kottke.org posts about Kim Jong-il

Kim Jong-il's sushi chefJun 04 2013

Kenji Fujimoto spent more than a decade as Kim Jong-il's personal chef and his children's nanny. This is his amazing story.

At a lavish Wonsan guesthouse, Fujimoto prepared sushi for a group of executives who would be arriving on a yacht. Executive is Fujimoto's euphemism for generals, party officials, or high-level bureaucrats. In other words, Kim Jong-il's personal entourage. Andguesthouse is code for a series of palaces decorated with cold marble, silver-braided bedspreads, ice purple paintings of kimilsungia blossoms, and ceilings airbrushed with the cran-apple mist of sunset, as if Liberace's jet had crashed into Lenin's tomb.

At two in the morning, the boat finally docked. Fujimoto began serving sushi for men who obviously had been through a long party already. He would come to realize these parties tended to be stacked one atop another, sometimes four in a row, spreading out over days.

All the men wore military uniforms except for one imperious fellow in a casual sports tracksuit. This man was curious about the fish. He asked Fujimoto about the marbled, fleshy cuts he was preparing.

"That's toro," Fujimoto told him.

For the rest of the night, this man kept calling out, "Toro, one more!"

The next day, Fujimoto was talking to the mamasan of his hotel. She was holding a newspaper, the official Rodong Sinmun, and on the front page was a photo of the man in the tracksuit. Fujimoto told her this was the man he'd just served dinner.

"She started trembling," Fujimoto said of the moment he realized the man's true identity. "Then I started trembling."

The man in the tracksuit invited Fujimoto back to make more sushi. Fujimoto didn't speak Korean, so he had a government-appointed interpreter with him at all times. At the end of the evening, a valet handed the interpreter an envelope.

"From Jang-gun-nim," the valet said.

Perhaps the reason Fujimoto hadn't known he'd been serving Kim Jong-il was because "no one ever called him by his real name," Fujimoto said. "Never."

Kim Jong-il deadDec 19 2011

The North Korean leader died two days ago and now no one knows who's in charge or what's going to happen, which is pretty much par for the course for North Korea.

Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader who realized his family's dream of turning his starving, isolated country into a nuclear-weapons power even as it sank further into despotism, died on Saturday of a heart attack while traveling on his train, according to an announcement Monday by the country's state-run media.

Whatever else might be said about him, Kim sure liked to look at things.

Kim Jong-il looks at thingsDec 01 2010

A collection of photos of Dear Leader looking at things: corn, your desktop, wheat.

Kim Jong Il looking

Actually, I can't recall seeing a photo of Kim doing anything but looking at stuff. (thx, steve)

Kim Jong-il's special titlesNov 03 2010

Wikipedia has a list of all the ridiculous titles that have been used in the North Korean media to refer to Dickhead-in-Chief Kim Jong-il. A sampling:

Superior Person
Sun of Communist Future
Highest Incarnation of the Revolutionary Comradely Love
Beloved and Respected General
Invincible and Iron-Willed Commander
World's Leader of The 21st century
Glorious General, Who Descended From Heaven

(via @matthiasrascher)

Tags related to Kim Jong-il:
North Korea

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