Ratna Sari Dewi Sukarno in 1970
|Born||Naoko Nemoto; 根本七保子
6 February 1940
Tokyo, Empire of Japan
|Occupation||Businesswoman, socialite, television personality, philanthropist|
|Known for||Wife of Indonesian President Sukarno|
|Children||Kartika Sari Dewi Soekarno|
Dewi Sukarno (デヴィ・スカルノ Devi Sukaruno?), complete name Ratna Sari Dewi Sukarno (ラトナ・サリ・デヴィ・スカルノ Ratona Sari Devi Sukaruno?), born Naoko Nemoto (根本 七保子 Nemoto Naoko?, born February 6, 1940), is a Japanese Businesswoman, socialite, television personality, and philanthropist. She was one of the wives of the first President of Indonesia, Sukarno.
The 19-year-old Naoko Nemoto met the 57-year-old Sukarno at the Ginza hostess bar in Tokyo, near the Imperial Hotel. She was an arts student, entertainer and Japanese geisha, he was on a state visit to Japan.
Naoko married Sukarno in Indonesia in 1962 and converted to Islam, and Sukarno gave her the Indonesian name Ratna Sari Dewi Soekarno; derived from Javanese-Sanskrit which means "the jewel essence of a goddess". They had one daughter, Kartika (now uses the name "Carina"). Sukarno was overthrown by General Suharto in a 1967 coup, and died three years later.
The widowed Dewi Sukarno moved to Europe after Sukarno's ouster and has since lived in different countries, including Switzerland, France, and the United States. As of 2008 she resides in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan, where she lives in her memorabilia-filled residence.
Dewi Sukarno is known for her outspoken personality. In Japan, she is commonly referred to simply as Dewi Fujin (デヴィ夫人 Devi Fujin?, literally "Mrs. Dewi" or "Madame Dewi") rather than her full name. She made appearances in the news media after the January 2008 death of her husband's successor, Suharto, blaming him for instituting a repressive regime and likening him to Cambodian despot Pol Pot.
As of 2012, Dewi Sukarno enjoys caring for her 16 dogs and her cosmetics business, and has her own charity business that is often scrutinied by the National Tax Agency. She now makes a living doing part-time jobs and appearing on Japanese television, and has served as a judge for a beauty contest, as in the 2005 Miss International pageant held in Tokyo. She is well known for her sculpted beauty and often claims to have not had the facelifts and plastic surgery that her doctor has rumoured performing.
In January 1992, Dewi became involved in a much-publicised altercation at a party in Aspen, Colorado, United States with fellow international socialite and heiress, Minnie Osmeña. A granddaughter of a former President of the Philippines, Osmeña reportedly commented on Dewi's past, and the spat culminated in Dewi hitting Osmeña's face with a wine glass. Osmeña needed 37 stitches to seal the gash, while Dewi was later detained for 34 days in Aspen for disorderly conduct. Dewi and Osmeña had already been hostile to each other after an exchange at an earlier party months before, where Dewi was heard to laugh at Osmeña's political plans (among which was to run for Vice-President of the Philippines).
Two years later, she posed for a book of photographs that was published in her native Japan (well known as "Madame de Syuga"). Some of the images featured her partially naked, and others showed what appeared to be tattoo-like body art. The book, while not distributed in Indonesia, was immediately banned, and many Indonesians felt offended by what was perceived to be a disgrace of Sukarno's name and legacy.
After the 1967 coup, Dewi has had little involvement with Indonesian politics. She has worked with the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), and has expressed the wish to help refugees as well as people living under regimes like North Korea. When asked to comment about the reign of her stepdaughter, Megawati, all she replied was, "I think Megawati is gradually doing whatever she can. It's not easy being a Muslim woman president."
References in pop culture
In Nerima Daikon Brothers, the character Yukika Karakuri/Deb Sukarno/"Lady Deb" is a parody of Dewi Sukarno.
In Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei "President Sukarno" is on a list of "impressive things that are overshadowed"; "Madame Dewi" is what overshadows him.
On Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende she had a cameo appearance during the 2009 No Laughing Hotelman Batsu Game as a taxi driver.
- Cited sources
- Mydans, Seth (February 17, 1998). "Jakarta Journal; Weighty Past Pins the Wings of a Social Butterfly". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- "Suharto was Indonesia's Pol Pot: Sukarno widow". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. AFP. January 28, 2008.
- Lo, Ricardo F. "What's the Buzz". Philippine Star. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
- Sukarno, Dewi (February 2003). "New York on S5,000 a Day". Harper's: 20.(subscription required)