1. North Korea ordered male students to cut their hair like Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.
Source: Radio Free Asia’s Korean service quoted a source inside North Korea, speaking on condition of anonymity, who described an unwritten directive from the ruling Workers Party to students in March 2014.
Verdict: Dubious. If the recommendation was made it does not appear to have been enforced. Visitors and journalists inside North Korea told The Associated Press that there was no sign of students’ hairstyles changing to look like Kim’s cut.
2. North Korea has 28 government-approved hairstyles for men and women.
Source: Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV reported on images of the state-sanctioned hairstyles in 2013, according to Taiwan’s Want China Times.
Verdict: Dubious. NKNews says the viral images are barber shop posters that offer a selection of possible cuts, not mandatory styles.
3. But, North Korea’s government does have an official hairstyle policy.
Source: The BBC reported on several North Korean state media campaigns in 2005 showcasing official hairstyles and shaming people with long hair.
Verdict: Likely, and the reported rationale is bizarre. One state TV show warned that long hair harms intelligence by consuming the brain’s energy, according to the BBC. Yet defectors from North Korea say while the hairstyle directives are real, they are not a big deal, as most people voluntarily stick to conservative styles and the rules are not seriously enforced.
4. North Korea’s government has a fashion policy.
Source: Defectors have described a ban on clothes with English writing and trousers for women, as well as mandatory lapel pins bearing the images of former leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.