The New York Review of Books

Memory of Justice (August 17, 2017)

The Indescribably Fragrance of Youth (May 11, 2017)

Japan, Beautiful, Savage, Mute (February 9, 2017)

The Weird Success of Guy Burgess (December 22, 2016)

Oscar Wilde’s Living Death (November 24, 2016)

Capital of Europe (April 7, 2016)

French Love For Sale (December 17, 2015)

The Violent Mysteries of Indonesia (October 22, 2015)

Beauty Is a Wound

by Eka Kurniawan, translated from the Indonesian by Annie Tucker
New Directions, 470 pp., $19.95 (paper)

The Act of Killing

a film directed by Joshua Oppenheimer

The Look of Silence

a film directed by Joshua Oppenheimer


In North Korea: Wonder and Terror (June 4, 2015)

The Bridge to a Dangerous Future (March 5, 2015)

The Worst Railroad Job (November 20, 2014)

The Narrow Road to the Deep North, By Richard Flanagan

Can He Take Back Japan? (November 6, 2014)

A Very Superior German Liberal (August 14, 2014)

Not I: Memoirs of a German Childhood By Joachim Fest

China: Reeducation Through Horror (January 9 2014)

The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution, 1945–1957 by Frank Dikötter

Drifting Off In A World of Their Own (November 7 2013)

Balthus: Cats and Girls—Paintings and Provocations

Hell in Paradise (September 26 2013)

Hell in Paradise

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

The Man Who Got it Right (August 15 2013)

The Hall of Uselessness: Collected Essays by Simon Leys, New York Review Books, 572 pp., $19.95 (paper)

Imelda’s Sweet Sauce (June 20 2013)

Here Lies Love,

A musical by David Byrne

Public Theater, New York City

The Invention of David Bowie (May 23 2013)

David Bowie Is
an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, March 23–August 11, 2013
Catalog edited by Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh, with contributions by Camille Paglia, Jon Savage, and others
London: V&A Publishing, 320 pp., $55.00 (distributed in the US by Abrams)

The Next Day
an album by David Bowie

Obsessions in Tokyo (January 10 2013)

Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde
an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, November 18, 2012–February 25, 2013
Catalog of the exhibition edited by Doryun Chong
Museum of Modern Art, 216 pp., $55.00

Art Theater Guild and Japanese Underground Cinema, 1962–1984
a film series at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, December 6, 2012–February 10, 2013

Disastrous Japan (November 8 2012)

Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering: Japan in the Modern World by John W. Dower

Strong in the Rain: Surviving Japan’s Earthquake, Tsunami, and Fukushima Nuclear Disaster by David McNeill and Lucy Birmingham

The Right Kind of Questions (April 5 2012)

 Thinking the Twentieth Century
by Tony Judt with Timothy Snyder

The Catty Chronicler (January 12 2012)

Journey to the Abyss: The Diaries of Count Harry Kessler, 1880–1918 edited and translated from the German by Laird M. Easton

The Hell of Victory (November 24 2011)

The Long Road Home: The Aftermath of the Second World War

by Ben Shephard

From Tenderness to Savagery in Seconds (October 13 2011)

City of Life and Death

a film directed by Lu Chuan
(first released in China in 2009)

Who Was Barack’s Mother? (May 26 2011)

A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother, by Janny Scott

Israel and Palestine: Robbed of Dreams (April 7 2011)

Who Did not Collaborate  (February 24 2011)

And the Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris

by Alan Riding

The Twisted Art of Documentary (Nov.25)

Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today

Film by Stuart Schulberg

A Film Unfinished

By Yael Hirsonski

Ecstatic About Pearl Harbor (Oct. 14 2010)

So Lovely a Country Will Never Perish: Wartime Diaries of Japanese Writers by Donald Keene

Hitch-22: A Memoir (July 15 2010)

by Christopher Hitchens
Twelve, 435 pp., $26.99

The Mystery of Female Grace

 (May 27 2010)

Kissing the Mask: Beauty, Understatement and Femininity in Japanese Noh Theater, with Some Thoughts on Muses (Especially Helga Testorf), Transgender Women, Kabuki Goddesses, Porn Queens, Poets, Housewives, Makeup Artists, Geishas, Valkyries and Venus Figurines

What is there to Say (April 29 2010)

Blooms of Darkness by Aharon Appelfeld

Occupied Paris: The Sweet and the Cruel (December 17, 2009)

The Journal of Hélène Berr translated from the French and with an introduction and an essay by David Bellos, and an afterword by Mariette Job

Journal, 1940–1950 by Philippe Jullian

Résistance: Memoirs of Occupied France by Agnès Humbert, translated from the French and with notes by Barbara Mellor, and an afterword by Julien Blanc

Jean Cocteau by Claude Arnaud

1940–1945 Années érotiques: De la Grande Prostituée à la revanche des mâles by Patrick Buisson

Les Parisiens sous l’Occupation: Photographies en couleurs d’André Zucca by Jean Baronnet, with a preface by Jean-Pierre Azéma

Escape in Japan (June 11, 2009)

Tokyo Sonata a film directed by Kurosawa Kiyoshi

Living with Islam (May 14, 2009)

Beyond Terror and Martyrdom: The Future of the Middle East by Gilles Kepel

La peur des barbares: Au-dela du choc des civilisations by Tzvetan Todorov

Desire in Berlin (December 4, 2008)

Kirchner and the Berlin Street an exhibition at the Museum of Metropolitan Art, New York City.

The Lessons of the Master (November 20, 2008)

The World is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul by Patrick French

Ghosts (June 26, 2008)

Standard Operating Procedure a film directed by Errol Morris
Standard Operating Procedure by Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris

The Cruelest War (May 1, 2008)

Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45 by Max Hastings

The Genius of Berlin (January 17, 2008)

Berlin Alexanderplatz directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Fassbinder: Berlin Alexanderplatz Catalog of the exhibition edited by Klaus Biesenbach

‘His Toughness Problem\and Ours’: An Exchange (November 8, 2007)

His Toughness Problem\and Ours (September 27, 2007)

World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism by Norman Podhoretz

Herzog and His Heroes (July 19, 2007)

Rescue Dawn a film written and directed by Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog: Documentaries and Shorts, 1962-1999

Herzog (Non)Fiction

Fascinating Narcissism (June 14, 2007)

Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl by Steven Bach

Leni Riefenstahl: A Life by Jurgen Trimborn, translated from the German by Edna McCown

Dressing for Success (March 15, 2007)

Glory in a Line: A Life of Foujita, the Artist Caught Between East and Westby Phyllis Birnbaum

Thailand: All the King’s Men (March 1, 2007)

The King Never Smiles: A Biography of Thailand’s Bhumibol Adulyadejby Paul M. Handley

Eastwood’s War (February 15, 2007)

Flags of Our Fathers a film directed by Clint Eastwood

Letters from Iwo Jima a film directed by Clint Eastwood

For a comprehensive listing of Ian Buruma’s articles for the New York Review of books, starting from 1985, please refer to:


The New Yorker

(partial list)

The Sensualist (July 20, 2015)

review of The Tale of Genji

Letter From Europe, Le Divorce (January 10, 2011)

Letter From Amsterdam (December 7, 2009)

The Malay Dilemma (May 16, 2009)

After America (April 21, 2008)

Is the West being overtaken by the rest?

War and Remembrance (September 18, 2006)

Shrouded by the Gunter Grass controversy is an extraordinary new memoir

Kim World (August 22, 2005)

Inside the North Korean Slave State

Final Cut (January 3, 2005)

After a filmmaker’s murder, the Dutch creed of tolerance has come under siege

Lost in Translation

The two minds of Bernard Lewis (June 14, 2004)

Blood Libel

Hitler and history in the dock (April 16, 2001)

Tiananmen Inc. (May 31, 1999)

Becoming Japanese, Profile of Murakami Haruki  (December 23, 1996)

Getting to Know Zhou

On Eldest Son: Zhou Enlai and the Making of Modern China, by Han Suyin and Bitter Winds: A memoir of My Years in China’s Gulag, by Harry Wu and Carolyn Wakeman (May 23, 1994)

