News reports went viral Thursday, March 27, 2014, reporting that university students in North Korea are being ordered to have their hair styled like their leader, Kim Jong Un. However, reports from people on the ground in North Korea are dispelling this rumor, according to the Associated Press (AP).
The myth began with 'thinly sourced reports' a couple of weeks ago which stated there was an order that went out to university students for all men to have their haircut like Kim, says the AP. And the story went viral over the internet, with the story breaking at large news agencies such as the BBC, Time, Washington Post, and New York Daily News.
For those traveling to the region, have no worry for the haircut police. A journalist working for the AP in Pyongyang reported that he has not seen any sweeping changes in hairstyles in the capital city.
Simon Cockerell of Koryo Tours told the AP, 'I was there just a few days ago, and no sign of that.' His company arranges tour packages for foreigners who visit North Korea.
Not that North Korea is without concern over hair styles. In a 2005 campaign, the government set forth to require men's hair to be no longer than two inches in length and trimmed twice a month, reported the Guardian. According to the AP, this earlier campaign 'claimed long hair hampers brain activity by taking oxygen away from nerves in the head. It didn't explain why women were allowed to grow long hair.'