The man who served as Kim Jong Il's sushi chef and confidant for more than a decade has spoken out about what it was like working for the North Korean dictator, giving an inside look into his partying ways, strange requests, and odd behavior.
Known by his pseudonym Kenji Fujimoto, the Japanese chef worked for Jong Il for 11 years in North Korea before defecting to his home country in 2001. Part chef, part confidant, part friend, Fujimoto witnessed the Supreme Leader's decadence first hand, and spilled all of the crazy stories to author Adam Johnson for a feature-length piece in GQ this week.
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Fujimoto dished on Jong Il's pop culture obsessions ("Iron Chef" and Arnold Schwarzenegger movies), his culinary quirks (every grain of rice he ingested had to be hand-inspected for any cracks or chips), and his love of women (he maintained a "Joy Division," a brigade of young North Korean girls kept to entertain him, give massages, and provide sexual gratification).
One time, Jong Il had Fujimoto fly to Beijing to get Big Macs from a McDonald's there.
Fujimoto said Jong Il befriended him because he wasn’t a typical "yes" man.
In one of their earliest encounters, Fujimoto says he was making sushi for Jong Il at a party when the dictator tossed an envelope full of cash at Fujimoto's feet. The chef refused to pick up the envelope despite the fact his interpreter informed him that he could be killed for the offense. At the next party, Jong Il actually apologized to Fujimoto.
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In another incident, the dictator challenged Fujimoto to a Jet Ski race and Fujimoto won, something the minions that surrounded Jong Il never did
Fujimoto fled from Pyongyang in 2001, but hopes to return in the future to open a noodle restaurant and guide Jong Il's successor, Kim Jong Un.
Jong Il died in 2011 at age 70.
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