South Korea TV show going viral in North Korea

The movies are making it into the country on flash drives, according to a report.

By Elizabeth Shim
South Korea TV show going viral in North Korea
A South Korean television series is highly popular in North Korea, where people are secretly watching the show on flash drives. Image courtesy of KBS

SEOUL, April 25 (UPI) -- The North Korean regime may celebrate founder Kim Il Sung's birthday as the "Day of the Sun," but more North Koreans are soaking up the rays of South Korean media trickling into the country.

A popular South Korean soap opera is circulating in the North, making its way across the border with China, where the television series has been downloaded 2 billion times, Asia Times reported.


Descendants of the Sun is so well received in North Korea even border guards in the country secretly watch the show in their spare time, Radio Free Asia reported.

The movies are making it into North Korea on flash drives and are pricey, costing $4 to $5 per episode, according to the report.

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The average monthly salary in the North is not quite $1.

But that hasn't deterred the contraband from flowing into the country.

For North Korean binge watchers of the show, a flash drive with a total of eight episodes is available for about $30.

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The South Korean slang used in the show is going viral among North Korean border guards.

In other parts of the country, South Korean vernacular has gone mainstream across North Korea due to the popularity of South Korean movies and music.


The show has stirred up some political controversy in other parts of Asia.

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China's Ministry of Public Security has warned viewers against watching too many episodes, and a scene in which South and North Korean soldiers fight was deleted in a version adapted for a Chinese audience.

The show focuses on the romance between a young South Korean army captain and a female physician, who are both part of a peacekeeping mission in the fictional country of Uruk.

The captain, played by South Korean actor Song Joong-ki, is popular among Chinese women, according to RFA.

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