North Korea Is Hiding Kim's Ears

Experts pick up on regular photoshopping
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2017 9:52 AM CDT
Updated Jun 25, 2017 11:33 AM CDT
North Korea Doesn't Want You to See Kim's Ears
Kim Jong Un walks along his viewing balcony during a military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 15, 2017.   (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

Millions of Americans have something in common with Kim Jong Un: He, too, appears to be self-conscious about his body—specifically, his ears. North Korea has strangely taken to photoshopping its leader's ears, which a pair of non-proliferation experts picked up on, reports Motherboard. While North Korea's habit of editing photos is well-known, Dave Schmerler of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey say they've noticed several photos in which editing specifically targets Kim's ears. As Lewis puts it, "He doesn't like his ears, or so it seems."

Schmerler may know why. One photo of Kim shows an imperfection at the base of his ear, which doctors suggest could be anything from a cyst to a viral infection. North Korea has a history of covering up illnesses, but erasing the mark, if it is benign, also serves a purpose. This cosmetic alteration and others like it are likely designed "to help Kim look a bit more handsome than he is in real life," Lewis says. His ears aren't Kim's greatest cause for distress, apparently. The chairman of South Korea's parliamentary intelligence committee says Kim is limiting public appearances and travel over fears that there's a plot to cut his head off, per the Korea Herald. (North Korea claims the CIA tried to kill Kim.)

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