Ian de Stains OBE

Former BBC producer and presenter, and BCCJ executive director based in Japan since 1976, de Stains is a writer and consultant.


If You Ask Me November 2017

How the BBA began

Books November 2017

Ghosts of the Tsunami

If You Ask Me October 2017

Heating up

Trump’s threat to leave Paris Accords draws UK–Japan response
Book review

A close-up on Japan

Book review September 2017

The silence of autism

Another illuminating look at autism
If You Ask Me September 2017

Key step

Theresa May’s Japan visit follows the path of past prime ministers
IYAM August 2017

Free and Fair Trade?

What does the EU–Japan EPA mean for the UK?
Book review

Deep study

Japanese studies in Britain
If You Ask Me July 2017

Uneasy Lies the Head

Should the queen follow the emperor and step down?
Book review July 2017

An Alternative View

Another Kyoto by Alex Kerr
If You Ask Me June 2017

A Meeting of (Almost) Like Minds

Theresa May tackles the G7, election campaign
Book review June 2017

The Minimalist

Japan's new minimalist movement
Book review May 2017

An indomitable city

New book on Tokyo paints a picture of a city that is unrivalled in its uniqueness.
If You Ask Me May 2017

Arms and the Man

Can the UK have an ethical weapons export sector?
If You Ask Me April 2017

Scotland the brave?

Self-rule poll looms again
Book review April 2017

Eight million deities

The answer to “What is Shinto?”
If You Ask Me March 2017

Tale of two visits

UK and Japan contact with Donald Trump gets contrasting response
Book review March 2017

Japan street life

Blurred photos capture a country transformed
Book review February 2017

Fear of falling

Glimpses Over the Edge: People Displaced by Conflict, Violence and Persecution by Alexander Treves
If You Ask Me February 2017

Getting off to a shaky start

Challenges in the Year of the Rooster
Book review January 2017

A new take

ANJIN—The Life & Times of Samurai William Adams, 1564–1620 by Hiromi T. Rogers
If You Ask Me January 2017

Year of change

Looking back to 2016, and forward to 2017
If You Ask Me December 2016

The Imperial succession

The challenges of Imperial succession in Japan
Book review December 2016

New ground

New scholarly study of a commanding figure in Japanese literature
Book review November 2016

A unique record

New volume of UK–Japan biographical portrait series
If You Ask Me November 2016

Water, water everywhere

Marine pollution threatens ocean life, as well as humans
Book review October 2016

Unique publishing project

This is a seriously beautiful book that would make a fine addition to anyone’s library
If You Ask Me October 2016

Opting Out

There may be fewer hikikomori, but social pressures will continue to create them
Book review September 2016

The English Willow and Japan

A beautifully produced volume of “Twaiku”
If You Ask Me September 2016

Should the Emperor Abdicate?

Japan wrestles with issues of the monarchy, as the UK did in the 1930s
If You Ask Me August 2016

Climate change debate

A world divided
Book review August 2016

Face to face with dying

Reflections without self-pity
Book review July 2016

Tale of a double agent

The lives of Guy Burgess
If You Ask Me July 2016

What was BIC?

British Industry Centre gave hope to new firms in Japan
Books June 2016

A slice of social history

Builders of bonds
If You Ask Me June 2016

Forty years on

Reflecting on Japan experiences
Books March 2016

Decline and fall

The life of a showman
If You Ask Me May 2016

Japan hosts the G7

Hot agenda topics
If You Ask Me April 2016

Terror and the threat of it

Events in Europe and Asia
Books April 2016

Guru shares how to tidy up

Restore order in your life
Books March 2016

Breaking records

Famous book creates own personal best
If You Ask Me March 2016

Monkey business

What does 2016 hold for Abe and Cameron?
Books February 2016

A touch of Frost

At the cutting edge of media
If You Ask Me February 2016

Politics and people

Japan and Refugees

Japan and the refugee issue
If You Ask Me January 2016

Climate change conference 21

Have we reached a deal?
Books January 2016

A love letter

Divided by a common language
If You Ask Me December 2015

Welcome to Japan

Making room for the growing tourist influx
Books December 2015

Britain’s last 20 years

A look at the country’s major privatisations
BCCJ Event November 2015

400 seconds to change the world

NPOs take on snappy format at community hub showcase
Book review November 2015

From outside looking in

Training November 2015

Developing soft skills through public speaking

Breakfast Toastmasters at 25
If You Ask Me November 2015

The most ambitious free-trade agreement?

A closer look at the TPP
If You Ask Me October 2015

Extreme weather raises climate concerns

Is it too late?
Book review October 2015

Lost for words?

