Little is known about North Korea’s “Dear Leader,” Kim Jong-un, but one man survived to talk about him.
North Korea is a mythically bizarre land, a nation where almost nothing is known about the people or, more important, the regime ran by the Rosie O’Donnell-styled leader, Kim Jong-un. There is, however, one man — a modest sushi chef — who penetrated the inner chamber, becoming the Dear Leader’s cook and servant for one year. What is life like serving chubby Kim?
A weird and perilous gig where Prince blasts from the speakers, the girls are all virgins, and Dennis Rodman roams around in a bathrobe. Adam Johnson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, recently met the man who survived all the idiocy.
When he wasn’t in the kitchen, Kenji Fujimoto, a Japanese cook, was allowed to ride the white stallions, go paint-balling with Kim, and look on as, one by one, the leader shot the other paintball participants with a real gun.
“He saved me, why? Because I am an excellent chef,” declared Fujimoto, obviously grateful to have survived that unforgettable Sunday afternoon. “It was my job to ensure the Dear Leader ate the finest food imaginable. He once flew me to France just to pick up a baguette. It was stale by the time I got back, but the guy is a pig, he will eat anything,” he said. And when Kim craved KFC, it was Fujimoto who flew to Beijing for a bucket of chicken to go.
When he finally managed to escape, Fujimoto became one of the world’s most discussed individuals.
“How did you escape? I’m sure it is a tale that involves nothing but blood and sweat, maybe even some tears,” says Johnson.
With a laugh and a shrug of the shoulders, Kenji replies, “He sent me on a trip to Tokyo to pick up some sushi. Once I got off the plane, well, I just ran away. It was quite easy. My home is only ten minutes from the airport.”