North Korea propaganda song praising Kim Jong Un goes viral on TikTok

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A song that praises North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has gone viral on TikTok. 

“Let’s sing Kim Jong Un, the great leader,” the song called “Friendly Father” says, according to BBC News. “Let’s brag about Kim Jong Un, our friendly father.”

“Is this a single or where can I get the whole album,” one TikToker joked. Another said, “It’s so dystopian in the catchiest way.”

“I don’t really like Kim Jong Un but he was really cooking on this song,” another said.

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South Korean pop, or K-pop, and Western music are banned inside North Korea, and some defectors have cited illegally listening to outside music as a factor in their decision to defect. 

“When you listen to North Korean music, you have no emotions,” North Korean defector Ryu Hee-Jin told The Washington Post in 2019. “But when you listen to American or South Korean music, it literally gives you the chills. The lyrics are so fresh, so relatable. When kids listen to this music, their facial expressions just change.” 

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Of “Friendly Father,” Peter Moody, a North Korea expert at Korea University, told BBC News, “The song has Abba written all over it.  It’s upbeat, it could not be more catchy and a rich set of orchestral-sounding sequences could not be more prominent.” 

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Alexandra Leonzini of Cambridge University told the outlet North Korean authorities would have sought to make an “earworm” song with simple lyrics that’s easy to sing.

“All artistic output in North Korea must serve the class education of citizens and more specifically educate them as to why they should feel a sense of gratitude, a sense of loyalty to the party,” she said. 

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Defectors have said the government plays propaganda songs every morning throughout the country, citizens are taught choreographed dances to the songs and the lyrics are printed in newspapers.

“By the time the song has sort of been taken into the body, it’s become part of the person,” Keith Howard, a professor at the London School of African and Oriental Studies, said. “So, they know the lyrics so well, even if they’re just doing the actions, even if they’re just listening to it. A good ideological song does that. It needs to embed the message.”

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