Dewi Sukarno (デヴィ・スカルノ Devi Sukaruno), born Naoko Nemoto (根本七保子, Nemoto Naoko?, born February 6, 1940), is a Japanese socialite and one of the wives of former Indonesian leader Sukarno.
Dewi Sukarno met the 57-year-old Sukarno when she was 19, when the then-Indonesian president was on a state visit to Japan. Prior to becoming Sukarno’s wife, she was an art student and entertainer. There were rumors of her having worked as a geisha, but she has repeatedly denied this. She had one daughter, Kartika, with Sukarno. Sukarno was overthrown by General Suharto in a 1967 coup, and died three years later.
Dewi Sukarno, who moved to Europe after Sukarno’s ouster, has lived in many different countries, including Switzerland, France, and the United States. As of 2008 she resides in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan, where she lives in a spacious, four-storey, memorabilia-filled residence.
Dewi Sukarno is known for her outspoken personality. She is often referred to as Dewi Fujin (デヴィ夫人 Devi Fujin, literally “Mrs. Dewi” or “Madame Dewi”). Her full name is Ratna Sari Dewi Sukarno (ラトナ・サリ・デヴィ・スカルノ Ratona Sari Devi Sukaruno), but she is commonly referred to simply as “Madame Dewi”. 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 2008 Dewi Sukarno runs her own jewelry and cosmetics businesses, and is active in charity fund raising. She makes occasional appearances on Japanese TV shows, and has served as a judge for beauty contests, such as the 2005 Miss International pageant held in Tokyo.
In January 1992, Dewi became involved in a much-publicized altercation in a party in Aspen, Colorado, United States with fellow international socialite and heiress Minnie Osmeña, daughter of a former president of the Philippines. Tensions already existed between the two, beginning with an exchange at another party several months before, where Dewi was heard to laugh when Osmena declared her political plans, among which was the desire to run for the office of Philippine vice president. The Aspen spat, reportedly triggered by an allusion made by Osmena to Dewi’s past, culminated in Dewi hitting Osmena in the face with a wine glass, leaving a gash that needed 37 stitches to repair . Dewi was jailed for 34 days in Aspen for disorderly conduct after the incident.
Two years later, she posed for a book of photographs that was published in her native Japan, where 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, with many Indonesians feeling offended by what was perceived to be the besmirching of the Sukarno name and legacy