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

war en ja

Japan Journal: A Repat's Story - Part 2

Continuation of Hiroshi Kumagai’s story.

Read Part 1 >> 

Going to Japan

My father had land there (in Japan). That was the reason why he came to Canada: to send back money and hold on to the land he was responsible for. He didn’t want to lose it all in his generation.

After father died, mother didn’t have much to do. She used to teach me Japanese. The Matsushitas were in Lemon Creek too. So Lily would come over to learn Japanese too. In Lemon Creek there was a community and quite a bit of cultural activity: flower ...

Read more

war en ja

Japan Journal: A Repat's Story - Part 1

Since I arrived in Japan a year ago, I’ve wanted to speak to Canadian Nikkei about their experience living here in Japan. I’ve met and talked with a couple who refused to be interviewed so I was especially pleased when Mr. Lloyd Hiroshi Kumagai contacted me after reading an article I’d written about aikido.

Mr. Kumagai, 65, is a Canadian nisei who was born in Burquitlam, B.C., on March 15, 1931. His parents, Takeshi and Masako (nee Sasaki), were both from Miyagi-ken and had a farm in Uwanuma, a village close to Towa-cho, the village where ...

Read more

culture en

The Artistry of Kimiko Koyanagi

Even long after I’ve seen them, some of the sculptured figures that artist Kimiko Koyanagi has created haunt me in the way their long vertical lines rise upward and finding their nadir of expression in faces that are contemplative, inward feeling, seeking some kind of inner peace.

What I find most striking about her creations is the lines she creates. Anyone who has ever looked at the brush strokes of Zen master Hakuin Ekaku (1685-1768) or swordsman/artist Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645) can see the bold, powerful energy contained in each stroke. As simple as ‘a line’ might seem, profound ...

Read more

identity en

Tadaima Sendai!

It had been about three years and I was really itching to get back to Japan this past summer.

I figured that having taken all of those teacher courses over the past three years and going through all of the excruciating things that one does to get resettled after living abroad for so long, that we deserved this journey back to Japan. With the recession, tickets were actually pretty cheap. It was a necessary trip back to see old friends and family.

There are few places on the planet that I now feel that I need to see. I have ...

Read more

identity en

Defining A New Nikkei Paradigm with Junko Mifune

What does being Nikkei mean to you?

Do I have a greater claim on Nikkeiness because my grandparents immigrated to Canada before World War Two, were interned and dispossessed of their property? Does it matter that my father served in the Canadian army? Does it matter that you can speak better Japanese than me? Does it matter that your spouse is white and mine is from Japan? Does it matter that I was born here and you weren’t? Does being a descendant of the “first” Japanese immigrants group give you the right to dictate what should and should not ...

Read more