Richard Lloyd Parry

Richard Lloyd Parry is Asia editor at the Times. His latest book is Ghosts of the Tsunami, about the 2011 disaster in Japan.

Thereis nothing palatial about the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. It’s a park, a shaggy forest of ponds and trees, with a handful of modestly elegant modern buildings, an administrative block and a few roads faintly visible in between. There used to be a nine-hole golf course, built in the 1920s by the then crown prince, Hirohito, who took to the game during a visit to Britain. But years...

Flight to the Forest: Bruno Manser Vanishes

Richard Lloyd Parry, 24 October 2019

Manser, intriguingly described as a ‘Swiss cowherd’, spent years in Sarawak living among the Penan, one of the last populations of genuine nomads in the world. For six years, he wore a loincloth, hunted with a blowpipe, lived off snake and monkey meat, and directed the Penan in their struggle against the logging companies that were stripping the rainforests where the nomads roamed. Armed police hunted him through the jungle; the Malaysian government, it was said, had put a bounty on his head. He was captured, and escaped. In the first months of the 21st century, Manser sneaked back into Sarawak. While trekking alone through the jungle, he vanished without a trace.

Diary: In Pyongyang

Richard Lloyd Parry, 24 January 2019

Fifteen​ years ago, on one of my early visits to Pyongyang, I was taken to the Tower of the Juche Idea, the vertiginous propaganda monument on the south bank of the Taedong River. Peering acrophobically over the railing at the ground 560 feet below, I asked one of the local guides if people ever came here to commit suicide. The young woman, who spoke flawless English, appeared baffled. I...

The man who came closest to persuading me of the virtue of toppling a democratically elected government was a former investment banker and English public schoolboy called Korn Chatikavanij. All the foreign journalists in Bangkok know Korn, and a conversation with him is one of the pleasures of any reporting trip to Thailand. You meet him in the lobby of one of the big hotels, or in his office above a coffee bar – a tall, self-deprecatingly dashing figure with high cheekbones and exquisite shirts. His presence works like air-conditioning on the perspiration and stench of Thai politics.

Ghosts of the Tsunami

Richard Lloyd Parry, 6 February 2014

I met a priest in the north of Japan who exorcised the spirits of people who had drowned in the tsunami. The ghosts did not appear in large numbers until later in the year, but Reverend Kaneda’s first case of possession came to him after less than a fortnight. He was chief priest at a Zen temple in the inland town of Kurihara. The earthquake on 11 March 2011 was the most violent that he, or anyone he knew, had ever experienced. The great wooden beams of the temple’s halls had flexed and groaned with the strain. Power, water and telephone lines were fractured for days.

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