A survey was conducted among 30 North Korean defectors who are currently living in South Korea. According to them, the North Korean government is trying to improve people's lives to anticipate possible social unrest which they suspect could be ignited by what people see in South Korean popular culture. The survey showed that North Koreans illegally have access to South Korean films, television dramas and pop music.
The survey was conducted by the Ministry of Unification and the government institution assisting North Korean refugees Hanawon. It indicated that North Koreans much enjoy South Korean media. It seems that it's especially popular among young North Koreans and that quoting of one-liners from South Korean films has become fashionable.
A much quoted film in North Korea is Park Chan-wook
's "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
" (2005). Named popular television dramas are 'Autumn in my Heart
' and 'Immortal Admiral Yi Sun-shin
'. Korean stars like Bae Yong-joon
and Jang Dong-gun
are also the object of adoration by North Korean fans.
South Korean cinema naturally often deals with the division of Korea and Jang Dong-gun
happens to portray a North Korean protagonist in the political action film "Typhoon
", in 2005 directed by KWAK Kyung-taek. JANG was also one of the leading actors in "Taegukgi
" (Kang Je-gyu
, 2004). His character ends up fighting on both the South Korean and North Koran side during the Korean War.
dealt with the North-South division in his 2000 break-through film "JSA - Joint Security Area
". The film portrays a close friendship between South and North Korean soldiers separated by an artificial demarcation. Song Kang-ho
and Shin Ha-kyun
's warm portrayal of North Koreans resulted in JSA to become the first South Korean film to be officially invited by the North Korean government. The film went on to become South Korea's most popular film at that time. Lee Young-ae
– the protagonist of Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
whose character's lines are often quoted in North Korea – was also part of the JSA cast.
South Korean films, dramas and pop music are circulating in the North Korean capital Pyongyang and in places along the North Korean border. They are bought from people who cross the North Korean and Chinese border.
Yi Ch'ang-ho (KOFIC)