Booze, brawls, bans all part of history of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan
Second in a three-part series
TOKYO — During the Yurakucho Denki Building era, starting in 1976, the Club was led by a corps of fascinating journalists who chronicled the global trade wars sparked by the low-price, high-quality exports from Japanese industry and the epic Bubble Era of Japan that ensued, highlighted by Sony’s purchase of Columbia Studios and Mitsubishi buying up Rockefeller Center. Among the leading reporters of the era was Karel van Wolferen, the Dutch author of the groundbreaking “Enigma of Japanese Power,” a brilliant orator who loved to rail about the evil influence of America on Japan— and drink white wine in copious amounts.
Another character was Italian photo journalist/filmmaker and Sky News reporter Pio D’Emilia, white-bearded, with horn-rimmed glasses and a fake cigar always clenched between his teeth, who did a series of well-known film documentaries on Japan, including a behind-the-scenes look at the Shinjuku yakuza. Pio was a socialist who tried to organize the FCCJ staff into a union. Then there was Bradley Martin, big, burly, brilliant and gregarious, author of the classic book on North Korea, “Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader” and the novel “Nuclear Blues,” set in the DPRK. Bradley was famous for liking I.W. Harper (“best consumed in the fall”).