Robert Guillain (4 September 1908 – 29 December 1998) was a French journalist and author of several books on Asia, especially Japan. Guillain was considered one of the most experienced and knowledgeable Western journalist on Asia, especially Japan and China, over the second half of the 20th century.
He spent most of his professional career in Asia as correspondent for the French news agency Agence Havas (since renamed Agence France-Presse) and then for the French daily Le Monde. During his presence in Asia, he witnessed and reported on some of the most dramatic and historic developments, from the Second Sino-Japanese War, to World War II in Japan including the nuclear bombing of Japan at the end of World War II, the decolonization processes in India and Vietnam, the Chinese Civil War, the Korean War, the Indochina wars, China's Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution economic and political turmoils, and the rebirth and global expansion of the Japanese economy.
Since 1977, a Robert Guillain Reporters au Japon (Robert Guillain Reporters in Japan) Prize is awarded every year to selected journalists by the Association de Presse France-Japon (France-Japan Press Association).
Foreign correspondent in Asia
As a young journalist, he was first assigned as foreign correspondent by the Agence Havas (currently Agence France-Presse) news agency to Shanghai in 1937, at the time of Japan's invasion of China. He was then transferred to Japan in 1938, and, following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, could not return to France until the end of World War II. Guillain interviewed witnesses of the atom bomb explosion at Hiroshima. As recounted in his book I Saw Tokyo Burning: An Eyewitness Narrative from Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima, he was reporting from Tokyo during the Pacific War and saw firsthand the effects of the Gyokuon-hōsō, in which the Japanese emperor Hirohito announced the surrender of Japan.
- Dien-Bien-Phu: La fin des illusions - février-juillet 1954", Arléa-Éditions du Seuil, ISBN 978-2869596689
- Six cent millions de Chinois, Julliard, 1956
- Dans trente ans la Chine, Seuil, 1965
- Japon, troisième grand, Seuil, 1969
- La Guerre au Japon, Stock, 1979
- L’espion qui sauva Moscou, Seuil, 1981
- I Saw Tokyo Burning: An Eyewitness Narrative from Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima, Jove Publications, 1982
- Orient Extrême, Une vie en Asie, Arléa-Le Seuil,(autobiography) 1986, ISBN 2-86959-000-8
- Les Geishas, Arléa, 1988
- Aventure Japon, Arléa-Le Seuil, 1998, ISBN 2-86959-373-2 ISBN 2-86959-617-0
- "The Tokyo Fire Raids, 1945: The Japanese View". Eyewitnesstohistory.com. Retrieved 2010-09-11.
- Guillain, Robert (August 1980). "'I Thought My Last Hour Had Come...' An eyewitness account of the atom bomb explosion at Hiroshima". The Atlantic. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
- (in French) Le blog de Association Robert Guillain Loi 1901
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