Kim Jong Il’s former chef has escaped North Korea, and now that the ex-dictator is dead, he’s got a sh-t load of stories to tell. In an (extremely long, but thorough) interview with GQ magazine, Japanese sushi chef Kenji Fujimoto opened up about his life with Jong Il.
As expected Fujimoto said that the deceased was pretty crazy, and lived his life like a Korean rockstar… who doubles as a dictator.
Fujimoto worked as personal chef, wing man, and anything else the leader needed him to be. “I didn’t know much about it,” Fujimoto said of North Korea. In 1982 he relocated to the country to teach young chefs how to make sushi. “I knew that [Jong Il’s father] Kim Il Sung was the leader of the country. I knew about the thirty-eighth parallel [a circle of latitude spanning different continents, and named the diving line in N. Korea]. That’s about it.”
Over the next 11 years, he’s saw lots of crazy things, revealing that Jong Il had a “Joy Division, a “brigade” of young women and teen girls whose job was to please him. The women were there to “provide entertainment, massages, and s-xual gratification…Depending on his mood,” Fijumoto said. “The Dear Leader might order them to sing sentimental songs, disco dance, strip naked, or hold spontaneous boxing matches.”
When he wasn’t witnessing non-food related exploits, Fijumoto had to pay special attention to Jong Il’s meals. Every grain of rice had to be inspected to make sure it wasn’t cracked or chipped, plus he had to do McDonald’s runs:
“And when the Dear Leader craved McDonald’s, it was Fujimoto who was dispatched to Beijing for an order of Big Macs to go.”
He wasn’t all bad though, Jong Il also had a funny bone. He once shaved an unconscious Fujimoto’s p-bic hair as a practical joke. But like any abusive relationship, the chef and his boss had their low points. Jong Il tried to have Fujimoto murdered when he was arrested buying fish in Japan back in 1996, then he told him to get over it:
“He urged Fujimoto to forget about it, he was still alive wasn’t he? It was Kim’s wife, Ko Young-Hee who reminded him of how funny and lovable his Japanese friend had been. Thus the killer was recalled.”
Fujimoto made his escape by showing Jong Il an episode of the Food Network’s Iron Chef series, knowing that the “Dear Leader” would send him back to Japan to get a secret ingredient to recreate the recipe on the episode. It worked, and Jong Il passed away in 2011. His son, Kim Jong-Un has taken over his post. Fujimoto is credited with introducing the young dictator to basketball.