Hersey’s Partyline September 1978
Socialite Dewi Sukarno‘s been in Tokyo and really added her own kind of glamor to the social scene. She is something else. Japanese weeklies were having a heyday in the “below the belt” way they seem to excel. According to them, she was here “to be a hostess at the New Shu Club” and for this got everything from “a new Rolls Royce to about ¥15,000,000 in cash.”
She was a special guest at her friend’s club and did receive some compensation for it. So what? That’s her business, and apparently the people who made the arrangements feel she rates high enough as a celebrity to command a good fee. Are the princes, princesses, and film stars who do the same thing around the world all that different?
Dewi had other things to do besides be a special guest. She completed negotiations on the translation of her book in English, and she and her daughter, Karima, went to Indonesia for five days as a guest of the government. This was the first time she’d been allowed to return there, and she and her daughter paid homage at Sukarno’s grave. In addition to all this, Asahi TV will be doing a 90-minute special on her life.
Actually I had expected Dewi to come to Japan last month. She was here earlier this year with the idea of bringing to Japan one of France’s biggest social events, the “Bal des Petits Lits Blanes” . . . a charity ball for children’s hospitals. From what I gathered, hotels and big businesses here just aren’t all that charitable, and the ball was held in Morocco. It’s kind of a shame we didn’t have the ball. But there’s been quite a bit going on the last few weeks, so let’s get on with happenings here.
Qatar National Day Celebration
I did make the Tokyo happenings right up to the time I left, and this column should catch up on just about everything. A few weeks ago, on Sept. 4 over at the Hotel New Otani, Qatari Ambassador and Mme. Hamad Mansour Al-Hajiri were hosts at a reception celebrating their National Day. I had the privilege of escorting Dewi Sukarno to the party and enjoyed watching her marvelous way with people. For the occasion she wore a long rose-colored chiffon dress by Louis Ferrer. We were greeted at the door by Ambassador and Mme. Al-Hajiri. He was dressed in Qatar’s national dress and she was wearing a black chiffon dress trimmed in sequins and beads. Their little girl, Luluwa, who just turned 6, had picked out her own dress for the party—all pink frills and ribbons.
The huge room was dominated by an ice carving of Qatar’s national symbol; there were many floral tributes from Japanese companies; and a huge picture of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Hamad Al-Thani, the emir of Kuwait, hung between the Qatarian and Japanese flags. The party was crowded with an interesting mix of diplomats, top-level Japanese officials, and foreign and Japanese executives. Well-known faces included Keisuke Arita, vice minister of Foreign Affairs, Hideo Kagami, director general of Public Information, and Mr. Nakatani, head of the Japan-Arab Association.
As we moved around the room, almost everyone asked to have his photo taken with Dewi. She always obliged and seemed to find a common topic of conversation with everyone. When we were with several Arab ambassadors who were talking in Arabic, she didn’t say anything for a few minutes and then announced: “I can understand everything you’re saying.” You should have seen their faces. She laughed and said, “I’m only joking. I did learn many prayers in Arabic when I went to Mecca, but have forgotten them.”
Chuck Wilson was there with his Nancy, and he really seemed to be enjoying the buffet. Arab League Director Khalil Azhari came with two of his daughters and two of his sons. Three of them will be going to college in North Carolina later this year. He also introduced me to his new attaché, Shehab A. Bayoumi. Another newcomer at the reception was Khalifa Almerre, who’s with the United Arab Emirates Embassy. Mexico’s Minister Counselor Sr. Robles was there, and he, of course, is looking forward to his president’s visit in late October. It was also nice to see the Peruvian ambassador, Cesar Espejo-Romero, and his wife, Wally, back after a holiday in the Philippines. The ambassador also presented his credentials in Thailand, and they were able to take a few days off and go to Pattaya Beach.
Reception honors De Beacue and Coste
A reception was held in the French Embassy Sept. 28 to honor Thierry de Beauce, cultural counselor, who will be leaving Japan for a new assignment in Morocco soon. De Beauce will actually swap assignments with Gerard Coste, who has newly arrived from Rabat, Morocco, where he was political counselor.
In and Around Tokyo
• Ashley Leiman, who’s lived “around the world,” most recently in Hong Kong, where she was sales coordinator for the popular magazine Hong Kong Tatler. She’s here with her husband, Russell, of Vickers da Costa Stockbrokers. A nice couple, and we hope they enjoy their stay in Japan.
•Michael Falconer and Allen Liddle, both of Gallagbar Ltd of London. They were here to promote Silk Cut International, England’s best-selling cigarettes. Good luck with the monopoly, gentlemen. From what I’ve heard, it’s not easy.
•G. Barbarisi, president of Da Vinci Leather of Florence, and Ennio Grottini, general manager of the GEB Leather Factory in Bologna. Both companies rank among Italy’s finest, and the lines they showed here for a week at the Imperial Hotel were leather-craft at its best. The new wine-colored leather and suede fashions and accessories are really chic.