South Korean dramas provide real life influence on North Koreans

The spread of relatively cheap, enhanced versatile disc (EVD) players in North Korea is making it harder for authorities to crack down on citizens watching South Korean-made videos, and fueling the spread of the “Korean wave” in the communist country, a South Korean scholar said Tuesday.

Kang Dong-won, a professor of international relations at Dong-a University, said that the arrival of cheap, Chinese-made “portable TVs” that started reaching the isolated country in 2005 has made it possible for people to watch various movies and dramas made in the South.

The latest assertions corroborate the first-hand accounts of many North Korean escapees who said they knew about the Korean wave even before they arrived in the South. The Korean wave, or “Hallyu” in Korean, is a word to describe the growing popularity of South Korean television shows and pop songs across the world.

“The advantage of the EVDs is that they can play various CDs, DVDs and USBs and are relatively cheap to buy,” the scholar said.

North Korean defector Lee Jung-chol, who lives in Seoul using an alias, said that North Korean authorities are aware of the spread of the Korean wave. Lee, who worked for the government before escaping from the North in 2011, said … “If you have not seen a South Korean drama in the North, you are treated as being out of touch.”

[Korea Herald]

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