North Korean high school students who were caught singing and dancing to a BTS song are currently under investigation.
A source in North Korea’s South Pyongyan Province stated that the students were trainees with North Korea’s Red Youth Guard, which is a militia organization of teenage cadets. While on a break, these students were caught listening to BTS’s “Blood, Sweat, & Tears” on an MP3 player and “belting out the lyrics.”
A local chapter of North Korea’s Workers’ Party and state security were alerted that the students were listening to BTS, and they’re under investigation for engaging in “reactionary ideology and culture.” Under a law passed by North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un in December 2020, people caught possessing or watching South Korean entertainment will be sentenced to 5 to 15 years in a labor camp. Those caught speaking, writing, or singing in a “South Korean style” can face up to 2 years of hard labor.
Despite the stricter punishments for consuming South Korean media, a source told Seoul Pyongyang News that BTS’s songs are enjoying “explosive popularity” among North Korean youth and that young North Koreans now BTS has topped the Billboard charts many times.
The source also revealed that young North Koreans like BTS’s songs because of their lyrics about self-love. However, some North Koreans who are indoctrinated to be loyal to the state are shocked by BTS’s message about “self-care for the individual.”
In August 2020, 3 North Korean soldiers were arrested for also listening and dancing to BTS’s “Blood, Sweat, & Tears.”