Alexander worked and played with equal zeal
Millard “Corky” Alexander, the genial editor and publisher of the Tokyo Weekender, a newspaper that has served as a forum for Tokyo’s foreign and English-speaking Japanese community for more than 30 years, collapsed and died Dec. 3rd in Tokyo. He was 73.
Friends said Alexander was enjoying a party with his wife Mary and their family at a private home when he suddenly lost consciousness. He was pronounced dead at a Tokyo hospital.
A friendly, outgoing Texan by birth and persuasion, Alexander came to Asia in the 1950s to cover the Korean War and its aftermath with a military Combat Photo Squadron. He took up residence in Japan as the editor of a monthly magazine for the U.S. Armed Forces in nagoya in 1955, then, in 1957, joined Pacific Stars and Stripes as an editor-reporter in Tokyo.
‘What a wonderful guy. On the golf course, at the poker table, in the newsroom, at the bowling alley, at his home — everywhere, he was the best-ever companion. As far as I know, everybody loved him. So did I.’
Fred Rehal, PS&S ’50s-’80s
In the 1960s, Alexander founded Image Public Relations in Tokyo doing entertainment PR work and publishing information for military personnel coming from Vietnam to Tokyo on rest and recreation leave.
“I had done plenty of research by that time and realized there was no one who was reporting on Tokyo’s foreign community,” Corky said in a Life in Japan column he wrote for Metropolis magazine.
The first Tokyo Weekender was published on Feb. 13, 1970 chronicling the small but active foreign community in Tokyo. True to his ways, Corky said that after the first issue come out, “We had a four-day party to celebrate.”
Alexander loved to play hard and work hard. “This toddlin’ old town was once a roaring, ‘round-the-clock wingding of a nonstop party,” he recalled in a Weekender column. “I recall running the streets of Roppongi, Ginza, Shimbashi, Toranomon, Yoshiwara(yes!) and environs in my early-to-mid 20’s till the pre-dawn hours, then making it to the office at 5, ready for a day’s work. Or for 18 holes on the golf course, never worse for wear.”
He was a longtime associate member of the Foreign Correspondents Club, the Tokyo chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Tokyo American Club, where he published the club newspaper and later magazine. Glenn Davis, a longtime friend and fellow Texan said, “Corky was one of the best liked people in Tokyo, with hundreds of friends here and around the world.”
He is survived by his wife, Mary, and their four daughters, and eight grandchildren. Son-in-law Jim Merk is the Managing editor of the Weekender.
Champagne, not crepe, marks Corky’s death
By Hal Drake
Cork gone. What a kick in the heart.
The first thing I told myself, when I heard, was what a gloomy, crepe-hanging Christmas this was going to be.
But then I had to push that aside and recall the Cork of Christmas past — the roundelay that began in the shabby Quonset hut next to Pacific Stars and Stripes and rollicked on the John’s, the Silk Hat, the Green Spot and every plank-and-nail dive on the Roppongi Corner strip.
We should have been in our burrows at Washington Heights — listening to Lionel Barrymore read “A Christmas Carol” on FEN.
But there was too much merriment to go around; Corky always led the procession, the Pied Piper to next day’s hangover damnation.
A good woman married a good man. After a sudden job loss, Mary urged Corky to go out on his own — sell his talents as a free agent. Corky did it and did it well.
Cork had viscera; he flew in the face of discouraging odds when he started the Tokyo Weekender. So many such sheets had taken off, floundered along for a couple of issues, then crashed and burned. The Weekender made a smooth professional takeoff, easily cleared the runway and is soaring along 32 years later.
Cork was never a man who wore sorrow on his sleeve.
I recall the time he lost a brother and a close friend. No sad songs for Corky. He took fond memories out like keepsakes, recalling in particular how his brother used to drive under his bedroom window before dawn and honk him awake to go hunting.
knowing Corky was knowing people — people such as Steve Parker and Jean Pearce and Clyde McAvoy, Bill and Maria Glaza — too many to count or name.
Corky had friends.
He wad friend to me — a professional confidant who liked the ruffles and flourishes in my writing as much as I admired the jaunty humor in his.
He’s gone, and what have we left?
For my part and Kaz’s, there are wonderful memories of a wonderful guy and a warm, delightful family.
Corky Alexander died wealthy with love and beauty. He loved and was loved by a lovely family and worldwide community of friends.
I did’t shut out any holidays, icing up my last and only bottle of Moet Chandon to toast those wonderful times. There was no moratorium on merriment in the Drake house. Corky wouldn’t have wanted it that way.
Junuary — February 2003掲載記事：【Tokyo Weekender 2003.10.11】
Tokyo Weekender | Japan’s Premier English Magazine