North Korean Dear Leader/monster Kim Jong-Un is now requiring every man in the country to copy his exact haircut. The rule was reportedly introduced in Pyongyang two weeks ago. (Update: The original Radio Free Asia report on this policy was probably based on an uncorroborated rumor, the AP reports. Sources in Pyongyang say they haven't noticed any changes in hairstyle in the capital.)
Until now, there have been 28 government-approved hairstyles in North Korea—10 for men and 18 for women.
Long hair has been discouraged by North Korean state TV since 2005, when a campaign warned men that too much hair could consume vital nutrients, stunting brain development. The campaign recommended they schedule haircuts every 15 days.
Now the state is going a step further, reducing men's hair options to one: Kim's famous center-parted 'do.
If it weren't mandated, Kim's style wouldn't be particularly popular. Before it was known as the "Dear Leader" haircut, Koreans mostly associated it with Chinese smugglers.
"Until the mid-2000s, we called it the 'Chinese smuggler haircut," a former Pyongyang resident told the Korea Times.
Incidentally, the previous "Dear Leader" haircut, Kim Jong-Il's trademark bouffant, is no longer an option.
Update: NK News is expressing skepticism that the new rule, if it's real, will affect most North Koreans' lives. Sources visiting Pyongyang as recently as last week said they hadn't seen many men wearing Kim's distinctive hairstyle.
And even if the rule were in effect, enforcement wouldn't be particularly strict.
"The fashion enforcers are normally students required to 'volunteer' a couple of times a year and are stationed by bus stops, metro stops and busy street corners," and the worst consequence men would suffer is "a talking-to" for multiple violations, a source told NK News.
[Photo Credit: AP Images]