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Who is Hyon Song-wol?

Posted January. 16, 2018 07:30,   

Updated January. 16, 2018 09:12


“Hyon Song-wol is a very famous pop singer. But that also means that she is a leading propaganda official,” reported Newsweek when Hyon, the leader of the all-female music group Moranbong Band, was promoted to the central committee of North Korean Workers’ Party. Hyon’s taking key position of the ruling political party shows how much she is trusted by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Her speedy promotion also indicates how much emphasis is placed on the power of culture on the public sentiment in North Korea.

The Moranbong band was formed in 2012 when Kim Jong Un took power, and its members are all military officers. Hyon, the band leader, was a senior colonel. She rose to stardom in 2005, known as a hard-working young maiden, but suddenly disappeared from public life for quite a while. Then a heavily pregnant Hyon reappeared in public in 2012 when she performed for Kim. There had been rumors Hyon may had starred in a pornographic video or been executed. She was also rumored to have been romantically involved with the North Korean leader, but that was discredited by the picture of Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol Ju disclosed lately.

Hyon was in the spotlight in December 2015 when she canceled a planned performance in Beijing just a couple of hours before it was to begin. With a luxurious Chanel handbag, she showed off her attitude to the South Korean reporters asking, “Are you from Seoul?” On Monday, she was once again at the center of public attention as she attended working-level talks between North and South Korea to discuss the North’s art performance at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. She was smiling faintly, in a blue suit, wearing badges of the two former North Korean leaders.

The Moranbong is not just a music band. “The power of musical art, that moves the public mind as the first flag bearer and as the first trumpeter of our party’s ideological culture front, cannot replace tens of millions of guns or thousands of tons of rice,” said North Korea’s state newspaper Rodong Sinmun, praising the band’s irreplaceable role. If the Moranbong band comes to South Korea, whether explicit or not, the North’s first goal would be to make South Koreans lower vigilance against their regime. What will happen if South Korean people let their hair down before the North Korean girl band as they were once captivated by the North’s cheerleading squad? It’s obvious that Hyon will seize an opportunity and keep scoring victories.