North Korean officials are ordering young men to keep their hair short and are enforcing their tonsorial diktat if they find anyone who fails to comply.
A source in Pyongyang last week said authorities have issued an order requiring men to keep their hair no longer than 2 cm, while women are required to keep their hair bobbed. "University student monitors are walking around with scissors and cutting off the hair of offenders," the source said.
Young men have been told to model their hairstyle on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, whose eccentric hairdo is known in the North as the "ambitious" style, where the sides and back of the head are almost clean shaven and only the top is left.
The source said in the past at least the top of the ambitious style could be left longer, but now even the top is cut to 2 cm or less.
Young women are supposed to wear their hair in a bobbed cut like Kim's wife Ri Sol-ju. Only performers are apparently allowed to grow their hair.
Another North Korea source says barber shops in Pyongyang are crowded by people hastily trying to comply, and the profession is seeing a boom because it is considered lucrative.
"Since last year, North Koreans have been ordered to crack down on capitalist ideology and culture," a think-tank researcher here said. "The crackdown on long hair seems aimed at getting young people in shape for the seventh general assembly of the Workers Party."