Here we have a collection of strange and fake stories that went viral about North Korea.
5 Weird and Fake Viral Stories about North Korea
Although there are nearly 200 countries in the world, the tiny nation of North Korea seems to have an unusually high number of strange and downright fake stories which go viral online on a regular basis. Whether its the country’s isolationism, or the unusual activities of its current “supreme leader,” there seems to be no shortage of rumors swirling about North Korea.
Below is a collection of 5 strange and fake stories related to North Korea which went viral in recent years.
5. North Korean Students Required to get Kim Jong-un Haircuts?
Rumors circulated that there would be many Kim Jong-un lookalikes in North Korea, as men in that country were rumored to sport a required haircut identical to their dictator.
New state-sanctioned haircut guidelines were said to be rolled out across the country in March 2014 which reportedly required men to sport a “Dear Leader Kim Jong-un” haircut.
Prior to the rollout, men were allegedly allowed to choose among 10 hairstyles, while women could choose among 18 state-sanctioned styles. In late 2015 the story was reported again, this time stating that men could only grow their hair to a maximum of 2 cm.
A source in 2014 told Radio Free Asia, “Our leader’s haircut is very particular, if you will. It doesn’t always go with everyone since everyone has different face and head shapes. It started from capital Pyongyang, and now spreading all across the country.”
Another source noted that the haircut has not always been fashionable. “Until the mid-2000’s, we called it the ‘Chinese smuggler haircut.'”
In 2005, North Korea launched a campaign against long hair entitled, “Let us trim our hair in accordance with Socialist lifestyle.”
It isn’t clear what type of enforcement will be in place for men who do not quickly adopt the hairstyle, which includes shaved sides and a part in the middle.
Radio News Asia later clarified the story to state that male students were instructed to get these haircuts by the Workers’ Party, not from a directive from Kim Jong-un. Some sources in North Korea disputed the entire story.
The 2015 report said that the law was being enforced at colleges. “University student monitors are walking around with scissors and cutting off the hair of offenders,” the Daily Mail reported.
4. Kim Jong-un Fed His Uncle to 120 Starving Dogs?
A story circulating in early 2014 reported that North Korea’s leader Kim Jung-un fed his uncle to a pack of 120 starving dogs. According to reports by the Chinese state-run newspaper Wen Wei Po – and picked up by other agencies including Pravda and even USA Today – Jang Song Taek and five other convicts were led to a field, stripped naked and then devoured by 120 starving dogs who had not eaten in three days. The execution lasted one hour and was reportedly witnesses by Kim and 300 government officials.
The report, however, appeared to be a hoax.
There is no doubt that Jang and several other high level public officials were executed on December 12, 2013 in a far-reaching high-level purge. They were most likely executed by firing squad, the preferred method for eliminating traitors. There is a method of execution in Asia called “quan jue” involving dogs but it was likely not used here. Another rumor surrounding this story was that two of Jang’s top associates were executed prior to the main event in a military action that involved the use of anti-aircraft guns.
Wen Wei Po is based out of Hong Kong and – though independent – is thought to have close Communist ties and is Beijing-based. The agency is considered highly biased and extremely unreliable by its Western counterparts and has been the origin of several outrageous stories in the past. Independent media has few agencies in North Korea and the few that are there are highly-controlled, making actual verification of stories like these nearly impossible.
Origins of this story have ranged from a joke on social media to a satirical piece written by critics of the rogue nation. One theory is that the story was put out by Wen Wei Po by the Chinese to show their displeasure with new North Korean policy and to try to smear the Kim regime in the eyes of the West. Another theory, reported by The Independent, claims that the “120 dogs” story originated from a Chinese satirist named Pyongyang Choi Seongho.
