North Korea's Answer To Social Media Superstar PSY

A viral video produced anonymously in China has been blowing up social media and making the North Korean government speak up again about "unflattering" entertainment.

Based on number of views, the most popular person ever on social media was South Korean singer PSY with his infectious earworm “Gangnam Style.”  Now, almost two years after that video was released to thunderous popularity and scathing reviews, it seems like North Korea is getting into the viral video, and its exalted leader is none too happy about.

The video had only been released a matter of days ago and already there open forums and internet conversations just buzzing about it, including on such websites as, one of the industry’s leading interactive discussion sites. The themes cover a broad spectrum but most of them seem to be centered on trying to discover who created it. Set to a bouncy Chinese pop song, the video is a collection of GIFs that are various people dancing, engaging in horseplay or performing martial arts. What has the North Koreans upset about this is that the face of the lead performer in each of the short scenes has been replaced by that of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The condemnation has been as swift as the ridicule has been universal.

The Chosun Ilbo, a popular multi-format news media outlet in China, cites a domestic source as saying that North Korea believes the video seriously compromises Kim’s dignity and authority. However, that hasn’t stopped the open forums from allowing people from all over the world from adding their two cents. Many of online discussions have all but broken down because of the amount of real time commentary that is accompanying the conversations, while others are showing a tongue-in-cheek support for the video, saying that at least it shows he has rhythm.”

This isn’t the first time in recent events that North Korean has felt offended by social media. Last month they accused the United States of supporting an assassination attempt on the leader by refusing to block the release of the upcoming movie “The Interview.” Created by Seth Rogen and starring Mr. Rogen and James Franco, the plot centers around a (comic, fictional) attempt on the life of the North Korean leader. North Korea said that if the movie was released, serious counter-measures may happen. Mr. Rogen had the last laugh when he went to social media and proclaimed “Most people only want to kill me after they’ve paid twelve bucks to see one of my movies.”

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Jack Terry is a writer and blogger who writes extensively about social media and politics: