Reports about the popularity of Kim Jong-un’s haircut in North Korea are once again in vogue, both inside and outside the country.
Choguk, a magazine published by Chongryon, the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, reported recently that Kim Jong-un’s hairstyle, short on the side and long on top, is popular among young people in North Korea.
Ri Jong Chol, a student at Kim Il-Sung University, told Choguk that he is fascinated by Kim Jong-un’s young appearance and boundless energy, and he wants to look just like him.
Choson Sinbo, a pro-North Korea media outlet, reported in March that Kim’s hairstyle, called paeki, is spreading throughout North Korea, and is popular not only among university students but middle-aged North Korean men as well.
A student at the Kim Chaek University of Technology also told Choson Sinbo that someone’s appearance reflects the era he or she lives in, and that is why the paeki hairstyle has become popular among the youth of North Korea.
Still, the haircut clearly receives heavy promotion by the state. Indeed, North Korea’s educational magazine, Inmin Kyoyook, recently directed male teachers to get paeki-style haircuts in order to set a good example for their students.
Meanwhile, many of the bodyguards who accompanied three senior DPRK officials to South Korea earlier this month were seen sporting the paeki hairstyle.
However, Kang Dong-wan, a professor at Dong-A University in Busan and researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification, believes that the North Korean youth’s desire to emulate Kim Jong-un’s hairstyle could be merely a cultural phenomenon.
In an interview with Radio Free Asia, Kang said that because Kim became the country’s leader at such a young age, North Korean youth probably want to copy his fashion just like young people around the world often copy the looks of celebrities they idolize.