Kim Jong-un hit the headlines last week after it was believed the North Korean dictator had died during heart surgery. Rumours circulated that a doctor with “shaking hands” had botched the surgery. But the leader resurfaced for a celebration at a fertiliser factory on Friday (May 1), which was the first time he had been seen in public for nearly three weeks. The shock reemergence has led many North Korean ‘defectors’ to apologise for comments that he was “gravely ill” and even dead. Many have since speculated about where the leader may have been and why he didn’t contradict the spiraling rumours. One claim was that it was a “test” to see who would try to ascend to the throne in the wake of his demise. Some have controversially speculated that a wave of gruesome public executions could follow – in response to this betrayal and quell any potential uprising. Very little is known about the highly secretive nation and their leader, due to widespread censorship, extreme isolationism and propaganda. But in unearthed accounts, one whistleblower who worked under the Kim family revealed damning and insightful details about the nation’s leader.
Japanese sushi chef Kenji Fujimoto became one of the first people to go on record with accounts of what North Korea’s first family were truly like.
He started working for Kim Jong-il, the current dictator’s father, who had an insatiable appetite for raw-fish cuisine.
The chef was also tasked with being a “playmate” for Kim Jong-un from the age of seven until he was 18 years old.
Despite their clashes, Mr Fujimoto appeared to have developed a soft spot for the future dictator and observed why he was chosen to lead North Korea over his older siblings.
He described the difficulties faced by someone under the rule in the 2003 memoir ‘I was Kim Jong-il’s Cook’.
There Mr Fujimoto recounted one particularly poignant moment, from his first interaction with Kim Jong-un when he was still a child.
The chef explained that it was known from an early age that the young boy would become the leader of North Korea after his father’s passing in 2011.
Fear of retribution led Mr Fujimoto to refer to the child as “prince” and to never call out any of his bad behaviour or actions as he knew the consequences could be fatal.
He wrote: “Jong-un will be his father’s successor. Everyone used to say it. He looked and acted just like him.
“[He’s] a chip off the old block, a spitting image of his father in terms of face, body shape and personality.
“When he shook hands with me, he stared at me with a vicious look.
“I cannot forget the look in the Prince’s eyes. It’s as if he was thinking, ‘This guy is a despicable Japanese’.”
Mr Fujiomoto claimed that Kim Jong-un usurped his two older siblings to rule the nation due to his father’s favouritism for the youngster.
He explained that sibling Kim Jong-chul was ruled out of becoming successor to the throne because he was considered weak and “girlish”.
Kim Jong-nam was alleged to have fallen out with his father because of his “wayward lifestyle” and gambling habit – taking him out of the leadership deliberations too.
Meanwhile Kim Jong-un was considered to be calculated, who was fiercely competitive with a longing to be in control.