Kim Kyong Hui, tour guide at the Ryuwon shoe factory product showroom on February 1.

Changes in North Korean culture exist from television dramas and cartoon shows to diverse types of goods and eye-catching packaging, according to AP.

`The most important thing for us is to create products that suit consumer tastes,` said Kim Kyong Hui, Ryuwon shoe factory tour guide, while introducing products in the factory’s showroom.

`Respected leader Kim Jong-un guided us to carefully research footwear models around the world, learning from them,` she said, pointing to a pair of high-end basketball shoes.

North Korea remains one of the most closed countries in the world.

The most obvious change is television and propaganda programs or documentaries praising leaders.

Ethnic themes are nothing new.

The drama `Ginseng Pickers During the Imjin War` is elaborately produced, the plot is interesting, the acting is good, and the costumes are also more attractive than previous projects.

These advances reflect changing social perceptions.

Watching Korean movies or listening to Korean music is considered illegal, but Korean movies and music still find their way across the border to North Korea.

Bollywood movies are very popular in North Korea, for example the movie `Three Idiots` was just released in theaters near Kim Il Sung Square.

`North Korea’s approach to foreign media is to modernize the way domestic information is produced to provide attractive and competitive products, serving a younger generation that is no longer interested in old-fashioned products.

`With consumer goods, it is also related to state policies that encourage localization and export,` he said.

Changes in North Korean culture under Kim Jong-un

Employees in a restaurant in Pyongyang stand and watch a TV series on August 15, 2018.

Kim Jong-un began updating pop culture as soon as he came to power in late 2011 by forming the band Moranbong, comprised of female vocalists and musicians representing the `soft side` of North Korea.

Although the band members are all North Korean soldiers, they are famous for their short skirts and fashionable short hair.

Last February, North Korea sent several top artists to the inter-Korean Demilitarized Zone to perform during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea.

However, the military orchestra and classically trained vocalists performing in traditional costumes remain the mainstay of Pyongyang’s music.

More importantly, North Korea does not seek to separate art and politics.

Hong Hanh