Dear Leader mask saves face in Seoul
South Korean shoppers are rushing to buy novelty Kim Jong-un moisturising face masks ahead of a possible inaugural visit of the North Korean leader to Seoul.
Advertising for the "unification moisturising face masks" shows a picture of an impersonator of the young leader, laughing while wearing a white sheet over his facial features. Slogans tout the masks as being "wrinkle-resistant" and "water-resilient" nuclear bomb packs.
The beauty products cost about four times the price of regular cosmetics - at 4,000 won (R50) - but are still reportedly flying off the shelves, chalking up more than 25,000 sales since being launched by 5149, a skin-care company, in June.
One woman told the Chosun Ilbo newspaper that she did not want to miss out on the latest trend. "I bought one because I thought it would be a hot topic if I took a picture of the mask pack and put it on social media," said Jeon, a student.
She joins a flurry of social media posts in which people have joyfully posed in the masks with friends, and people have given demonstrations on how to apply them on YouTube. Comments underneath the posts point to how "funny" the product is.
"Customers are laughing just at the packaging," said an employee of a downtown Seoul mall, describing the masks as having "good market appeal".
The wafer-thin masks, some painted with dark-rimmed glasses, combine South Korea's mutual fascinations with beauty products and the South's blossoming political relationship with the North.
The product claims to contain moisturising mineral water from Mount Paektu, a sacred active volcano on the border of North Korea and China, considered to be the birthplace of the founder of the first Korean kingdom.
The mountain's symbolism was highlighted in September when Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, made an unprecedented trip there after a three-day summit in Pyongyang.
- © The Daily Telegraph