Here’s a volume that just might help . . .
Book review September 2015

Under the skin of the BBC

The players who shaped the institution
If You Ask Me September 2015

Calling the BBC to account

A shaky financial future
Books August 2015

Exposing harsh truths

Themes of memory and loss
Entrepreneur August 2015

Timeless treasures

Scots custodian of history sets up in Tokyo
BCCJ Event August 2015

A sustainable economy, gender equality and more trade

Scotland the brave
If You Ask Me

Is Japan ready for same-sex marriage?

Obituary August 2015

Anglophile par excellence

A lifetime of service to Japan−UK relations
If You Ask Me July 2015

Prime minister’s questions

Abe stirs up controversy, Cameron faces a challenge
Books June 2015

Speak the speech, I pray you

The life of an actor
If You Ask Me June 2015

The disunited kingdom?

Election results spell change for British politics
Books May 2015

A prince re-visited

Personal search for a role
If You Ask Me May 2015

Out of gear

The role of public broadcasters
If You Ask Me April 2015

Books do make a room

The joy of reading from paper and ink
Books April 2015

Stepping out in style

A personal account of an extraordinary life
Books March 2015

“Grief is not a one-way street in Japan”

This book has aspects of a journal, a historical narrative and a cultural guide.
If You Ask Me March 2015

Bigotry writ large

Ayako Sono's idea of segregating living areas in Japan according to race has caused controversy.
If You Ask Me February 2015

What price freedom of speech?

The right to free speech may come with responsibilities but it should be protected.
Books February 2015

Current issues in historic context

This book examines what hinders freedom in Japan.
If You Ask Me January 2015

A look back at 2014

The year has seen a number of global, economic and environmental issues come to the fore.
Books January 2015

Considering the hypothetical

This book examines possible answers to strange questions.
Books December 2014

A Little Dark British Humour

This book explores the life and thoughts of comedian John Cleese.
If You Ask Me December 2014

The Elusive Third Arrow

While the Abenomics approach to bring economic well-being has had limited success, a snap election may get it back on target.
Books November 2014

A dash of flavour chemistry

This book explores the secrets of umami, the fifth taste.
If You Ask Me November 2014

Who Shall Inherit the Earth?

Environmental laureates urge global citizens to agree on actions to address climate change.
Books October 2014

A time and place unpeeled

An Encyclopaedia of Myself explores the life and times of Brit Jonathan Meades.
If You Ask Me October 2014

Get Ready, on Your Marks …

As Tokyo prepares for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the country has lessons to learn to achieve success.
If You Ask Me September 2014

A writer’s responsibility

How the role a journalist plays can shape society, for better or worse.
Books September 2014

I’ll drink to that

Sake Confidential unlocks the mysteries of Japan's national drink.
If You Ask Me August 2014

European Union: stay in or get out?

Withdrawal could lessen appeal of UK as a regional headquarters for Japanese firms.
Books August 2014

Examining the events of 1945

Year Zero explores a year that marked dramatic changes in the world.
Politics August 2014

The haggis vote

The people of Scotland get set to decide their future in the upcoming referendum on independence.
Books July 2014

Identity in the face of crises

Burnt Shadows explores world-changing events through a story about love and war.
If You Ask Me July 2014

Veering to the Right

The election results for the European Parliament cause a stir in the UK and across Europe.
If You Ask Me June 2014

A look again at article 9

Regional territorial disputes beg questions on Japan's constitution.
Books June 2014


The art lover's guide to Japanese museums; Surviving the 2011 Tsunami
Books May 2014


Good short fiction has all the components of a fine novel: The shorter the story, the more skilful the writer needs to be.
If You Ask Me May 2014

Death penalty: for and against

The release of a death row inmate following new DNA evidence shows the need for a review of executions.
Books April 2014

A commanding read on all things Japanese

This is the most important book on Japan to be published in the last two decades.
If You Ask Me April 2014

Here’s to a safe haven for D&I

The need could not be greater for “a safe, positive and nurturing environment” if Japan is to avoid a bleak future.
Books March 2014

History in the making

This 350-page publication masterfully examines the process by which Japan developed from a feudal society into a national state.
If You Ask Me March 2014

Stormy Weather

What more will it take to persuade people that if we continue to treat our planet as we do currently, it will soon be too late?
If You Ask Me February 2014

From the Horse’s Mouth

In this Year of the Horse, the Tokyo governor’s race and the Sochi Winter Olympics are events to watch.
Books February 2014

The Man Behind the Curtain

This biography of Laurence Olivier looks closely at the star's personal life and the demons that drove him.
Books January 2014

Book reviews

The Road to Recovery; Three-Dimensional Reading
If You Ask Me January 2014

From Prisoner to President

I have always felt that, if I could have met one person in my life, it would have been Nelson Mandela.