- Kim Jong Un’s executed uncle was eaten alive by 120 hungry dogs: report (World News: January 3, 2014)
- Kim Jong-Un Executed His Uncle’s Allies With Antiaircraft Guns Over A Business Dispute (Paul Szoldra, Business Insider: December 23, 2013)
- Post tops survey on newspaper credibility as trust in Hong Kong media sinks to all-time low (South China Morning Post: January 2, 2014)
- Kim Jong-un ‘uncle fed to 120 dogs’ story begun by Chinese satirist (Adam Withnall, The Independent: January 6, 2014)
3. Twitter Jokes About Kim Jon Il’s Death
The death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s was international news in December 2011. While serious news organizations pondered the implications of said news, and offered commentary on the leader’s life and career, the mood on Twitter was a bit lighter. In fact, the social network lit up with Kim Jong Il jokes, from the moment that the news was made public. Immediately we saw “He’s not IL, he’s dead” jokes. But others were even more creative.
Below is a collection of humorous tweets about Kim Jong Il’s death, most of which came in the initial moments after the news broke.
MikeBullard1010 Mike Bullard
Kim Jong-il is ironically survived by his brothers Veree and Terminal-Lee
Word on the street is that Kim Jong-il was secretly a Packers fan and couldn’t handle the news. Pass it on…
Hold up! Re-translation just coming through from N. Korea: Kim Jong-il actually died of fatigue while listening to Train. #MakesSenseNow
In addition to all the torture he endures in hell, KJI should get some sort of Satan’s cherry on top for those exaggerated golf scores
Kim Jong Dead. Not just Il.
In lieu of flowers the family of Kim Jong Il asks you to starve a person to death in his memory.
Rick Perry & Michele Bachmann SCRAMBLING to find out who Kim Jong Il was.
Kim Jong Il is dead. Who will be brave/insane enough to build Earth’s first Death Star now that he’s gone?
Kim Jong II is dead & things aren’t looking so hot for his official lookalikes either.
Raise your hand if you heard about Kim Jong-Il and thought, “What would Herman Cain do?”
Man, I keep writing “Kim Jong Il is still alive” on all my checks. 🙁
Not a great year for tyrants.. BinLaden, Gadhafi, now Kim Jong-il #RestInPurgatory
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 19, 2011
Kim Jong-il travelled by train because he was terrified of flying. He died on Dec. 17 while riding a train.
The UN needs to remember to throw all of Kim Jong Il’s jewelry into a volcano.
If anyone has a copy of Kim Jong-il narrating “The Crazy Ones”, now would be an excellent time to reveal it.
Damnit. Kim Jong is dead. Now we have to find a new role model for State oppression. #TSA
Waiting for North Korea to announce Zombie Kim Jong-Il as Supreme Leader. Waiting. So. Hard.
Boy, Kim Jong Il will do anything to get the world spotlight on him, huh?
Kim Jong Il is dead but we still have to take care of Kourtney Jong Il and Khloe Jong Il before we can rejoice.
Korean leader Kim Jong Il has passed away. His son, Kim Jong Healthy, is set to become the new ruler.
Tim Tebow loses so God strikes down Kim Jong-il to balance the universe.
The worst thing about Kim Jong Il dying is that I’m 70% sure he was my Secret Santa 🙁
North Koreans to commemorate Kim Jong Il’s death with a hunger strike. It began about 50 years ago.
Wait, Kim Jong is dead? I thought he was just il.
— Paul Begala (@PaulBegala) December 19, 2011
David Stern will pause this evening for a moment of silence for fellow dictator Kim Jong Il. #NBA
Picturing Andy Rooney trapping Kim Jong-Il in a corner: “And what’s the DEAL with these CLOUDS …”
Quaddafi, Bin Laden, Kim Jong. Tough year for Ukrainian hookers.
I did it. I outlived Kim Jong ll. I beat death, I will live forever.
Counting down the moments until a republican presidential candidate says Obama botched Kim Jong Il’s natural death.
? Kim Jong Il ? Khaddafi ? Osama Bin Laden ? Saddam Hussein ? Internet Explorer
— Matt Schuler (@mattschuler) December 19, 2011
what about all the kidnapped hotties in kim jong-il’s compound? who’s going to reeducate them? *raises hand*
And now we’ll find out that Kim Jong il, like Gaddafi, had the hots for Condi Rice.
