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Ian Buruma

For Ian Buruma's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Jan 17, 2013

Ian Buruma on 'Ai-no Borei (Empire of Passion)'

Nagisa Oshima is the best film director in Japan still making good movies. There are other good directors (Kon Ichikawa), but they are reduced to doing company hack-work. Oshima can still do the films he likes, partly because he gets financial backing in France ...

Dec 26, 2010

Eye to eye with the unwanted

NEW YORK — Baruch Spinoza, the 17th-century Dutch philosopher, Benjamin Disraeli, the 19th-century British prime minister, and Nicolas Sarkozy, the 21st-century French president, have one thing in common: All were sons of immigrants. People have migrated to other countries for thousands of years — ...

Nov 7, 2008

Europe's mania for a black U.S. president

NEW YORK — Why do Europeans adore America’s president-elect, Barack Obama? Stupid question, you might say. He is young, handsome, smart, inspiring, educated, cosmopolitan, and above all, he promises a radical change from the most unpopular American administration in history. Compare that to his ...

Oct 12, 2008

Austria's fear and loathing still democratic

NEW YORK — Two far-right parties, the Austrian Freedom Party and the Movement for Austria’s Future, won 29 percent of the vote in the latest Austrian general election — double their total in the 2006 election. Both parties share the same attitudes toward immigrants, ...

Sep 15, 2008

Europeans draw wrong lesson from Munich

NEW YORK — Seventy years ago this month in Munich, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed a document that allowed Germany to grab a large chunk of Czechoslovakia. The so-called Munich Agreement would come to be seen as an abject betrayal of what Chamberlain ...

Aug 10, 2008

Disturbing reasons to put a nation to death

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. — Belgium is in danger of falling apart. For more than six months, the country has been unable to form a government that is able to unite the French-speaking Walloons (32 percent of the population) and Dutch-speaking Flemish (58 percent). The Belgian ...

Jul 3, 2008

Soccer nationalism mirrors European society

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, New York — The late Arthur Koestler, born in Budapest, resident of many countries, and writer in several languages, once said there is nationalism, and there is soccer nationalism. The feelings inspired by the latter are by far the stronger. Koestler himself, a ...

Apr 10, 2008

Is Tibetan culture slated for extinction?

NEW YORK — Are the Tibetans doomed to go the way of the American Indians? Will they be reduced to nothing more than a tourist attraction, peddling cheap mementos of what was a once-great culture? That sad fate is looking more and more likely, ...

Mar 10, 2008

Freedom and music go hand in hand

NEW YORK — North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is one of the world’s most oppressive, closed and vicious dictatorships. It is perhaps the last living example of pure totalitarianism — control of the state over every aspect of ...