“Toro, one more!” is what Kim Jong-Il (KJI), the now deceased North Korean dictator, would request from his former sushi-sama over and over again. Kenji Fujimoto, an alias, was Kim Jong-Il’s beloved sushi chef for several years.
But what would drive a man to leave behind a wife and two children in Japan to serve a cognac-guzzling dictator? The million dollar question is answered in a 9-web page expose by GQ.
In this multi-day interview, Fujimoto dishes out on his violent father, troubled past, marital discords, guilt, and pleasures. All these things have drove this man to appreciate the North Korean high life and coveted confidante status of KJI. The two even enjoyed “bro-nights” watching Iron Chef. Yet, after working in North Korea, marrying a young singer, falling out with KJI, and escaping in fear of his life, Fujimoto wishes to now spend the remainder of his life in North Korea. (Good luck on trying to get that state-owned black Mercedes again!)
This extensive interview with Fujimoto is a rare piece published fully in English. Fujimoto has published books in Japan about his life in North Korea and his experience returning but not much of the literature has been extensively translated into English. For avid North Korea watchers, this is a piece to read.
On a side note, why is it that magazines, such as GQ & Vice, do heck of a better job reporting on these interesting stories than most big dog news corps?