North Korean website claims ‘Squid Game’ is popular because it shows ‘reality’ of South Korean society

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A website known as Arirang Meari published an article claiming “Squid Game” was symbolic of life in South Korea, “where the number of losers in fierce competition such as employment, real estate, and stocks increases dramatically.” (Youngkyu Park/Netflix via AP)

(NEXSTAR) — Netflix isn’t currently available in North Korea, but that hasn’t stopped one of the country’s propaganda websites from praising “Squid Game.”

Earlier this week, a website known as Arirang Meari published an article briefly outlining the plot of the brutal Netflix show, which concerns a group of South Korean residents who compete in a series of children’s games for the chance to rid themselves of crippling debt. Those who lose the games, however, are killed.

The website’s article, which has no credited author, then goes on to claim that the South Korea-produced series has become popular because it “exposes the reality of South Korean society” where “corruption has been on the rise and scoundrels are commonplace.”

“It is said that the reason why the TV drama ‘Squid Game’ became popular with viewers was because it dug into the reality of capitalist society and South Korea, where the extreme competition for survival and greed for the weak were rampant,” Arirang Meari writes, per a translation of the website.

Arirang Meari’s article, published Tuesday, further alleged that the show was symbolic of life in South Korea, “where the number of losers in fierce competition such as employment, real estate, and stocks increases dramatically.”

South Korean actors Park Hae-soo, Lee Jung-jae and Jung Ho-yeon are seen in a scene from “Squid Game.” Netflix recently confirmed that the show has been watched by more viewers in its first month — 111 million — than any other series to debut on the platform. (Youngkyu Park/Netflix via AP)

The author, or authors, of the Arirang Meari article do not disclose whether they have seen “Squid Game,” instead citing unnamed South Korean film critics with information about the show.

North Korea, meanwhile, had last year imposed strict penalties for citizens caught watching foreign-made media or using certain South Korean slang terms, threatening fines and jail time at prison camps, Reuters reported in January, citing South Korean and Japanese outlets.

While fictional, “Squid Game” does touch on sensitive subjects for many residents of South Korea, specifically through its themes of inequality and money. Financial downturns over the last few decades have left many citizens in debt — a problem compounded by scarce employment opportunities and increasing prices.

Household debt in the country has also risen to around $1.5 trillion, effectively outpacing South Korea’s GDP, the Associated Press reported.

In any case, “Squid Game” has become wildly popular both in the U.S. and abroad. On Wednesday, Netflix confirmed that the show has been watched by more viewers in its first month (111 million) than any other series to debut on the platform.

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