August 05, 2021

Bodacious bikini babes: South Korean propaganda leaflets in the 1980s

Pictures of sexy women were designed to distract North Korean soldiers on duty and encourage them to defect

It wasn’t just photos of dazzling Seoul skyscrapers and luxurious Samsung watches: There was a time when South Korean propaganda leaflets -- designed to make North Korean soldiers envy their capitalist neighbor -- featured smiling, bikini-clad women to entice potential defectors. “Come to the land of affluence and freedom,” one leaflet says, and you can “love me with a burning passion.”

With South Korea’s so-called “anti-leaflet law” set to take effect at the end of March, recent attempts by human rights activists to send information across the border have received a level of scrutiny rarely seen before. But the history of such leaflets goes way back.