There are more “Kim Jong Il was ill?” tweets being produced right now than there is food in North Korea.
I’m confused: CNN says Kim Jong-Il is dead, but N. Korean press says he’s currently fighting a 100-ft. tall U.S. super-robot.
Kim Jong Il reported dead. Dorothy to be home soon. #dingdong
— Drew Carey (@DrewFromTV) December 19, 2011
Kim Jong died without telling North Korea what the secret ingredient in the Krabby Patty formula was 🙁
Has Hitler weighed in yet on the death of Kim Jong-il? I bet he’s yelling angry things at his staff.
What makes the Kim Jong-iL jokes even better is the fact that more than 90% of people are still ignorant by mistaking Koreans for Chinese
Kim Jong-Il was a filmmaker, right? In Memoriam part of this year’s Oscars is gonna be a-w-k-w-a-r-d.
2. Dennis Rodman Arrested in North Korea?
A viral “news” report in early 2014 stated that Dennis Rodman was arrested in North Korea. The article, however, was satire.
This story came from the “humor” website National Report. The fictional article stated that Rodman and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un were involved in a verbal altercation, which led to the former NBA star’s arrest.
Details are not yet forthcoming, but rumors coming from South Korean News outlets are that Rodman was involved in a verbal exchange with North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un. The North Korean leader, who many around the world see as a dictator, confronted Rodman on his interview on US news outlet CNN.
The article was heavily shared by readers unaware of its satirical nature.
1. Rodman Outburst and Apology
The satirical account of Rodman’s arrest came only hours after the basketball star’s real – and bizarre – outburst on CNN, as seen in the YouTube video below.
National Report even doctored a screen shot from this interview for use in its fake Rodman arrest story.
In Rodman’s heated CNN interview, he suggested that Kenneth Bae – who was being held for “anti-state” crimes – may have engaged in some sort of inappropriate behavior.
“If you understand what Kenneth Bae did. Do you understand what he did in this country? No, no, no, you tell me, you tell me. Why is he held captive here in this country, why? … I would love to speak on this.”
After the basketball game, Rodman spoke to the crowd.
“Yes, he is a great leader, he provides for his people here in this country and thank God the people here love the marshal.”
Shortly after his outburst on CNN, Rodman was spotted singing “Happy Birthday” to the young North Korean leader.
A day after exploding on the air during a CNN interview, Dennis Rodman issued an apology for his remarks regarding Kenneth Bae, an American who was being held in North Korea for vaguely-stated crimes.
Through his publicist Jules Feiler, Rodman’s email to the Associated Press includes statements that he was under stress and had been drinking prior to the interview:
“I want to apologize. I take full responsibility for my actions. It had been a very stressful day. Some of my teammates were leaving because of pressure from their families and business associates. My dreams of basketball diplomacy was quickly falling apart. I had been drinking. It’s not an excuse but by the time the interview happened I was upset. I was overwhelmed. It’s not an excuse, it’s just the truth.
I want to first apologize to Kenneth Bae’s family. I want to apologize to my teammates and my management team. I also want to apologize to Chris Cuomo. I embarrassed a lot of people. I’m very sorry. At this point I should know better than to make political statements. I’m truly sorry.”
Rodman was in North Korea celebrating the birthday of its leader Kim Jong-un. He also directed a team of ex-NBA players in a scrimmage match, which he dedicated to the young leader, who he described as his “best friend,” and who was in attendance.
Bae’s sister spoke to Q13Fox.com and said that her brother had been working as a tour operator in North Korea, and that Rodman’s statements were “outrageous.”
“It’s one thing to play games with his own image, but this is not a game, this is a man’s life. He has refused to help, that’s his choice, but instead he has chosen to make these outrageous accusations that he clearly doesn’t know anything about.”
North Korea is no stranger to bizarre news and viral hoaxes. What strange or fake stories from North Korea have you read lately?