The Spectator

Geert Wilders

Tyranny of Brexit


A Polite Coup (June 2015)


The New York Times

The New York Times Magazine

Dutch Elections (March 10, 2017)

The End of the Anglo-American Order (November 4, 2016)

Of Musical Import (May 4, 2008)

THE WAY WE LIVE NOW; Political Games (September 23, 2007)

Tariq Ramadan Has an Identity Issue (February 4, 2007)

Mr. Vengeance (April 9, 2006)

Uncaptive Minds (February 20, 2005)

An Islamic Democracy for Iraq? (December 5, 2004)

How to Talk About Israel (August 31, 2003)

What Beijing Can Learn From Moscow (September 2, 2001)

The Pilgrimage From Tiananmen Square (April 11, 1999)

Hong Kong, Feeling Flu-ish (February 1, 1998)

Poland’s New Jewish Question (August 3, 1997)

China: New York… or Singapore? (February 18, 1996)

Anxiety in 3/4 Time (November 8, 1992)

Japan’s Emperor of Film (October 29, 1989)

After Hirohito: What Remains Sacred (May 28, 1989)

A Nation Divided (January 15, 1989)

Reclaiming Taiwan (September 18, 1988)

Singapore (June 12, 1988)

The Quarrelsome Koreans (March 27, 1988)

A New Japanese Nationalism (April 12, 1987)


Book Reviews

Essays by Han Han (December 2, 2016)

Life After Nuclear War (July 28. 2015)

Public Enemies, by Bernard-Henri Levy and Michel Houellebecq (January 10, 2011)

The Weekend, by Bernard Schlink (October 24, 2010)

The Greatest Story Ever Sold – By Frank Rich (September 17, 2006)

The Saint’s Tactician (January 11, 2004)

The Mandate of Heaven (March 18, 2001)

Depravity Was Contagious (December 10, 2000)

Misplaced Person (October 3, 1999)

In the Land of Market-Leninism (September 18, 1994)

Fatal Attractions (February 13, 1994)

The Limo-Ization of Beijing (June 19, 1988, Sunday)

Ancestors at Home and Abroad (March 30, 1986)

A Samurai’s Remarkable Wife (September 15, 1985)



Hard Luck for a Hard-Liner (May 19, 2006)

Killing Iraq With Kindness (March 17, 2004)

How Iraq Can Get Over Its Past (May 9, 2003)

Jorg Haider’s Other Message (February 7, 2000)

What Happened to the Asian Century? (December 29, 1999)

The Sect That Became an Enemy of the State (July 25, 1999)

War Guilt, and the Difference Between Germany and Japan (December 29, 1998)

The Spymaster in a Kangaroo Court (December 8, 1993)

Seoul, Tokyo: Getting Together (September 6, 1984)

Project Syndicate

August 8, 2017

Trump and the Cosmopolitans

July 10

Trump’s Flirtation With Violence

June 6, 2017

Life After Pax Americana

May 8, 2017

The End of the Left/Right Divide

April 11, 2017

Trump the War President

March 13

War Against the West

February 8

The New Anti-Semitism

January 10

Hoping For the Best Against Trump

December 8

Abusing Churchill

November 4

Populism for the Rich

October 6

Trump’s Deplorables

September 6

Battle of the Burkini

August 2

Hair of the Top Dog

June 29

Little England and not so Great Britain

May 3

Anti-Semitism From the Left

April 7

Gimme Shelter From Dictatorship

March 8

The Referendum Charade

February 9

An Unhinged Democracy in America

January 8

Carpet Bombing History in America

December 2015

The Politics of Islamophobia

November 11, 2015

The Brexit Balance Sheet

October 2, 2015

Back to Socialism

September 7, 2015

Necessary Migrants

August 3, 2015
JUL 8, 2015

Good People, Bad Judgments

The Soccer Mafia (May 18, 2015)

The End of 1945 (May 5, 2015)

Asian Values RIP (April 2015)

Bibi Goes to Washington (March 2015)

Muzzled in the Name of Freedom (February 2015)

Charlie and Theo (January 2015)

The Israel Lobby’s Gay Rights Hypocrisy (January 2015)

