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

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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Canadian Nikkei Artist

Marjene Matsunaga Turnbull: How-to-Bake a Japanese Canadian Cake

Here’s an intriguing idea about how to think about your Japanese Canadian identity: What if it were a cake recipe what would go into it and how would you construct or, perhaps, more aptly, deconstruct, it?

De/constructing my own Japanese Canadian identity over the years, I’ve learned that the foundation of the Japanese part of my cultural shaping would include the food, my awkward way of interacting with others (especially in Japanese), Buddhism, aikido, how history has twisted and bent my identity, the novels of Yukio Mishima, Jun’ichiro Tanizaki, Kenzaburo Oe, and writer Naoya Shiga’s ...

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Canadian Nikkei Artist

A journey of becoming ... with Toronto’s Lillian Michiko Blakey - Part 2

The continuation of Lillian Michiko Blakey's story.

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Right after the craft show, I got busy with my first real art piece. I am still mystified as to why I chose to create a nonrepresentational piece of art. “White Night” was an abstract landscape completely created in varying tones of point fabric. Upon reflection today, I find myself thinking this is an odd way of representing night. The other strange thing is that abstract expressionism of the 60s have never been of intrinsic interest to me. As I grow older, I search for meaning increasingly in the ...

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