Squid Game portrays an “unequal society where moneyless people are treated like chess pieces for the rich”, North Korea’s Arirang Meari website said, citing anonymous South Korean film critics.
The hit show set in South Korea shows hundreds of poverty-struck contestants play deadly childhood games to win 45.6bn South Korean won (£28m), and has garnered global critical acclaim.
But according to the article in Arirang Meari, the show makes people realise the sad reality of the “beastly South Korean society in which human beings are driven to extreme competition and their humanity is being wiped out”.
Though the show has sparked a global obsession with the Asian country’s culture, North Korea has in the past year ramped up its attack on South Korean culture’s “anti-socialist and non-socialist” influences spreading in their country.
An anti-reactionary thoughts law was imposed in the north last year, which would result in 15 years of prison camp for those in possession of media or art from South Korea.
In January, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had urged his country’s entertainment industry to produce better content and reject outside influences.
Mr Kim also called K-pop (South Korean pop culture) a “vicious cancer” corrupting young North Koreans’ attire, hairstyles, speech and behaviour. If left unchecked, it would make North Korea “crumble like a damp wall”, his state media had warned.
Dubbing South Korea as a living hell crawling with beggars, the north has tried its best to keep its neighbour’s entertainment influence out, but hit TV shows – popularly known as Korean-dramas or K-dramas – have found their way to young people in Mr Kim’s country nonetheless.
South Korean shows are smuggled on flash drives and watched behind closed doors in order to escape fines, or worse, imprisonment. Defectors have recalled how North Koreans learned via these tapes and CDs that while they struggled with famine, South Koreans were looking to ditch food and go on diets to lose weight.