Immigration and the New Class Divide (December 2014)

Russian and China: The Movie (November 2014)

Who Loves China? (October 2014)

Reading Israel From Left to Right (September 2014)

Why Bomb Civilians? (August 2014)

Abe’s Long March (July 2014)

America’s Late Imperial Dilemma (June 2014)

The Trouble With Europe (May 2014)

Cold War Comforts (April 2014)

Sorry For Nothing (March 2014)

The Idiocy of Olympic Values (February 2014)

Diplomats Behaving Badly (January 2014)

East Asia’s Sins of the Fathers (December 2013)

The Kennedy Temptation (November 2013)

Snowden and the Pope (October 2013)

Bombing For Morality (September 2013)

The Myth  of Khaki Democracy (August 2013)

Football Fury (July 2013)

Turkey’s Class Struggle (June 2013)

America’s Enemy Within (May 2013)

The Trouble With North Korea (April 2013)

Send in the Clowns (March 2013)

Does Europe Need Britain (February 2013)

The Pope’s Dangerous Sex Appeal (January 2013)

The Observer State of Palestine (December 2012)

Democratic Hurricane (November 2012)

American Presidential Beauty (October 2012)

East Asia’s Nationalist Fantasy Islands (September 2012)

The Battle for Churchill’s Bust (August 2012)

Post-national Football? (July 2012)

Monnet’s Ghost (June 2012)

Chinese Shadows (May 2012)

Murder Unincorporated (April 2012}

Our Kind of Truth (March 2012)

American Funk (February 2012)

North Korea’s Tears (January 2012)

Is the European Dream Over (December 2011)

The Lynching of Libya (November 2011)

Obama’s Israel Problem (October 2011)

Ladies First, Women Last (September 2011)

Europe Turns Right (August 2011)

Europe Without Turkey (July 2011)

The Crimes of Ratko Mladic (June 2011)

All The Queen’s Children (May 2011)

Japan’s Political Tremors (April 2011)

Obama Gets it Right (March 2011)

Where are the Islamists? (February 2011)

Israel’s Wrong Friends (January 2011)

The Last Line of Decency (December 2010)

Needed But Not Wanted (December 2010)

Why China Lashes Out (November 2010)

Europe Turns Right (October 2010)

The Great American Tea Party (September 2010)

Japan’s Unfinished Reformation (August 2010)

Is Israel A Normal Country (July 2010)

Football is War (June 2010)

The Powerlessness of the Powerful (May 2010)

Holy Abuse (April 2010)

The Dutch Retreat (March 2010)

The New French Fashion in Civil Rights (February 2010)

A Dissident in China (January 2010)

Mountains and Minarets (December 2009)

What’s Left After 1989 (November 2009)

Roman Polanski’s American Dream (October 2009)

The Rebirth of Japanese Democracy (September 2009)

A Black and White Question (August 2009)

Damaged Democracy (July 2009)

Lessons From Tiananmen (June 2009)

We Don’t Torture (May 2009)

China’s Burden (April 2009)

How Free is Speech (March 2009)

The Jewish Conspiracy in Asia (February 2009)

China’s Best Hope (January 2009)

The Last of the Neo-Cons (December 2008)

Obamamania (November 2008)

The Last of the Tibetans (April 2008)
Liberty and Music (March 2008)
A War on Tolerance (February 2008)
The Year of the China Model (January 2008)

Revolts of the Righteous (October 2007)

The History Man (September 2007)

The Wall Street Journal

China/Japan and the Abuse of History (May 11, 2013)

Battling the Information Barbarians (January 30 2010)

China’s Grab for Olympic Glory (June 13, 2008)

Japan’s Shattered Mirror (March, 2011)

The Financial Times

FT Weekend Magazine

Clash of symbols – Sporting history is bound up in the allegiances of its supporters, whether the competitors like it or not. The danger comes when harmless pride slips into excessive prejudice (September 24, 2005)

Winning the peace – Much of the fiercest criticism of the application of US might comes from Europe. But Europeans have benefited from the Pax Americana for 60 years – and we still need it (August 20, 2005)

