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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Power of Our Stories

Vancouver’s 1907 Anti-Asian Riots Revisited - Part 2

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For those who may not be familiar with it, can you give a summary of the events leading up to the 1907 Riot? What happened and what was the aftermath? Didn’t things get worse after that for Asians? What about the racists?

The 360 Video Walking Tour of the 1907 Anti-Asian Riots traces the history and route of the mob that attacked the Chinese Canadian and Japanese Canadian communities following the demonstration and parade organized by the Asiatic Exclusion League in Vancouver.

The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots in Vancouver is one of the most significant events in ...

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Power of Our Stories

Vancouver’s 1907 Anti-Asian Riots Revisited - Part 1

“Nothing could be more systematic than the determination with which the mob picked out Japanese and Chinese windows and spared those right adjoining if they were those of whites. On Columbia Avenue, for example, all the Chinese windows were broken and those of two white real estate brokers were left whole.”

The Vancouver Daily World newspaper reporting about the Powell Street Riot in 1907

Prior to making my first visit to the Powell Street Festival in August, I noticed several events in the program published in Geppo that piqued my interest, among them being the 360 Riot Walk that advertised ...

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Canadian Nikkei Artist

David Hayashida on his first visit to BC, euphemisms and life on "The Rock" - Part 2

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Can you talk about how your career as an artist began?

I am turning 60 this year and it is my first piece on JCs. If Dr. Heather Read had not very kindly invited me to turn my decades old idea into reality, it might never have existed outside of my head. Also, my younger sister Charissa Alain Lilly (also an artist) just passed away and that difficult event has in many ways pushed me to want to do more JC pieces before the window closes on my opportunity to make an artistic contribution to the racism ...

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Canadian Nikkei Artist

David Hayashida on his first visit to BC, euphemisms and life on "The Rock" - Part 1

I caught up with Newfoundland artist David Hayashida on his return home after returning from the BC Internment Camp tour in July.

Like me, he grew up in Ontario far removed from most Japanese Canadians. We were often the only Asians in our schools. And as inheritors of the internment and the Redress legacy, we have spent much of our adult lives figuring out how to become valued members of our mostly-white communities where we grew up clinging on to whatever vestiges of our Japanese ancestry that we could.

As an eastern born and raised JC in Toronto, confronting the ...

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A Book Review - The Emperor's Orphans by Winnipeg's Sally Ito

“Going from being the ‘Jap’ in one country (Canada) to the ‘Yankee’ in another (Japan) must not have been pleasant. No matter where they went the Ito family felt like perpetual outsiders,” Winnipeg author Sally Ito, describing the experience of her ‘repat’ uncle to Japan where he faced discrimination of a different sort.

Let’s face it, the effort to ‘discover oneself’ is complicated even at the best of times. Truly, the untangling of DNA strands don’t begin to tell the story of who we are. The actual factors that go into this process are abundantly more complex than ...

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