More than half of North Korean teen defectors watched South Korean films and dramas when they were in the world's most reclusive nation, a recent survey showed Monday.
Yoon Sun-hee, a professor of journalism and mass communication at Hanyang University, questioned 144 students at Hangyeore Middle and High School, a special education facility set up in 2006 for young boys and girls who have defected, and found that 79 or 56 percent of them had seen South Korean movies and TV programs while in the North.
Pyongyang strictly bans its people from viewing South Korean entertainment to keep them from being "corrupted" by Western or capitalist culture.
The latest survey also confirmed that many North Koreans are exposed to the South's pop culture, known as "hallyu."
The professor admitted that though it was hard to generalize the result to a nationwide level, the outcome was surprising. "I could conjecture that the North is more open than expected," Yoon said.
She added that teenagers in North Korea have a defiant aspect and they tend to live their own way.
Among the students, 57 of them watched South Korean movies on DVD, 43 watched videotaped dramas, while the other 15 watched broadcasts on television.
However, the research did not say how the students had obtained the South Korean DVDs and videos or gained access to the broadcasts.
When asked how often they had seen South Korean films and broadcasts, 40 students said they could watch the programs whenever they wanted, and five saw them every day.
The other 21 teenagers said they had watched the programs once a month, six said once a year, while seven students were exposed to the South Korean material only once during their lifetime in the North.
Most respondents said they had enjoyed the entertainment though they had to watch it secretly, Yoon said.
Source: The Korea Times