Novelist Adam Johnson meets Kenji Fujimoto, a man who became the Dear Leader’s cook, confidant, and court jester:

“Many people envied me because I was a favorite of Kim Jong-il. At the parties, I poured sake for Shogun-sama, but Shogun-sama also poured sake for me, which was very rare. Every time Shogun-sama said to me, Do you like me? I answered, Of course, I like you so much. I was thinking about making a joke—I don’t like you, I despise you. I wanted to say that as a joke, but I had no courage. Shogun-sama said, If you like me, why don’t you kiss me on the cheek? I don’t remember how many times I kissed him. A hundred times? A hundred kisses. We would go to the sauna together, naked. Shogun-sama said, Oh, you have a good body, a masculine body. I said, I’m good at sports. It’s not too much to say I was a good playmate for Kim Jong-il. And every time he asked me to kiss his face, he always said to me, If you betray me, you will… Then he would go silent and make a gesture of a knife going into my stomach.”