N. Koreans really like those S. Korean dramas

The JoongAng Ilbo, citing materials prepared by a Saenuri Party lawmaker, reports that South Korean dramas are really, really popular in North Korea.

So popular they are, in fact, that if you don’t want’em, you’ve got nothing to talk about at the water cooler.

Apparently, episodes of Korean dramas reach North Korea within a week of their original broadcast—not as good as Pirate Bay, but still pretty impressive. Even the military and security forces watch them.

South Korean dramas and movies are reportedly costly, too. A popular South Korean video will cost about half the average North Korean worker’s wage. Adult material costs more than the average monthly wage (Marmot’s Note: Paying for Korean ero films—that’s the kind of economic decision-making that made North Korea the industrial titan it is today). Party figures and security personnel apparently watch the backs of merchants trading in these goods, receiving bribes in return. Some even get their friends and family members involved.

Distribution is moving from tapes, CDs and DVDs to USBs and external hard drives. The content, too, is diversifying, with Korean dramas, TV shows and adult films joined recently by American dramas like “Sex and the City” and “Desperate Housewives.”

Marmot’s Note: Assuming his mysterious lady friend is force-feeding him episodes of “Sex and the City” and “Desperate Housewives,” it’s amazing Kim Jong-un looks so chipper. And can only hope for the sake of his mental health that they’re also sneaking in episodes of “Person of Interest,” too. “Falling Skies,” too, since the second season seems much improved.

  • R. Elgin

    I suspect that this sharing of cultural entertainment will be very, very important somewhere down the road.

  • jk6411

    R. Elgin,

    I sure hope so.

  • SomeguyinKorea


    Of course it will. That’s also why the North Korean government doesn’t want people to watch these shows.

  • iMe

    Agree w/ Elgin. I wonder what they think though as they watch these (often) ultra beautiful people doing ultra lavish things and generally doing what I assume they’re forbidden to do. This is really fascinating.

  • cghlee027

    It seems like they found out who the lady next to KJU was..


  • Cloud

    South Korean flag displayed with North Korean players’ photos at Olympics:

  • WangKon936

    To that, I give the U.K. the following reminder:


  • Dogbertt

    What happened to using the “Unification Flag” at sporting events?

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    It’s in the 2006 Winter Olympics dust bin.

  • Wedge

    I was wondering when we’d see photos of our beloved revoultionary sweetheart.

  • Wedge

    #6: Good one on the organisers (sic). Of course that was probably due to utter ignorance, but I’d like to think someone knew what he was doing.