A vivacious Australian named Maggie once shook up Tokyo's club scene
Second in a five-part series
TOKYO — There were other ways for foreign women to make in the mizu shobai besides hostessing, as an ebullient, auburn-haired Australian known as Maggie ably demonstrated. Maggie had come to Japan in the late 1970s at a very young age after her boyfriend, a Melbourne underworld figure, was sent to prison. It wasn't long before she took Roppongi by storm and wrote her own colorful chapter in the history of the quarter.
Although Maggie not surprisingly lacked the subtlety of temperament required to be a good Ginza hostess — a job she initially tried her hand at — she displayed great networking skills long before the term became popular and had a knack for making friends across a broad spectrum of society, from the underworld to the diplomatic community. She also knew how to have fun, holding loud rollicking parties that people talked about for weeks afterward. Those talents landed her a job as a greeting hostess and floor manager of "Chaps" — a country and western bar that opened up in Roppongi on the edge of its famous cemetery in 1982.
Chaps was the creation of a Tokyo couple named Miyoko and Art Naruse who owned the jazz clubs "After 6" and "Casanova," also located in the area. Miyoko, an extraordinarily beautiful woman, known in some quarters as the Liz Taylor of Tokyo, and her husband Art, a bass player by profession, were avid country and western music buffs who often traveled to Nashville to see the Grand Ole Opry and other shows. They had long wanted to start a country and western bar of their own in Tokyo in the city and Chaps — a basement level affair with a bar, a few stools, assorted wooden tables and a stage — was the realization of that dream. She and Art brought in a "C&W" singer from the States, hiring the gregarious Maggie as the finishing touch.