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

culture en

Canadian Nikkei Series

Sally Ito’s Memoir The Emperor’s Orphans: An interview - Part 2

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What does being Nikkei mean to you today?

Being Nikkei today means being aware of who I am regarding my personal history, and being aware of what continues to inspire me as a writer.

Is this something that you are passing on to your kids? If so, how and why? What is their reaction to these stories and their connection to Japan?

Am I passing this on to my kids? I have tried my best to expose my children to life in Japan, for example, and by having them take Japanese language classes, but ultimately, as adults ...

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culture en

Canadian Nikkei Series

Sally Ito’s Memoir The Emperor’s Orphans: An interview - Part 1

Nation of Birds

What if our only home were the air
And our wings flapping through it?
And time the space we lived in
And the nest, a current for our eggs?
What if there were no abode but
Shore or field, one day to the next,
The wide sky, the only true resting place
Made of movement and yearning
For a never-arriving home?

— Sally Ito

In Winnipeg poet/teacher/translator Sally Ito’s memoir, The Emperor’s Orphans (TEO), readers are taken on a journey of self-discovery of her Japanese Canadian heritage. As we have fewer and fewer elders ...

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politics en

A Principled Stand: Gordon Hirabayashi V. the United States: A Book Review

As this past September 2018 marked the 30th anniversary of the Redress settlement, I want to share some learning about one of the most important Japanese American heroes, Dr. Gordon Kiyoshi Hirabayashi (1918-2012), whose stand against the 1942 curfew and internment of JAs during World War Two continues to inspire new generations.

A Principled Stand: The Story of Hirabayashi V. United States was created by his late brother, James (1926-2012), who was a professor emeritus of Asian American History at San Francisco University and nephew Dr. Lane Ryo Hirabayashi, retired professor of Asian American Studies and the George and Sakaye ...

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identity en

Canadian Nikkei Series

Canadian Nikkei: Oakville Sansei Dr. Erik Nabeta - Part 2

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Have you ever been to Japan? What attracts you to it? Any contact with family there?

Yes, Tokyo. It was only four days, and I need to return. One of my favourite cities I’ve ever visited. Can’t wait to go back. I have a couple of Japanese friends that have said I need to visit Kyoto as well. I love Japanese culture for the respect they all carry. The city works so well because of this. My favourite example is the subway and watching people line up. When the train arrives, people wait in an ...

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identity en

Canadian Nikkei Series

Canadian Nikkei: Oakville Sansei Dr. Erik Nabeta - Part 1

As a public school teacher, I’m keenly aware of the breakneck speed at which culture is evolving and how, correspondingly, ideas of “Nikkeiness” are changing too. Who needs grandpa anymore when discussions and information are just a Google search away?

For me these days the discourse about identity has shifted from the binary hafu to something a lot more diverse. Nowadays, it isn’t unusual for me to meet students at my mostly Punjabi/Hindi school, who tell me that they have relatives that live in Japan. One even has an aunt who works for the Indian embassy in ...

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