Anthony Kuhn

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.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

There's an evening show on North Korea's state TV that brings soldiers news from their hometowns.

Last September, the show on the regime-run Korean Central Television, or KCTV, was interrupted for an urgent update.

"Another piece of news from our families on the homefront, just in from the Kangson steel factory," an announcer says.

"Soldiers from Kangson will be happy to hear that," the anchor replies, beaming.

The update: A soldier's father says he and fellow factory workers are so motivated that they will beat production targets by 50%.

At a gallery in Seoul's fashionable Gangnam district, the walls are lined with stark black-and-white photographic portraits of young women. Some smile, some stare at the camera impassively. Some are naked. All have short hair and no makeup.

It's the third such exhibition by South Korean photographer Jeon Bora, who seeks to document women who reject the country's standards of beauty and the social pressure to conform.

The women liken this pressure to a corset and have dubbed their movement, which began last year, "escape the corset."

In the years immediately after World War II, at the Peers' School in Tokyo, a Quaker teacher named Elizabeth Vining liked to give English names to her students, all children of the Japanese nobility.

"I was Eric," recalls Masao Oda, one of Vining's former pupils.

His roommate and classmate, a boy named Akihito, was given the name Jimmy. But Akihito pushed back.

"So he stood up and rejected this name given by Mrs. Vining, 'Jimmy,' " Oda recalls. " 'I'm not a Jimmy, I'm a crown prince,' he said."

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Vladivostok, Russia, on Wednesday for a summit the next day with President Vladimir Putin, the first meeting between the two men. The Kremlin said they would discuss the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

It is Kim's first trip to Russia and the first visit of a North Korean leader since Kim's father met with then-President Dmitry Medvedev in 2011. It is also Kim's first international voyage since President Trump walked out on a "bad deal" at the second U.S.-North Korea summit in February in the Vietnamese capital.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Updated Saturday 9:02 p.m. ET

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signaled his impatience with the United States, saying he was willing to hold a third summit with President Donald Trump, but only if the U.S. comes up with mutually agreeable terms for a deal by the end of this year.

Japan's military has confirmed that one of its F-35A jet fighters has crashed in the Pacific Ocean during a training exercise. National broadcaster NHK reports that search crews have recovered part of the plane's tail.

As of midday Wednesday in Japan, the plane's pilot, reportedly in his 40s, was still missing. It is not clear whether he ejected before the plane crashed. NHK quotes Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya as saying that the military is focusing on rescuing the pilot and investigating the cause of the crash. He added that the U.S. military is assisting with the search.

They are not widely known. And their chances at achieving their stated aim — overthrowing the North Korean government — are believed to be slim at best.

Yet the defector group that calls itself Free Joseon (Free North Korea) could be the first organization to have successfully infiltrated a North Korean diplomatic mission.

Last week, Free Joseon claimed responsibility for a Feb. 22 raid on Pyongyang's embassy in Madrid. Ten intruders armed with knives and replica pistols entered the embassy, according to Spanish authorities.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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