“I Was Very Afraid of Failing, Because I Knew I Would Be Shot”


In a downright insane profile piece for GQ, Rumpus interviewee Adam Johnson talks to Kenji Fujimoto, the sushi chef and longtime friend of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il.

The article is just as wild and disturbing as Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son (which just won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize), but it’s nonfiction.

Read the whole thing for passages as cinematic as this one:

Fujimoto attributes his friendship with Kim Jong-il to his refusal to retrieve the envelope. “Shogun-sama thought I was different from other men, who were always trying to be nice and polite to him. He was surrounded by men who praised him.”

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →