News

He loved Tetris, Super Mario

In the palace, I had two jobs, really. For Kim Jong Il, I was his main sushi chef. For Kim Jong Un, I was there to play with him, almost like a nanny.

- Mr Kenji Fujimoto, 66,

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un may be one of the most dangerous leaders in the world, but he is just a Hollywood-obsessed playboy, according to his former playmate, UK's Daily Mail reported.

Mr Kenji Fujimoto, 66, who spent more than a decade as head chef and confidant of Kim Jong Un's father, the late dictator Kim Jong Il, before escaping North Korea in 2001, was also the boy's playmate.

"In the palace, I had two jobs, really. For Kim Jong Il, I was his main sushi chef. For Kim Jong Un, I was there to play with him, almost like a nanny," said Mr Fujimoto.

"I would say I was the closest person to him when he was young. I felt like he was my own son."

Mr Fujimoto said they played together, ate together and slept on the same bed when Mr Fujimoto was not abroad purchasing food - fish from Tokyo and Big Mac from Beijing.

Mr Kim Jong Un learnt to drive at the age of seven, he said.

"They put a little box beneath his feet to help him reach the pedals and someone gave him instructions. The first car he got was a Mercedes-Benz, and he has owned Mercedes (cars) ever since. I'd say he has more than 10 now - all bulletproof."

He also said that when Mr Kim Jong Un was a child, his favourite computer games were Super Mario and Tetris, and that he drank whole bottles of vodka and smoked like a chimney.

PRIVATE PALACE

Giving details of the ruling family's private palace, Mr Fujimoto said: "It was incredible, with an enormous chandelier and all-cream furnishings.

"It had an Olympic-size pool, movie theatre and huge gym. The kids' playroom was big, with remote-controlled cars everywhere and a billiard table."

Mr Fujimoto said Mr Kim Jong Un was almost inseparable from his older brother, Mr Kim Jong Chul.

He said the pair would put on performances on their birthdays, with Mr Kim Jong Un singing the alphabet in front of everyone while his brother played the electric guitar.

Mr Kim Jong Un may have been virtually unknown outside North Korea until his appointment as leader in 2011, but Mr Fujimoto said that he had been singled out as the future heir since childhood by his father, who dismissed Mr Kim Jong Chul as "effeminate".

Mr Fujimoto also said that Mr Kim Jong Un's appetite for basketball was insatiable from a young age. It is said that even now, he never misses an NBA game.

"There was a hoop for children at a park at the Wonsan guest house (a palace)."

American stars Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman, who is now a well-publicised friend, were his idols.

Mr Fujimoto said that at age 15, Mr Kim Jong Un was sent to a private and costly international college near Berne in Switzerland, and later to the nearby Liebefeld-Steinholzli state school.

BEAUTIFUL WIFE

Upon his return to North Korea, Mr Kim Jong Un was encouraged to spend time with his father's "pleasure brigade".

But Mr Kim Jong Un "loathed" the idea, which led to Mr Fujimoto questioning whether he liked girls, he said.

Said Mr Fujimoto: "He never had a girlfriend. His father thought perhaps he wasn't even interested in girls. But when he was around 18, there was this one dancer in the palace and Jong Un came to me and said, 'That girl has really big breasts'. And so I thought, 'ah, he is interested in girls'. Now he has a very beautiful wife, Ri Sol Ju."

Mr Fujimoto said that hatred of his father's womanising could have led to Mr Kim Jong Un to executing his uncle Jang Song Thaek, who, he says, picked the pleasure brigade girls, most of whom were orphans or kidnap victims.

The uncle's role was to select the girls by stripping them naked and lifting their legs to "inspect their virginity".