Pop Culture Revolution in North Korea?
North Korea is not known for welcoming popular culture. In fact, North Korean leaders have historically sought to keep Western cultural influences out of the nation's Communist society.
North Korea remains one of the most closed nations in the world. People who openly criticize North Korea's government or leadership can be seen as a threat and face severe punishment.
Cultural changes have traditionally come very slowly. Watching television programming or listening to music from South Korea is illegal. Government restrictions also make it impossible for most North Koreans to travel abroad or to freely experience foreign movies or books.
But under current leader Kim Jong Un, North Korea appears to be taking steps toward its own pop culture revolution. Clear evidence of this change can be seen in music, television, film and fashion.
The change is described in a report by the Associated Press' bureau chief in Pyongyang, Eric Talmadge. The changes could be evidence that Kim's government is realizing that despite heavy restrictions, North Koreans are still experiencing foreign pop influences. It could be an attempt by Kim's government to try to keep up culturally with South Korea and the rest of the world.
One example is a North Korean female pop group that has become hugely popular in the country and even has fans abroad. The group, called Moranbong, is also a known personal favorite of Kim Jong Un. The women perform in colorful, stylish clothing that shows off their bodies in a way not commonly seen before in North Korea.
Another change is evident in North Korea's footwear industry. Factories are busy producing shoes designed to look like Air Jordans or other popular shoes being sold in other parts of the world.
The large Ryuwon Shoe Factory in Pyongyang shows off the latest creations in a colorful setting that looks similar to many Western showrooms. The collection includes shoes for all kinds of sports, including running, volleyball, soccer and table tennis.
Kim Kyong Hui works at the factory. She told the AP the operation is aimed at producing what the North Korean people want.
"The most important thing for us is to produce a product that suits the people's tastes," she said. "The respected leader Kim Jong Un has instructed us to closely study shoes from all over the world and learn from their example," she added.
In general, many North Korean goods are now being presented to the public in Western-style packaging designed to be more appealing.
Changes have also happened on North Korean television. The country's programs still include a lot of propaganda and documentaries with high praise for North Korean leaders.
But there is improved production values. The acting seems more realistic and emotional and the stories more entertaining. The sets and clothing meet a much higher level of quality than in previous projects.
One of the most-watched television shows in the country currently is "The Wild Ginseng Gatherers of the Imjin War." It is a historical series set in the late 16th century, when Korea was struggling against Japanese invaders. The show is so popular that many people reportedly stop what they are doing to watch. Other fans meet in restaurants to watch together.
Bollywood films are also now very popular in North Korea. The film "Three Idiots" was recently shown in a state-run movie theater across the street from Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square. And Harry Potter books are among the most popular at the People's Grand Study House, North Korea's largest library.
I'm Bryan Lynn.
1.In fact 事实上
In fact, those people have been promoted.
2.In general 总之
She had a confused idea of life in general.
3.table tennis 桌球；乒乓球
Where do you usually play table tennis?
4.severe punishment 严厉惩罚
The severe punishment was meted out to the unruly hooligan.
5.In fact, North Korean leaders have historically sought to keep Western cultural influences out of the nation's Communist society.
keep sth out of 防止...侵入
People can keep out of the sun to avoid skin cancer.
He was trying to keep out of the bird's line of sight.
6.It could be an attempt by Kim's government to try to keep up culturally with South Korea and the rest of the world.
keep up with 跟上
She was skipping to keep up with him.
She began to walk faster, but he lengthened his stride to keep up with her.
朝鲜的流行文化产业并不发达 。实际上，历代朝鲜领导人一直试图将西方文化的影响力拒之门外 。
朝鲜仍然是全球最封闭的国家之一 。那些公开批评朝鲜政府或领导人的人士会被视为威胁并面临严厉的惩罚 。
朝鲜的文化变革一向极其缓慢 。观看韩国节目或听韩流音乐都是非法行为 。政府的禁令也导致多数朝鲜人无法出国旅行或自由观看外国电影或书籍 。
但在现任领导人金正恩的领导下，朝鲜似乎正在逐步发展本国的流行文化 。在音乐、电视、电影以及时尚领域能够发现流行文化变革的明显证据 。
美联社驻平壤分社社长埃里克·塔尔马奇（Eric Talmadge）在一篇报道中描述了这种变革 。这些变化可以证明，金正恩政府逐渐意识到，尽管明令禁止，朝鲜民众仍然受到了外国流行文化的影响 。这可能是金正恩政府试图紧跟韩国以及世界其它国家文化的一种尝试 。
以朝鲜的女子流行乐团为例，这家乐团在国内人气颇高，甚至在国外也拥有不少粉丝，这支名为“牡丹峰”的乐团也是金正恩的最爱 。乐团成员穿着色彩鲜艳、时尚的服装，以一种朝鲜以前不太常见的方式展现自己的窈窕身姿 。
另一项明显的变化体现在朝鲜的制鞋业 。各大工厂正忙着生产形似“飞人乔丹”的球鞋或世界其他地方热销的鞋款 。
平壤的大型制鞋厂——柳垣鞋厂展示出五颜六色的最新款球鞋，看起来与许多西方国家的展厅类似 。展品包括各类运动的鞋子，包括跑鞋、排球鞋、足球鞋和桌球鞋 。
金庆辉（Kim Kyong Hui）是柳垣鞋厂的员工 。她告诉美联社，这次改革旨在生产朝鲜人民想要的东西 。
“对我们来说，最重要的是生产出符合人们品味的商品，”她说 。“受人尊敬的领导人金正恩(Kim Jong Un)指示我们仔细研究世界各地的鞋子，并向他们学习，”她补充说 。
朝鲜电视台也进行了一些变革 。该国的电视节目仍然包括很多对朝鲜领导人高度赞扬的宣传和纪录片 。
但电视节目的价值观有所提高 。表演看起来更现实、更感人，故事也更加有趣 。布景和服装质量比以前要高得多 。
目前朝鲜收视率最高的电视剧是《壬辰战争中团结在一起的高丽人》（音译） 。这是一部发生在16世纪晚期的历史连续剧，当时的朝鲜正在与日本侵略者作斗争 。这部剧很受欢迎，据说很多人都停下手头的工作追剧 。还有其他剧迷聚在餐馆一起观看 。
宝莱坞电影在朝鲜也十分受欢迎 。电影《三傻大闹宝莱坞》最近在平壤金日成广场对面的一家国营影院上映 。在朝鲜最大的图书馆——人民大学习堂，哈利波特系列丛书是最受欢迎的 。