Despite North Korea’s recent diplomatic breakthroughs, after Kim Jong-un’s recent sit down with China’s President Xi Jingping and his expected in the near future to meet with President Trump, it’s impossible to get a sense of how this news is being received in the world’s most secretive country. A majority of country’s residents remain cut-off from the rest of the world. Ninety-seven percent of roads are unpaved, life expectancy is 12 years behind neighboring South Korea, and it’s reported that the country’s own private internet has only 28 registered domains.
But there is one aspect of modern society the country has embraced with open arms—karaoke bars.
Inside the country’s borders, over the past decade, the sing-along hotspots have been flourishing, with foreign businessmen said to be the top frequenters. Still, as Radio Free Asia notes, the drinking establishments are closing at a constant rate, with the reactive sanitations against the country to blame.
The news report went on to state that a decline in foreign visitors, combined with an uptake in violent brawls and criminal activity has forced authorities to close the bars one by one, but officials have offered no actual reasons as of yet.
“One rumor is that the bars have been associated with violent criminal incidents,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity, and going on to say the move might be related to a campaign against “anti-socialist culture.” Wealthier North Koreans occasionally have their own karaoke machines, “and some are now wondering whether their personal machines are going to be taken away as well,” the source said.
It’s as close an insight into North Korea’s late-night activities as we have. According to Vice’s dance music channel Thump, underground house parties and clubs do occur, with an abundance of illegal K Pop CD’s doing the round on the black market.