Dewi Sukarno

The first lady to Indonesia’s first president for the last decade of his life, Dewi Sukarno’s colourful legacy and extensive international charity work continues beyond his time


Dewi Sukarno’s storied history began as a teenager in 1959, when as Naoko Nemoto she met Indonesia’s founding father in her hometown of Tokyo, Japan. They married in 1962, and Dewi Sukarno became the first president’s third wife before he passed away years later, at which point she fled the country in exile, living in France, Switzerland and the USA before settling back home in Japan.

Sukarno went on to live a rich and colourful life, and is now known for her outspoken personality and charity galas. Formerly the chair of the Imperial Charity Ball, she has contributed large donations to the Japanese Red Cross Society, the Association for Aid and Relief Japan and the Special Olympics.

Sukarno has also made donations in disaster-stricken areas like Kashmir, Tohoku and North Korea. In 2005, she became the founder of the Earth Aid Society, a non-profit organisation that aims to support refugees and disaster victims worldwide, as well as other under-privileged communities.

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In 1960, Dewi Sukarno was appointed as the honorary chair of the Japan-Indonesia Friendship Association.

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