Sacred freedom – The Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali lives under permanent police protection because of death threats against her. But her views on radical Islam remain completely unguarded (August 6, 2005)

Homeland insecurity – Police say at least three of the London bombers were from Yorkshire. Most British Muslims were outraged, but we can’t deny that Islam motivated the killers, however they perverted it (July 16, 2005)

Who do you think you are?  Some crave anonymity, others yearn to see their name in lights, and there are those in search of reinvention. In the US, personal identity has become a national obsession (June 25, 2005 )

A sorry state – A new breed of rightwing patriots say that Japan has apologised enough for war crimes. Their controversial views, reflected in a revisionist history textbook, are being lapped up by the young,  (May 28, 2005)

On the offensive – The Holocaust and anti-Semitism are being denuded of meaning by their use in casual political insults and as trump cards to quash debate about the Middle East (April 23, 2005)

Gods and monsters – A controversial new German film sets out to demystify Hitler’s downfall and his seduction of ordinary people – yet it falls into a trap laid by the self-mythologising dictator himself (March 19, 2005)

Blogs in the machine Such is the influence of the weblog on the news agenda that it has helped to create and destroy US politicians. Should we trust the lone operator with a laptop? (March 12, 2005)

Tortured logic – Those who inflict suffering to extract information argue it is justified to prevent atrocities against the innocent. But its use eats away at the very civilisation they claim to protect (February 5, 2005)

The rest is history – China’s insistent portrayal of Japan as brutal aggressor shows how ethnic nationalism is still used to shore up authoritarianism. It’s a tack that owes much to the west (January 22, 2005)

Injury time – Anti-Semitic taunts from Dutch football crowds highlight a classic dilemma of democracy. We might not like what someone says, or who is saying it – but are we prepared to force them to give up the right to say it? (November 6, 2004)

Lights, camera, manifesto – Movie propaganda tells us life is a stark choice between good and evil. But can we enjoy the film if we don’t buy the political ticket? (October 9, 2004)

We shall not be moved – Israel is a dangerous place, so why did Ariel Sharon call for French Jews to emigrate there? And what prompted France’s community leaders to reject the invitation so passionately? (September 11, 2004)

They all lived happily ever after – Saddam Hussein isn’t the first dictator to turn his hand to novel writing. So why is it that, when absolute rulers pick up their pens, the results are always something of a fiction? (August 7, 2004)

Just following orders – When stories such as the torture scandal at Abu Ghraib emerge, British and US media tend to seek out the human-interest angle and home in on a few “bad apples”. By doing so, they wilfully miss the point about the political culture that permits the actions of these individuals (July 3, 2004)

Popular authoritarianism – Thailand might seem an unlikely cause for concern compared with Iraq or Sudan, but creeping strictures on freedom of expression and the Has the peremptory shooting of drug dealers have rung alarm bells. prospect of wealth damped public concern for accountable governance? (June 12, 2004)

Reality cheque – A journalist makes up stories and becomes a minor celebrity; talk-show hosts make or break politicians; a government turns to Hollywood to produce its “news”. Who is to blame for blurring the line between fact and fiction, and what happened to the obligation to be truthful? (May 15, 2004)

Divide and rue – Israel is not the first, and probably won’t be the last, state to build a wall around its citizens. But history shows that a barrier designed to protect can also isolate and harm (April 17, 2004)

Chinoise utopia – Voltaire idealised China for its secularity and its educated elite while Jean-Paul Sartre was swept away by Maoism. Jacques Chirac’s motivations for courting China are more pragmatic (March 6, 2004)

It’s not a competition – The struggle for victimhood is one of the contemporary world’s least edifying contests. Ian Buruma argues that it ..LH.-creates hatred, suspicion and dry tinder for those with incendiary political agendas (November 29, 2003)

Wielding the moral club – The left is miring itself in anti-Americanism, says Ian Buruma, instead of saving the Iraqis (September 13, 2003)

The Nation

Le Carré’s Other Cold War (October 24, 2016)

Comment and Analysis

Japan’s Abdication Dilemma (August 12, 2016)

Globalisation is turning the West against its elites (December 13, 2013)

In search of the elusive European soul (April 2, 2007)

