Anthony Kuhn is NPR's correspondent based in Seoul, South Korea, reporting on the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and the great diversity of Asia's countries and cultures. Before moving to Seoul in 2018, he traveled to the region to cover major stories including the North Korean nuclear crisis and the Fukushima earthquake and nuclear disaster.
Kuhn previously served two five-year stints in Beijing, China, for NPR, during which he covered major stories such as the Beijing Olympics, geopolitical jousting in the South China Sea, and the lives of Tibetans, Uighurs, and other minorities in China's borderlands.
He took a particular interest in China's rich traditional culture and its impact on the current day. He has recorded the sonic calling cards of itinerant merchants in Beijing's back alleys, and the descendants of court musicians of the Tang Dynasty. He has profiled petitioners and rights lawyers struggling for justice, and educational reformers striving to change the way Chinese think.
From 2010-2013, Kuhn was NPR's Southeast Asia correspondent, based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Among other stories, he explored Borneo and Sumatra, and witnessed the fight to preserve the biodiversity of the world's oldest forests. He also followed Myanmar's democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, as she rose from political prisoner to head of state.
Kuhn served as NPR's correspondent in London from 2004-2005, covering stories including the London subway bombings and the marriage of the Prince of Wales to the Duchess of Cornwall.
Besides his major postings, Kuhn's journalistic horizons have been expanded by various short-term assignments. These produced stories including wartime black humor in Iraq, musical diplomacy by the New York Philharmonic in Pyongyang, North Korea, a kerfuffle over the plumbing in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Pakistani artists' struggle with religious extremism in Lahore, and the Syrian civil war's spillover into neighboring Lebanon.
Prior to joining NPR, Kuhn wrote for the Far Eastern Economic Review and freelanced for various news outlets, including the Los Angeles Times and Newsweek. He majored in French literature as an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis, and later did graduate work at the Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American studies in Nanjing.
The northeast coast of Japan has an older population, fewer jobs and more tsunamis than the rest of the country. The regional economy had been declining long before last year's disaster. Many people say in order to survive, the region needs to remake itself.
The people of Japan have been remembering the dreadful events of March 11, 2012, when at 2:46 p.m., a massive earthquake struck. Soon afterward a tsunami crashed into the northeast coast. The village of Minamisanriku, once a beautiful fishing community and tourist destination, was one of the towns worst affected. NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports.
A new independent report on the Fukushima nuclear accident found that a far worse meltdown — one that could have forced the evacuation of Tokyo's 30 million people — was narrowly avoided. It also suggests that Japan also suffered a failure of government regulation, supervision and response.
Myanmar is opening up, after a nominally civilian government replaced a decades-old military regime last year and began political changes. The metamorphosis is occurring from the top down. But crucial questions remain unanswered, and it's unclear whether the moves are permanent.
Aung San Suu Kyi is campaigning for a seat in parliament to represent a rural district four hours from the country's biggest city, Yangon. It's a scene that seemed impossible only a few months ago, before the country's military-backed government began a process of reform aimed at ending international sanctions.