All North Korean Men Must Get Kim Jong Un Haircuts

Kim Jong Un

As if things weren’t already bizarre in North Korea, the BBC reports that all men in the country are now required to get a haircut identical to that of leader Kim Jong Un:

Men in North Korea are now required to get the same haircut as their leader Kim Jong-un, it is reported.

The state-sanctioned guidelines were introduced in the capital Pyongyang about two weeks ago, media reports say. It is now being rolled out across the country – although some people have reservations about getting the look.

“Our leader’s haircut is very particular, if you will,” one source tells Radio Free Asia. “It doesn’t always go with everyone since everyone has different face and head shapes.” Meanwhile, a North Korean now living in China says the look is actually unpopular at home because people think it resembles Chinese smugglers. “Until the mid-2000s, we called it the ‘Chinese smuggler haircut’,” the Korea Times reports.

It seems that haircuts have been state-approved in North Korea for some time – until now people were only allowed to choose from 18 styles for women and 10 for men. Earlier, North Korea’s state TV launched acampaign against long hair, called “Let us trim our hair in accordance with the Socialist lifestyle”.

It’s easy for us to laugh at the silliness that comes out Pyongyang that stories like this represent, and this is incredibly silly of course, At the same time, though, this is yet another example of just what kind of tyranny the North Korean people have been enduring on a daily basis for the past 69 years.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. DC Loser says:

    Woody Allen did this gag over 40 years ago:

  2. Franklin says:

    You’d think it would have to be even shorter for a Socialist lifestyle. That would eliminate lice, which would be for the greater good.

    (Yes, my post was influenced by this article).

  3. rudderpedals says:

    Good thing the EOL Soviets didn’t require their men to wear Gorbachev haircuts complete with trimmed pattern baldness and topped off with a funky birthmark.

  4. Dave D says:

    It is done so they can identify people escaping the country easier. One of the documentaries I watched about people being smuggled out of the DPRK talked about people letting their hair grown in safe houses across the border so they are less obvious to the Chinese authorities. China has been much more ruthless in their repatriation process of NK refugees in the past couple years.

  5. Dave Schuler says:

    Coming soon: no men in North Korea allowed to be taller than Kim Jong Un.

  6. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @ Dave Schuler: Alas, that’s not going to be that high a bar for NK to jump. Malnutrition has solved the problem. There was a post here (didn’t bother to look it up) noting that the NK army reduced it’s height requirement from 5 ft. 4 inches to (I believe) 5 ft 1 inch because there weren’t enough young men above 5-4 to serve anymore.