North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's distinctive hairstyle is the 'do of the day on the Internet, thanks to a viral report that every male university student in the capital is now under orders to get a buzz just like it. But it appears the barbers of Pyongyang aren't exactly sharpening their scissors.
Recent visitors to the country say they've seen no evidence of any mass haircutting. North Korea watchers smell another imaginative but uncorroborated rumor.
(Read more: North Korea fires 10 short-range missiles)
The thinly sourced reports say an order went out a few weeks ago for university students to buzz cut the sides of their heads just like Kim. Washington, D.C.-based Radio Free Asia cited unnamed sources as saying an unwritten directive from somewhere within the ruling Workers' Party went out early this month, causing consternation among students who didn't think the new 'do would suit them.
"I was there just a few days ago, and no sign of that," said Simon Cockerell of Koryo Tours, which specializes in bringing foreign tourists to North Korea. "It's definitely not true."
An AP journalist in Pyongyang also said he had not seen any recent changes in hairstyles among college students in the capital.
Wide interest in the reports reflect the fascination the outside world has had with the unique hairstyles of both Kim Jong Un and his father, the late Kim Jong Il, who had a one-of-a-kind bouffant.
(Read more: China draws 'red line' on North Korea)
Though the forced grooming story may be one of many reported oddities about North Korea life that turn out to be false, it is true that the government has its own "fashion police."