Kim Jong-un ‘unification nuclear bomb’ facial masks slammed in South Korea
More than 25,000 of the facial masks have been sold in South Korea since June. (Instagram: @5149official)
A cosmetics and fashion company in South Korea has come under fire for marketing a special series of “unification nuclear bomb” facial masks, modelled on North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s face.
- The masks were a celebration of this year’s inter-Korean summits, the boss of the cosmetic company said
- But critics said they trivialised Kim Jong-un’s dictatorship in North Korea
- At least one major chain store has decided to stop selling the masks
More than 25,000 of the masks — which promise to moisturise and whiten the skin — have been sold since cosmetics label 5149 put them on the market in June.
They are marketed as containing mineral water from Mount Paektu, the sacred mountain said to be the birthplace of the Kim regime, according to North Korean propaganda.
The masks have proved a hit on social media, where customers posted images of themselves wearing the novelty beauty products.
But a number of stores have taken issue with the products and pulled them from their shelves, including leading chain store Pierrot Shopping.
Critics said the masks were aimed at softening the image of Mr Kim’s repressive regime.
“It is an insult to suffering North Koreans to beautify a dictator who represses and tortures,” one North Korean refugee told South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper.
In an interview with the New York Times, 5149’s chief executive Kwak Hyeon-ju said the masks were her way of celebrating this year’s inter-Korean summits.
“I don’t know what Kim Jong-un means in North Korea or what he represents politically, but the whole country of South Korea was happy,” she said.
In a separate interview with the Chosun Ilbo, she said the company was donating a portion of its profits from the masks to the construction of a planned railway linking the two divided Koreas.
The masks could possibly be illegal in South Korea, under a rarely enforced 1948 law that prohibits citizens from behaving or speaking in favour of the Kim regime.