The personal sushi chef of Kim Jong Il, father of current North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, recently returned to the isolated totalitarian state for a visit over a decade after he escaped through China and defected to Japan.
The Japanese sushi chef, known by the alias Kenji Fujimoto, worked for Kim Jong Il from 1988 to 2001. He previously defected from North Korea when he told the supreme leader that he needed to go get sea urchins from Hokkaido, Japan for a special dish and never came back.
While it is unknown why he would return to the country after escaping once before, Fujimoto reportedly had a peaceful visit and is on good terms with Kim Jong Un. On top of that, Fujimoto has returned to North Korea at least a couple times since.
Last month, Fujimoto met with Kim Jong Un to celebrate the birthday of Kim Il Sung, founder of North Korea and grandfather to Un.
Fujimoto reported that Un, who is suffering from gout, hosted a “Master Chef” cooking competition between 1,000 chefs to create North Korean food as well as Western foods like pizza and spaghetti — all this while his own people suffer from famine.
North Korean citizens are required to donate rice and other personal resources to the military and state. North Korea’s official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, warned citizens in March:
“We may have to go on an arduous march, during which we will have to chew the roots of plants once again.”