The Japanese Tattoo (Weatherhill, Tokyo, 1980), text Donald Richie, photographs Ian Buruma

Behind the Mask: On Sexual Demons, Sacred Mothers, Transvestites, Gangsters, Drifters and Other Japanese Cultural Heroes(Pantheon, 1984), entitled A Japanese Mirror (Cape, 1983) in the UK

God’s Dust: A Modern Asian Journey (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1988)

Playing the Game (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1990)

The Wages of Guilt: Memories of War in Japan and Germany (Farrar, Straus, Giroux,1995)

The Missionary and the Libertine: Love and War in East and West (Random House, 1996)

Anglomania: a European Love Affair (Random House, 1999), entitled Voltaire’s Coconuts, or Anglomania in Europe(Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999) in the UK

Bad Elements: Among the Rebels, Dissidents, and Democrats of Greater China (Random House, 2001)

Inventing Japan: 1853-1964 (Modern Library Chronicles, 2003)

Occidentalism: The West in the Eyes of its Enemies (Penguin USA, 2004)

Conversations with John Schlesinger (Random House, 2006)

Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo Van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance(Penguin USA, 2006)

The China Lover (Penguin USA, 2008)

Taming the Gods: Religion and Democracy on Three Continents (Princeton University Press, 2010).

Grenzen aan de vrijheid: van De Sade tot Wilders (Lemniscaat, 2010)

Theater of Cruelty (NYRB, 2014)

Year Zero: A History of 1945 (Penguin USA, 2013)

Their Promised Land: My Grandparents in Love and War (Penguin USA, 2016)

A Tokyo Romance (Penguin USA, 2018)

Introductory and Catalogue Essays:

Tokyo: Form and Spirit (Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1986)

A House for Mr Biswas by V.S.Naipaul (Penguin, 1992)

Geisha: The Life, the Voices, the Art, photographs by Jodi Cobb (Alfred Knopf, 1995)

Bruce and Norman Yonemoto: Memory, Matter, and Modern Romance (Fellows of Contemporary Art, 1999)

The Diaries of a Cosmopolitan 1918-1937 by Count Harry Kessler  (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999)

India: A Mosaic, edited by Robert B. Silvers and Barbara Epstein (NYRB, 2000)

Rene Leys by Victor Segalen (NYRB, 2003)

The American Effect (Whitney Museum of American Art, 2003)

Chrysanthemum and the Sword by Ruth Benedict (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)

AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006)

Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006)