"Pleasure squads" have existed in North Korea since the rule of the country's communist founder Kim Il Sung, grandfather of the present dictator. Officials were sent to select women and girls they deemed the prettiest to the dictator's many mansions, where they were expected to be available upon request. The South Korean Paper Chosun Ilbo reports that Kim Jong Un became interested in re-forming the troupe while recovering from an undisclosed physical ailment at one of his summer cottages last year.
|Dear Leader Pleasure Squad Member #1839|
According to the paper, many of the women were "retired" from the squads in their 20s and paired off with military officers looking for wives.
The group that used to perform for Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, was disbanded shortly after the elder Kim's death in December 2011. The members were made to sign a pledge of secrecy in exchange for money and gifts. Toshimitsu Shigemura, a professor at Tokyo's Waseda University described as an authority on North Korean affairs, said that Kim believed the women who entertained his father knew too many state secrets.
The Chosun Ilbo reported the women who worked as entertainers received an amount of money worth $4,000 before returning to their hometowns. Women who worked in Kim's palaces and summer homes as maids and cleaners received about half that amount.
Both groups of women also reportedly received home appliances.