Over the weekend, some of the most iconic Disney characters appeared on stage for a flashy performance in front of a huge audience. The only catch? It happened in North Korea. Yes, Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, and all their friends performed before Kim Jong-Un, the 29-year old leader of North Korea who took over after the death of his father Kim Jong Il last December.
According to the Korean Central News Agency, the new North Korean leader has been planning to “to bring about a dramatic turn in the field of literature and arts this year.” It’s unclear whether Disney officially licensed the use of the characters for the performance, which aired on state TV. The Guardian explains the significance of the Mouseketeer infiltration in North Korea.
The inclusion of characters popular in the west – particularly from the US, North Korea’s wartime enemy – is a notable change in direction for performance arts in Pyongyang…
The tribute by Disney characters signalled that Kim could carve a different image to his father and grandfather amid an easing of restrictions on western culture, said Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean studies based in Seoul, South Korea.
Kim, who is in his late 20s, has sought to project an image of youth, vitality and modernity.
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