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 3

Continuation of Hiroshi Kumagai’s story.

Read Part 2 >> 

Missing Canada

I wasn’t happy at all. In a way, I was angry but not really angry. I longed for Canada. I missed Lemon Creek. I wanted a friend who was a Canadian who speaks English. That’s what I wanted. I felt really lonely.

My brother-in-law let me go to school there. That was also terrible because I was much taller and older than the others and I couldn’t speak Japanese. Well, I could, but everything I did didn’t fit into the picture. You didn’t wear ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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