White Paper on Human Rights in North Korea published last month said the regime has been strengthening punishment of citizens caught viewing outside media. (UPI)