DPRK culture update: sports and film

In football, North Korea won the under-17 women’s football World Cup yesterday with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over the United States in Auckland, New Zealand.

According to a New Zealand sports web site:

The Koreans fell behind after two minutes to a freak own goal from a throw-in, but drew level through Kim Un Hyang with 13 minutes of regular time remaining.

Jang Hyon-Sun netted the winner in the second period of extra time, seven minutes away from a penalty shoot-out.

North Korea now boast both age-group women’s World Cup titles, having taken the under-20 version in Russia two years ago.

In film, the Daily NK reports that the popularity of South Korean films is giving way to American, Thai, and Chinese films:

In North Korea, the fervor of the South Korean Waves is on the wane; Korean dramas, which have spearheaded the spread of South Korean culture and progress since 2000, are no longer generating huge interest among North Korean citizens. The prevailing response of the citizens has been “I have seen enough” and “I have had my fill.”

A source form North Hamkyung Province said in a phone conversation with the Daily NK on the 2nd, “Nowadays, a Thai movie, “Ong-Bak (2003), Muay Thai Warrior,” is immensely popular among the younger generation. Chinese or American movies have become more popular than South Korean movies.”

The source added, “When South Korean dramas were first popular, adoration, curiosity, new storylines and exotic scenes generated a wave of interest, but people seemed to have had their fill.”

“Previously, Chinese people would bring back South Korean films when (North Korean) people requested DVDs, but now, and they mostly bring American or Chinese martial arts movies. According to smugglers working along the border, South Korean DVDs cannot be found in the homes of the Chinese.”

He evaluated thus, “More than anything, we like clarity and accuracy, but South Korean movies tend to be ambiguous. It frustrates me that they take and twist around words when the reality of the situation is clear.”

Gwon Myung Chul (pseudonym), who visited his relatives in China at the end of October, noted, “In Pyongyang, people can mostly acquire South Korean songs. With the rising popularity of South Korean songs, CDs containing these songs have come out, but they did not generate much interest.”

Gwon explained, “Recent Korean songs have not resonated with us emotionally and they have been difficult to understand. I don’t know what the people there (in the South) think, but rap or Pansori (traditional Korean narrative songs) are really difficult to listen to.”

He observed that “South Korean songs were better in the past” and listed off the Korean songs which he could sing, such as Noh Sa Yeon’s ‘Meeting’ and Kim Jong Hwan’s ‘For Love.’

Read the full article here:
South Korean Movies Not Popular Anymore in North Korea
Daily NK
Lee Sung Jin


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