Norm Masaji Ibuki

Writer Norm Masaji Ibuki lives in Oakville, Ontario. He has written extensively about the Canadian Nikkei community since the early 1990s. He wrote a monthly series of articles (1995-2004) for the Nikkei Voice newspaper (Toronto) which chronicled his experiences while in Sendai, Japan. Norm now teaches elementary school and continues to write for various publications. 

Updated August 2014

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Canadian Nikkei Artist

On Being Yukiko: New Kids Book Explores Japanese Canadian Identity - Part 2

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Lillian, who is Yukiko? In a nutshell, what is the story of Yukiko?

Lillian: Jeff and I talked a lot about Emma’s Japanese middle name. We decided on Yukiko, Jeff’s young daughter’s name. In the years to come, I think his little girl will be extremely proud of what her father had accomplished in naming the heroine after her.

From your personal experience, how well is the JC story known today in BC? In Ontario?

Lillian: The Japanese Canadian story was relatively unknown in Ontario. The ROM exhibition On Being Japanese Canadian: reflections on ...

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Canadian Nikkei Artist

On Being Yukiko: New Kids Book Explores Japanese Canadian Identity - Part 1

In many ways, On Being Yukiko, a new graphic novel by Lillian Michiko Blakey (Newmarket, Ontario) and Jeff Chiba Stearns (Vancouver, BC) is a book for these Covid-19 times.

As so many of us are trying to define and redefine ourselves, there is a scramble for meaning of any sort during these times. In a time of Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, 18 Million Rising, the spectre of Donald Trump, there is a clear clarion call challenging people to take a stand, to define themselves as individuals and communities.

On a grassroots level, Sansei artist and retired teacher, Blakey, who participated ...

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Kizuna 2020: Nikkei Kindness and Solidarity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Japanese Canadian Art in the Time of Covid-19 - Part 4

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So, here we are entering fall 2020 and the second wave of Covid-19 is upon Canada…. the inevitable has arrived.

So, from Nelson, BC there is Diana who I met last summer on a short trip to the Kootenays that now seems like a lifetime ago. I like the edginess of her American Niseiness. Her “Sideways” memoir gave me insight into what it was like to grow up as someone born into internment in Minidoka Internment Camp. A friend of William Hohri (1927-2010), writer, civil rights activist, and lead plaintiff in the National Council for Japanese American ...

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Kizuna 2020: Nikkei Kindness and Solidarity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Japanese Canadian Art in the Time of Covid-19 - Part 3

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Who were/are the Japanese Canadian culture makers of yesterday, today, and beyond this era of Covid-19?

One name that I have heard from my earlier days is Toronto’s Nobuo Kubota, Governor General’s Award, et al. a former teacher at the Ontario College of Art (now Ontario College of Art and Design) who is often grouped with Kazuo Nakamura (Royal Canadian Academy, born in Vancouver, October 13, 1926 - April 9, 2002), a founding member of the Toronto-based Painters Eleven group in the 1950s and Takao Tanabe (1926 - ), Order of Canada, Governor General’s Award, et ...

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Kizuna 2020: Nikkei Kindness and Solidarity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Japanese Canadian Art in the Time of Covid-19 - Part 2

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Reflecting on the art of Yvonne Wakabayashi, second-generation artist Miya Turnbull (daughter of Alberta potter, Marjene Matsunaga Turnbull), and Barb Miiko Gravlin, each of their works has a place in the unravelling narrative of the Japanese Canadian Covid-19 story.

It is humbling to think that here are three generations of Japanese Canadians artists who continue to work at this most difficult time.

Looking at the art that Miya, Barb, and Yvonne are creating with a CoVid-19 lense then, what can be a more powerful expression of these times than Miya’s startling face masks? As a public ...

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