14:53 GMT +324 June 2019
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    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

    #Kimunji: Emoji Line Mocks North Korea's Leader

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    An American web designer has created a set of emojis that poke fun at the regime of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un while also mocking reality TV star Kim Kardashian's popular set of Internet icons.

    Ben Gillian said he created "#Kimunji – The Real Kimoji" as a parody of the Kimoji series, emojis based on Kardashian, including hearts, kisses and doughnuts, as well as the TV star in a bra, and even her famous posterior.

    "The content is pretty crass – I don't even want to mention some of the images that are on there," Gillin, 32, told the New York Times. "Lots of kids look up to the Kardashians. As far as I gather, most of the people using these are under the age of 20."

    Gillin's series, based on North Korea's most-famous Kim, includes images of Kim Jong Un, his father and grandfather, as well as illustrations of missiles and mushroom clouds from atomic blasts.

    ​There is also an emoji of Dennis Rodman, the eccentric former National Basketball Association star who visited North Korea in 2013 and 2014, and reportedly once sang "Happy Birthday" to Kim.

    "Kim Jong-un is obviously a terrible person, but in some respects what the Kimoji app is doing to society is also terrible," Gillin was quoted as saying by the BBC.

    Kardashian's Kimoji app, which includes more than 500 icons of her, became the top-selling app on iTunes when it went on sale late last year. The app currently is in second place in the United States paid app chart on iTunes.

    Kim Kardashian and Kanye West arrive at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala.
    © AP Photo / Charles Sykes
    Kim Kardashian and Kanye West arrive at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala.

    In three days, Gillin's app received nearly as many votes as the Kimoji app on the website Product Hunt, an online community that allows designers to post their products and get feedback from other developers.

    "The reaction has been great, overall," Gillin told the Times. "There are people who are angry, who think it's honoring Kim Jong-un, which is in no way the intent."

    He said his goal was to draw attention to Kardashian’s influence. She has 60 million Instagram followers, a number that dwarfs the population of North Korea.

    "The point of my product was to show how silly the Kim Kardashian emojis are, like holding up a mirror at the other Kimojis," he said.

    "In no way do I want to downplay the human rights violations in North Korea – that's super serious and oftentimes overlooked," Gillin told the BBC.

    Tags:
    Kim Jong-un, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), emoji, Dennis Rodman, Kim Kardashian, United States
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