I hope you like Kim Jong Un’s haircut, North Korean college kid. You’re gonna have to get used to it.
According to a story published by the BBC today, Radio Free Asia is reporting that North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un is now requiring all male university students to get the same haircut as the man they refer to as “Dear Leader.” The new guidelines -- a mere suggestion whispered from the barrel of a gun, really -- were issued in the capital city of Pyongyang around two weeks ago, and are now being spread around the country.
Turns out that in North Korea, as in America, there are some strong opinions on the distinct look favored by the 31-year-old.
"Our leader's haircut is very particular, if you will," the BBC quoted one source as telling Radio Free Asia. "It doesn't always go with everyone since everyone has different face and head shapes."
Other sources, such as a former Pyongyang resident now living in China, were even more critical of the style.
"Until the mid-2000s, we called it the 'Chinese smuggler haircut'," the presumably fashion-savvy source told the Korea Times.
Despite the similarities to a shady criminal underclass, it’s more likely that “The Kim Jong Un” was originally fashioned as a tribute to his grandpa.
"Kim Jong Un's haircut is a very particular one, shaved up the sides to make him look like Kim Il Sung did when he was in his 30s (i.e., in the late 1940s)," Bruce Cumings, a Korean history expert from the University of Chicago, told the Washington Post. "This occurred right after Kim Jong Il died, Kim Jong Un was sporting this cut in January 2012 and it was clearly meant to identify him with his grandfather, not his father."
Regardless of its origins, “The Kim Jong Un” (aka “The Chinese Smuggler” aka “The Kim Il Sung”) will likely be welcomed by those men tired of picking from the 10 state-approved haircuts previously mandated by the socialist utopia. Compared to those looks, the 90’s-by-way-of-the-40’s style of “The Kim Jong Un” is ideal for college-aged kids experimenting with decades-old fashions and irony.