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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Kizuna 2020: Nikkei Kindness and Solidarity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Japanese Canadian Art in the Time of Covid-19 - Part 3

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Who were/are the Japanese Canadian culture makers of yesterday, today, and beyond this era of Covid-19?

One name that I have heard from my earlier days is Toronto’s Nobuo Kubota, Governor General’s Award, et al. a former teacher at the Ontario College of Art (now Ontario College of Art and Design) who is often grouped with Kazuo Nakamura (Royal Canadian Academy, born in Vancouver, October 13, 1926 - April 9, 2002), a founding member of the Toronto-based Painters Eleven group in the 1950s and Takao Tanabe (1926 - ), Order of Canada, Governor General’s Award, et ...

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Kizuna 2020: Nikkei Kindness and Solidarity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Japanese Canadian Art in the Time of Covid-19 - Part 2

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Reflecting on the art of Yvonne Wakabayashi, second-generation artist Miya Turnbull (daughter of Alberta potter, Marjene Matsunaga Turnbull), and Barb Miiko Gravlin, each of their works has a place in the unravelling narrative of the Japanese Canadian Covid-19 story.

It is humbling to think that here are three generations of Japanese Canadians artists who continue to work at this most difficult time.

Looking at the art that Miya, Barb, and Yvonne are creating with a CoVid-19 lense then, what can be a more powerful expression of these times than Miya’s startling face masks? As a public ...

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Kizuna 2020: Nikkei Kindness and Solidarity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Japanese Canadian Art in the Time of Covid-19 - Part 1

How do worldwide issues of crisis like a World War or pandemic affect the way artists work?

While I am not aware of any Japanese Canadian artists who were active early in our settlement of Canada, one American Nisei sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) born in Los Angeles, California, is certainly one of the best known sculptors anywhere. His father was the well-known poet, Yone, and his mother the educator-writer Leonie Gilmour (1873-1933) who edited much of Isamu’s writing. Although little is made of the times he was born into, Isamu lived through the Spanish Pandemic of 1918, World War ...

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Canadian Nikkei Artist

Artist Akira Yoshikawa Joins JC Giants at Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario - Part 2

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Can you talk a bit about your career as an artist? When did you become conscious of wanting to be one?

I was always good at art. In Japan I used to receive awards and special display status in public school. I was very confident about the art I made. Even after arriving in Toronto, my classmates used to gather around me to watch me make art.

My grade 13 art teacher at Parkdale Collegiate Institute, Mr. Crawford, encouraged me to apply to the Ontario College of Art (now Ontario College of Art and Design University) in ...

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Canadian Nikkei Artist

Artist Akira Yoshikawa Joins JC Giants at Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario - Part 1

“Throughout a lifetime, one comes across by chance or by arrangement a certain energy that aligns with one’s own. Individual components are integrated to form a common energy to focus on how we see the world. This alignment when experienced, yields a state of well-being, comfort and assurance. The aesthetic and cultural practices in my work are related to my interest in Eastern philosophy, with its expression of serenity and spirituality. It recognizes the important aspect of time known as ‘the temporal moment’. There is a constant reference to appreciate the realm of ‘now’, not to focus on obsolete ...

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