Cultural Commentary (Asia-wide)
Jonathan DeHart is a Tokyo-based writer focused on travel, culture and society in Asia. He has written more than 500 articles for a number of publications, including The Diplomat, Motherboard (Vice), The Ritz-Carlton Magazine, Kyoto Journal and MarketWatch, among others. His work has been selected for various "best of" lists by The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, Foreign Policy and Real Clear World. In addition to writing, he has worked as an editor for webzines, including The Diplomat, newswires and a monthly print magazine. Besides journalism, he interprets trends in Asia for leading behavioral insights and cultural consulting agencies. He is also authoring a first-edition Japan guidebook for a US-based publisher slated for publication in Winter 2020.
Cultural Commentary (Asia-wide)
Asia has a long way to go in addressing its past and present political baggage. A more progressive spirit in the region’s popular culture could help change the conversation.
To what extent could a shared cultural sphere overcome bitter disputes and heal wounds from East Asia’s past?
Although the mermaid mythos is normally thought to be Western, it runs deep in Asia too.
Asia’s taste for shark fin soup endangers a number of species. But attitudes are changing.
While the Buddha’s message is alive in the East, in the West some say it has been scrambled.
Although punk rock may have lost its edge in the West, it is alive and kicking in much of Asia.
Weary of the concrete jungle, residents across Japan flock to the subtropical Okinawa Prefecture, where the laid-back locals and distinct culture weave a spell of their own.
Despite an illustrious past and revered status overseas, Japanese tattoos have long struggled for acceptance at home.
The struggling katana, made famous by samurai movies, gets a new lease on life.
The rise and fall of the previously legal "loophole herb" offers an interesting tale of Japan's effort to tighten its control of intoxicants.
The explosive success of "affair dating" website Ashley Madison in Japan has revealed just how widespread adultery is in the country.
During Obon, spirits visit the living in Japan. Some are friendlier than others.
Japan’s favorite monster is alive and well in the West today.
Artist enfant terrible Aida Makoto spoke with The Diplomat about his provocative Tokyo exhibition and whether there is hope for Japan.
Donald Richie, American writer on Japan, mentor and humanist, has died at 88.
East Asia (China, the Koreas, Mongolia)
With the city’s first Art Basel event, Hong Kong is cementing its status as one of the world’s leading art centers.
Self-immolations by Tibetan monks have spiked with China’s leadership change. Beijing continues to ignore their message.
Sex toys and social change in Shanghai.
The emergence of a newly moneyed class means more Pyongyang residents have cash to burn. But appearances can deceive.
For South Korean teachers like Kim Ki-hoon, education is a rich man’s game.
Recent reports of Kim Jong-Un’s yacht suggest that UN sanctions have done little to reign in the spending of his regime.
Simon Cockerell of Koryo Tours on what it’s really like to visit North Korea.
Investing in North Korea is risky business. But a growing number of entrepreneurs are taking their chances.
Mongolia shed its one-party system in 1990. Now both its economy and its traditional culture are booming.
An interview with American artist Chris Coles on his watercolor visions of Bangkok’s seedy side.
Thailand’s capital is home to a vibrant community of writers exploring the city’s vast underbelly.
How a book by a Bangkok-based British author came to embody a shift in Thai cultural consciousness.
The future of archaeology is high-tech. One of its first laboratories is the jungles of Cambodia.
A TIME Magazine cover story has riled Thein Sein along with much of the nation.
Cambodian art was devastated by the Khmer Rouge, but it’s bouncing back.
Cambodia is slowly coming to terms with a serious drug problem.
Vietnam has a unique coffee culture with an alluring story. The challenge is finding the right way to tell it.
A recent Thai political campaign video appeals to transgendered voters. But is it enough to draw them to the polls?
An interview with thangka master painter and teacher, Ambar Lama, on the state of this iconic Tibet-an art.
In Sri Lanka, one of the world’s oldest and liveliest festivals is underway.
A senior Taliban official has written a letter to Malala Yousafzai, offering a glimpse into the group’s hidden fears.
In a race against time, archaeologists are working to save a Buddhist site of immense significance in Afghanistan, slated for imminent destruction by a Chinese mining firm.
With so many choices, which Indian films are worth watching for beginners?
Have mass media and consumerism hijacked India’s holiest event?