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

community en

NAJC President Terumi Kuwada Interview

Come this fall, Terumi Kuwada, 63, the current National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) will be stepping down to make way for her successor.

As a Canadian community at a crossroads, it’s important for us to be proud of the contributions of Nikkei throughout Canada’s history towards helping build this nation’s sense of who and what it is as a multinational haven that is the envy of the world. However, as we have, to a certain extent, moved beyond the days of ‘open’ racism towards our community, beyond internment and into a new millennium, we have, largely ...

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identity en

My Aunt Hiroko Nagaike Sensei - Part 2

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Sensei’s eldest son, Fumiyasu, 61, is now the official head of the clinic, carrying on in traditional fashion. Her two other sons are also doctors: Yasuo is a dentist in Tokyo and Hiroshi has his own clinic in Saitama. However, the future of the women’s clinic is an uncertain one as there are no grandchildren in line to carry on the legacy into a third generation.

The unobtrusive, beige-tiled clinic is located in the remarkably tight and well ordered downtown area. The beige Mercedes S-class car is squeezed precariously on to a bit of sidewalk ...

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identity en

My Aunt Hiroko Nagaike Sensei - Part 1

One of the greatest laments that I have for the pre-WW2 immigrant generation is that our connections with Japan have largely disappeared.

When I went over to Japan in 1995, one of my intended goals was to make some sort of connection with the relatives who I had grown up hearing about on odd occasions. I knew little about both families: Mom’s siblings had visited their family in Kumamoto-ken. As an adult I learned that there was a mountain named Ibuki in Shiga-ken and that nearby Biwako was the largest fresh water lake in Japan. I had also heard ...

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Remembering Thomas Makiyama Sensei

Whenever I go back to Japan these days, it is really with more of a sense of mission, reevaluating my relationship with Japan and my identity of which being Nikkei is significant.

Even after having lived in British Columbia for three years, one in South Slocan where I lived for a short time in Lemon Creek visiting New Denver (both former internment camp sites) several times, and having lived in Japan for nine years, my understanding of who and what I am is slowly becoming a little less hazy.

The late great Hank Nakamura, a Canadian Nisei who was exiled ...

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media en ja es pt

“I am an American first and foremost and I am black” -- American Enka singer Jero

Today, in the uniquely traditional world of Japanese enka, there is no bigger new name than Jero.

Since writing a piece (“Jero and Me” ) earlier this year, I’ve been deeply intrigued about this American Nikkei singer who’s become a household name in Japan since his first CD, “Covers” (2008) followed by “Yakusoku” (“Promise”, 2009) and now “Covers 2”. I wanted to know what was behind the media hype.

Japan loves the gaijin who wants to belong. What makes Jero unusual is that he wants to make it on his own terms, with his own fashion sense and personal ...

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