The Dear Reader: DPRK Observations & Musings


A Fresh Batch of Stories from North Korea’s Most Famous Sushi Chef

For the briefest of moments earlier this week, Kenji Fujimoto‘s interview with GQ magazine was online. But evidently, this was the result of a premature mistake on the part of some Web employee as the article was quickly pulled back down until it can properly follow the arrival of the June print edition.

No doubt the article will be a must-read. Although it’s always hard to determine exactly how much of what Fujimoto recalls is in fact 100% memory-accurate, it’s frightening to think that besides Dennis Rodman, this pseudonymous man’s recollections of a very young Kim Jong-un are one of the best sources of information we have about the DPRK‘s current leader.

SCMPMagazineCoverThe good news for Fujimoto fans is that another interview, with the South China Morning Post, is online. In that one, the former Kim Jong-il personal chef shares all sorts of great stories.

First of all, it’s a testament to how much Kim Jong-il liked Fujimoto that the latter is still around today to tell the tale of how he almost sank his boss, the boss’s wife and children while aboard a UN-ban worthy yacht. As far as the child who would go on to become Leader #3, the posturing started at a young age:

The thing Fujimoto remembers most about the future head of state, then aged 11, was that he carried a Colt 45 pistol strapped to his belt.

“I first met Kim Jong-un in January 1990, when he was seven years old,” Fujimoto recalls. “I will never forget the look he had, the stare of those strong eyes. That is something that is imprinted in my memory.”

There is so much more great stuff in the May 12 Post magazine article “What the Cook Saw,” including Fujimoto‘s detailed recollection of his first North Korea leadership experience in the fall of 1982. It involved 10 kidnapped Thai women, an 8:30 p.m. catered dinner delayed by six hours and a curious Kim Jong-il.

Read the Post magazine article here.


Filed under: Kim Jong-il

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