Watch North Korean officials' reactions to hearing K-Pop for the first time

Originally published at:


Apparently any change in facial expression will get you sent to a reeducation camp.


1:25, dude has a big smile…send family and neighbor to camps.


I’m sure they were waiting for the “official” response from Dear Beloved Leader before they show their own.


If you really want to confuse them, you got to send a Slovenian industrial band that plays selections from the Sound of Music (one of the few western films allowed to be shown there)…


Audience applause not all synced up?!? That’s execution for the lot of you.

You can like things in North Korea, as long as you don’t like anything more than the Supreme Leader. So keep your enthusiasm in check or you might not have any room to demonstrate your loyalty.

1 Like

Thank you for posting this. I have mixed emotions, none of which has me thinking that “[Funniest Video]” is a good tag for the K-Pop one on Youtube. The stone faced audience, just sad. It may be their own genuine attitude, a lifelong belief that this kind of thing is decadent and poisonous to the soul. So I think it was wise of the performers to dress and dance in a relatively modest style for K-Pop.

K-Pop stans changed things in the US with what I see as messages of love and tolerance. Maybe they’ll dissolve the barrier between the two Koreas. It would be a bummer if westerners making fun of this event led to further isolation.

In Myanmar the military regime held stadium rallies where residents were notified that attendance was compulsory. It was filmed for export. Over the loudspeakers, the audience heard speeches and also cues such as “please applaud now” (familiar! I know!).

So on the pieces you posted, it was uplifting to see what individual North Koreans had to say. Even if they were canned responses, even if that crowd was hand picked by Kim Jong Un, it is a huge step - the kind of thing that preceded the collapse of the Soviet Union. (and yet, Putin! I know!)

The entire CNN piece Rob cited is excellent. CNN doesn’t appear to have a way to embed the videos in this story so I understand why the Youtube one is provided instead. It’s just a drag that the Youtube poster chose that clickbait [Funniest Video] title tag.

EDIT - I found a much better one. More than one. First KPop:

And this torch song with the chorus: “Even if we’re in different places, I hope you don’t forget about me.”


Was it anything like when they saw Laibach performing?


These performers must have nerves of steel.


Are you sure it’s not simply a North Korean version of ettiquete? If you go to a classical music concert, the audience doesn’t react as if they were at Glastonberry, And it’s not because the music is intrinsically boring-- it’s just the cultural expectation: this is how you show respect to the musicians-- who by the way, are probably pissed at having to purchase and wear “white tie”.


Now send them Baby Metal


It’s like Japanese crowds watching MMA, totally different than American or Brazilian crowds. In fact, not too much different than current MMA with no crowd.

So sad, to watch people die on stage.

Utterly terrifying, especially in light of our own dear fracking leader who won’t give up the throne.

Is this what year 8 of a orange hued presidency will look like?

I’m very sad for these people. The fear in their eyes is so well hidden.

K-Pop just baffles North Korean audiences (as does Laibach). They go wild for their own music.

I think you owe me a coke.


I seem to recall there being another Boingboing post that was a similar video where some foreign or older audience seemingly sat stone-faced and unhappy to a performance that was followed up with after-interviews describing enjoyment. I can’t seem to find it however.

1 Like

Audiences at soccer matches in NK are the same. And while K-pop might not be their thing we can be pretty certain that they enjoy soccer.

1 Like

“There’s all kinds of music. And now we know there’s this kind of music too.”
–either the best or the worst review ever