N. Korean propaganda song praising Kim Jong-un goes viral on TikTok

By Park Ung Posted : May 20, 2024, 10:25 Updated : May 20, 2024, 10:37
North Koreas leader Kim Jong-un smiles at the music video for  Friendly Father the countrys new propaganda song The picture was captured from YouTube
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (center) smiles with children, in this video grab from YouTube.
SEOUL, May 17 (AJU PRESS) - A propaganda song praising North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has gone viral online. Intrigued by its up-tempo beat and repetitive rhythm, combined with unfamiliar and laughable background scenes, the three-minute clip for "Friendly Father," first uploaded in April, has garnered 880,600 views on TikTok as of this week, with heart emojis next to the portly leader's name.

About 155,000 people have clicked on another video introducing the song with the subtitle "This is real K-pop." A video introducing the song on YouTube has also accumulated a staggering 1.12 million views. One of the comments, "Taylor Swift has been real quiet since this dropped," has received 12,000 likes. The song has quickly become a trending hit on TikTok, prompting many users to cover it.

"I aim to engage with trending topics and songs on the platforms I use," said Jordan Daniels, a pianist with 130,000 followers on TikTok, in a written interview with Aju Press last week. "I viewed covering 'Friendly Father' as a way to provoke thought and discussion while also showcasing my musical skills."

Slightly departing from North Korea's typical propaganda pieces, which often feature stern soldiers and belligerent speeches, the latest song stands out with its upbeat rhythm and bright atmosphere. In the clip, North Koreans, including veteran news presenter Ri Chun-hee, known for her fervent praise of the repressive regime's leader, raise their thumbs toward Kim with big smiles. The catchy clip also includes footage of workers dancing in unison, reminiscent of classical musicals, and features enhanced editing effects like fast zoom-out, fast forward, and slow motion.

"The North's capabilities in producing such propaganda videos seem to be becoming somewhat sophisticated," said Yee Ji Sun, a researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification. "Instead of typical solemn attitudes seen in previous propaganda videos, North Koreans in the latest clip look to be cheerful and seemingly pleasant, as they freely clap, dance, and sing."

However, the dumbfounded video blindly praising the hostile leader, who continues to pursue missile and nuclear programs, is under scrutiny in South Korea. Seoul's spy agency, the National Intelligence Service (NIS), requested the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) earlier this month to block the song from being accessed by South Koreans. All North Korean websites are currently inaccessible in South Korea under the decades-old National Security Law.

"'Friendly Father' is just another propaganda song designed to conceal and fabricate the truth behind the isolated country, where poverty, reign of terror, and human rights abuses prevail. It glorifies the young leader in his early 40s as a friendly father," a NIS official told Aju Press.

The KCC is currently reviewing the NIS' request and will decide whether to block the song by this week.
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