Kim Jong-un ‘Nuke’ Beauty Masks are Selling Like Hotcakes in South Korea

kim jong un

South Korean cosmetics firm 5149 sparked controversy after launching beauty masks packaged with Kim Jong-un’s face and propaganda-style slogans.

According to the company, it has sold more than 25,000 “Unification Moisture Nuclear Masks” since June, with each priced 4,000 won (about $4).


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저에게도 #피부에평화 가 왔어요! . 어제 #우버언니 집에서 @glenda_mama #글렌다마마 언니의 #황금대야 로 #모공세정 과 #각질관리 깔끔하게 한후 (▶️어제부터 2차 공구 시작된거 아시죠?☺️) . @uberstyle2 언니가 출시하신 #통일팩 딱!! 이것만 하고 잤는데 #어머어머어머 !! 아침에 얼굴당김이 전혀~없었어요👍 . 보통분들은 이게 대단한 일이야? 하시겠지만ㅠ 저같은 #악건성피부 에겐 팩만 하고 #얼굴당김 이 없었다는건 상상할수 없는일이거든요;;; . #오늘부터팩은이걸로통일 이말이 정답이네요 정말👍 . 보통 팩은 25g 정도의 에센스가 함유되어 있는데 #통일팩 은 30~35g 아주 아낌없이 듬뿍담아 넣어서 그런지 얼굴이 🔸탱글탱글 수분가득 반짝반짝🔸👍 . 오늘부터 #인생팩 = 통일팩 . [통일팩 수익의 일부분은 철도가 파리까지 연결되기를 바라는 간절한 마음을 담아 남북철도연결기금으로 조성됩니다] . @5149official #블리스메이 #BlissMay #평화팩 #김정은팩 #통일마스크팩 #통일수분마스크팩 #통일미백마스크팩 #통일탄력마스크팩 #종전선언 #피부에평화#Adeclarationofwar #nuclearbombmaskpack #nomorefighting #bigdeal #틴토즈버블러R7 #피부관리 #뷰티스타그램

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The “nuke” masks claim to contain moisturizing water from Mount Paektu, the active volcano on the China-North Korea border where Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in posed at the end of their three-day summit in September.

In Korean mythology, the sacred volcano is said to be the birthplace of Dangun, founder of the first Korean dynasty more than 4,000 years ago.

Image via Instagram / @5149official

The masks feature both stern and smiling faces of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, manipulated to look like he is using the product himself.

It also contains slogans such as “All hail moisture for all women of the North and South!” and “Paekdu Mountain spring water makes skin strong!”

Image via Instagram / @5149official

The frenzy comes as surprise considering that it is illegal under South Korean law to speak favorably of the North Korean government since 1948.

While rarely enforced, it forbids “praising, inciting or propagating the activities of an anti-government organisation.”

Image via Instagram / @5149official

Despite selling like hotcakes, the masks have equally drawn an uproar that left some stores pulling them from their shelves.

“Personally, I don’t like merchandise promoting a certain political agenda,” Irene Kim, a South Korean skincare expert, told the South China Morning Post. “A few years ago, North Korea was the largest threat to our country… Kim Jong-un was seen as a dictator and a tyrant who would stop at nothing to disrupt world peace, now he’s become the face of a popular face mask.”

Image via Instagram / @5149official

In defense of the masks, 5149 CEO Kwak Hyeon-ju said that she wanted them to celebrate the “once in a lifetime” inter-Korean summits that took place this year.

“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,” Kwak told The New York Times. “I wanted to pat Kim Jong-un’s shoulder for coming.”

Image via Instagram / @5149official

With stores beginning to halt sales, it’s unclear if 5149 will continue producing the controversial masks. Still, customers have been sharing pictures of themselves using the product on social media.

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