Seoul — North Korean leaderlooked grim at a ceremony to mark 10 years since his father's death over the weekend. But just over the border in Seoul, South Korea, a haircut was transforming Kim Min Yong, also known as Dragon Kim, into his alter ego.
His adopted style, mirroring Kim Jong Un, is a convincing look, he says, but not exactly flattering.
Dragon Kim's main work is counselling South Korean students as they apply for spots at prestigious American universities, but took his side hustle, impersonating the North Korean leader, online with his YouTube channel, KIMJONGUN TV.
He offers a funny take on a deadly serious dictator, who's often shown inpropaganda admiring new weapons in his arsenal — including a missile that could reach the United States.
But is the faux Kim afraid of impersonating someone so powerful, especially after receiving online threats?
"North Korean supporters say, 'if you mock our Dear Leader, you will be in trouble, like, big trouble!"
"I was really scared," Dragon Kim admitted to CBS News. But with no serious reprisals after 10 years, he's still at it.
There was one hiccup. In 2019, when Kim Jong Un met Donald Trump in Vietnam, Dragon Kim was there, too — doing his thing. Until, that is, the Vietnamese police picked him up and jailed him, just in case the visiting North Korean delegation was to find out about his antics and fail to take the joke.
He said they kept him locked up for about six days.
Vietnamese police aside, Dragon Kim has taken flak over the years. There's nothing funny, critics say, about a pitiless dictator.
But he says they've missed the point.
"When I do Kim Jong Un impersonation, the funny things like the dancing and, you know, in public… I think that just helps to damage his authority," he told CBS News.
And a little laughter may help him, and his fellow South Koreans live with the fact that the real Kim Jong Un is their next door neighbor, and he's starting his second decade in power, armed to the teeth.
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