Tyranny in the twenty-first century (January 7, 2007)

From Italy to Thailand, power lies with the urban middle class (April 11, 2006)

China’s persistent Japan syndrome (April 14, 2005)

A flame of enlightenment has been extinguished (January 4, 2005)

Politics and blind faith do not mix (June 10, 2004)

A loss of identity: In an election dominated by symbols, the Tories’ rhetoric has lost its potency (May 12, 2001 Saturday)

Europe’s mercantile spirit rediscovered (January 10, 2001)

Poetry moves China’s rulers to repression (August 25, 2000)


The Los Angeles Times

There’s no .44-caliber Koran

Op-Ed: It’s easy to go too far while banning words in the name of preventing violence (April 29, 2007)


The Sunday Times

Liberal Holland hits the cultural panic button (November 19, 2006)


The Guardian


One of Us (26 February 2015)

Countrymen (13 March, 2014)

The Joy of Art: Why Japan Embraced Sex with a Passion (September 27 2013)

National Treasures (August 4, 2007)

Here is a list of Ian Buruma’s contributions to The Guardian starting from 1996 to 2006. Most articles are available on the internet, including his weekly columns for G2, from September 25, 2001 to January 28, 2003. Numerous other articles, such as Buruma’s interview with Yasser Arafat “Portrait: More Tea, Mister Chairman” (August 8, 2003) can also be found there.

The New Republic

The Freedom to Offend (September 04, 2006)

The Anti-American (April 29, 2002)

Class Acts (September 24, 2001)

The Romance of Exile (February 12, 2001)

Centerfold (April 3, 2000)

The Tin Ear (January 31, 2000)

Two Cheers for Orientalism (January 4&11, 1999)

Freedom and Charm (November 16, 1998)

News of the Weird (March 30, 1998)

Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing (July 14&21 1997)

Spandau Ballet (November 13, 1995)

Sunrise, Sunset (March 20, 1995)

Trading Places (April 18, 1994)


Travel and Leisure

Iconic Texas (December 2007)

Phnom Penh Now (December 2007)

The End of the Earth (November 2006)

Manchurian Dreams (February 2006)

Tokyo Lost and Found (August 2oo4)

Behind the Arab Curtain (December 2003)

Cultural Revolution (June 2003)

Set in Stone (March 2003)

Double Dutch (October 2001)

Made in China (January 2001)


The National Interest (Nov./Dec. 2010)


The Assault on Liberals


The Nation


Europe’s Turn to the Right (August 2011)




City: The Hague (19 June 2011)


Chronicle of Higher Education

Origins of Occidentalism (February 6, 2004)



Radio 4 MacArthur’s Baby

Originally broadcast in the UK on March 14 and 21, 2003, this acclaimed radio documentary written and hosted by Ian Buruma takes a look at “a vivid cast of characters from the Occupation years: among them jazz singers, filmmakers, idealistic reformers, secret revolutionaries and ruthless gangsters.”



Junichiro Koizumi: The PM Who Shook Up Old Japan (May 8, 2006)

Lee Kuan Yew\The Philosopher King (April 18, 2005)

Land of Milk and Honeys: The ages haven’t withered the West’s pursuit of erotic satisfaction in Asia (July 18, 2004)

The Last of the Strongmen: Even with Mahathir gone, Asian authoritarianism is alive and kicking (October 20, 2003)

The Princess: DIANA Why could we not avert our eyes from her? Was it because she beckoned? Or was there something else we longed for? (June 14, 1999)

Lost without a Faith: In the Spiritual Vacuum of the Postwar Years, Some Japanese Seek New Gods, cover story (April 3, 1995)


Foreign Affairs

Taiwan’s New Nationalists: Democracy with Taiwanese Characteristics (July/August 1996)


The Observer

Comment: Culture is no excuse for China denying its people democracy (February 3, 2008)

Review on Life Sentences: Literacy Essays, by Joseph Epstein, W.W. Norton (March 29, 1998)

Review on The Aachen Memorandum, by Andrew Roberts, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (October 15, 1995)

Times Literary Supplement

Socialism of Fools (July 6, 2016)