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Top 10 Ridiculous Facts About North Korea

VO: RB

Script written by Michael Wynands

The Democratic People's Public of Korea sure can be an interesting place. From fake towns, to unicorn lairs, to their own version of Godzilla, North Korea is the source of lots of strange trivia. WatchMojo counts down 10 insane facts about North Korea.

Special thanks our users Cameron Halas and Redwan Kabir Eshrar for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Crazy+Facts+About+North+Korea

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Transcript
Script written by Michael Wynands

Top 10 Ridiculous Facts About North Korea


Things are a little different in this hermit kingdom. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for Top 10 Ridiculous Facts About North Korea.

For this list, we’re looking realities big and small that prove that North Korea stand out from other nations.

#10: They Built a Fake Town


Surely named with just a dash of irony, North Korea's “Peace Village” can be found right along the border it shares with South Korea, in the Demilitarized Zone. In addition to being significantly more aesthetically pleasing than your average village in North Korea, it’s also anomalous in the sense that, according to South Korea, no one actually lives there. Built in the 1950s, it has been advertised as collective farm village boasting a population of 200 families and many desirable facilities and services. It is widely believed to be nothing more than a propaganda tool to entice South Koreans into defecting, and that theory isn't disproven by videos posted by YouTube channels like Noah Lambert and chris514aroundtheworld. But, if that is the case, it hasn’t been especially effective.

#9: The Discovery of a Unicorn Lair


When your nation is insular, it’s very easy to disseminate false facts to your people. Still, wouldn’t you want to keep your self-aggrandizing claims within the realm of possibility? Unicorn-related announcements are sure to elicit a great response from young children, but the general population? Not so much. Regardless, in 2012, the Korean Central News Agency informed the public of a truly ground-breaking discovery - their unparalleled scientists had discovered a “unicorn lair” - specifically that of the unicorn ridden by King Tongmyong. How were they able to tell? Well… because the words “Unicorn Lair” had been carved into a standing stone, of course.

#8: Kim Jong-il’s Cognac Budget


Most people, world leaders included, like to imbibe from time to time, but few would have a bar tab like Kim Jong-il's. He reportedly spent about a $1M USD a year on cognac, his drink of choice. Not just any cognac though – Hennessy cognac. According to Daily Mail, he was the company’s single biggest patron, although, a Hennessy spokesperson has stated that they wouldn't miss his business in the grand scheme of things. Considering the average North Korean yearly income is estimated at $1000 to $2000, this sort of spending feels particularly outlandish. According to noted visitor Dennis Rodman, Kim Jong-un has similarly expensive tastes.

#7: Your Birthday Isn’t Always the Day You Were Born


If the dear leader dies on your birthday, best to skip the party... forever. In North Korea, the death of a leader means a day of uninterrupted mourning each and every year for the foreseeable future. Because of this, birthdays are no longer celebrated on July 8th or December 17th in the country, due to the respective death dates of past rulers Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-il. Since the passing of each of these illustrious leaders, residents born on those days now celebrate their own birth the day after. It’s been estimated that this shuffles b-day celebrations for some 100,000 North Koreans.

#6: They Have Their Own Godzilla


Kim Jong-il was a serious movie buff. By some estimates, he personally owned over 20,000 DVDs. Committed to making his nation great however, he wasn’t satisfied with simply consuming foreign films. In fact, as far as the public was concerned, they were considered illegal. So he set about trying to encourage a North Korean film industry. In the late 1970s, he actually kidnapped South Korean filmmaker Shin Sang-ok and forced him to produce films for him - rife with propaganda, of course. Of the various films produced, perhaps the most notorious was Pulgasari, which was a blatant rip-off the Godzilla films.

#5: Fake Football Fans


The enthusiasm of North Korean crowds often raises accusations of acting. But outsourcing actors to feign interest in your sports teams on the international scale? That shows serious commitment to keeping up appearances. When North Korea sent a football or soccer team to compete in the World Cup, there was a suspiciously large crowd of dedicated fans. Suspicious because… as a North Korean, it’s nearly impossible to get a visa to leave the country. It turned out that these were Chinese “volunteers,” later revealed to be paid actors. Well... as long as it helps team morale.

#4: They Seem to Really Like Accordions


Sure, there are plenty of polka fans, and who hasn’t rocked out to Weird Al Yankovic at some point in their lives? But North Korea seems to take accordion really seriously. We’re not sure if they got a bulk deal on some accordions or what, but at some point it became mandatory for all teachers to learn how to play accordion so they could teach students. Dubbed the “people’s instrument,” it was considered a morale-boosting, portable instrument that the entire country could enjoy. Though guitar and harmonica are also popular instruments of choice, the accordion holds a special place above the rest in North Korea culture.

#3: Blue Jeans Are Illegal


Be it ripped, baggy, or skinny jeans, in North Korea, all blue jeans are off limits - period! According to the Daily Mail, this was a move by North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un in an effort to weed out American influence, because what’s more American than a pair of denim trews? Of course, in addition to cracking down on dungarees, the government is apparently taking a stricter hand elsewhere – including regulating the shoes and t-shirts people wear. Ironically, however, from 2007-2011 North Korea was actually a minor player in the jean trade, manufacturing and exporting “Noko Jeans” for a Swedish based company.

#2: There Are a Limited Number of Approved Haircuts


When it comes to style, North Korea isn’t limiting its government-mandated looks just to wearable fashions… they’re pretty strict about hairstyle too. Men have 10 choices at their disposal, while women have between 14-18 styles to choose from (depending on the source you’re using). Unsurprisingly, options do not include the Mohawk, mullet, the Skrillex, either Bieber, or the Miley Cyrus double knot, and are instead of a fairly modest, conservative collection. Oddly, Kim Jong-un's own cut is not on the official list, and has been reportedly made illegal for anyone else to wear, while conversely made mandatory for all male university students – despite the style being considered a Chinese import.

#1: Kim Jong-Il Was Considered Magical or at Least Superhuman


According to official records and books written about the “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-Il, his birth was accompanied by both a double rainbow and the appearance of a new star. Also, he was walking in a matter of weeks and talking in a matter of months. But that was just the start of his alleged feats. He reportedly played a round of golf that included 11 holes in one, invented the hamburger, wrote 6 operas and thousands of books in just a few years, and depending on who you ask, had the ability to mentally influence the weather. His son, Jong-un, naturally, learned to drive at 3, and was a yacht racing champion by 9.
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