Canadian Nikkei Artist

Canadian Nikkei Artist series will focus on those in the Japanese Canadian community who are actively involved in the ongoing evolution: the artists, musicians, writers/poets and, broadly speaking, anybody else in the arts who grapples with their sense of identity. As such, the series will introduce Discover Nikkei readers to a wide range of ‘voices’, both established and emerging, that have something to say about their identity. This series aims to stir this cultural pot of Nikkeiness and, ultimately, build meaningful connections with Nikkei everywhere.

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Norman Takeuchi: Portrait of an Artist as a Japanese Canadian

“Over the years, my paintings have explored my Japanese Canadian identity. While earlier works reflected feelings of ambivalence and discomfort with my ethnicity, passing time has slowly shaped my feelings into those of acceptance and a certain amount of pride.… The works in Equal Time, produced between 2018 and 2020, continue the exploration of the Japanese Canadian.”

Norman Takeuchi, from the new exhibition catalogue (Studio Sixty Six Contemporary Art Gallery)

On November 23, Nisei Norman Takeuchi launched an exhibition of Japanese Canadian World War Two internment themed art that was two years in the making.

The important new work of ...

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On Being Yukiko: New Kids Book Explores Japanese Canadian Identity - Part 2

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Lillian, who is Yukiko? In a nutshell, what is the story of Yukiko?

Lillian: Jeff and I talked a lot about Emma’s Japanese middle name. We decided on Yukiko, Jeff’s young daughter’s name. In the years to come, I think his little girl will be extremely proud of what her father had accomplished in naming the heroine after her.

From your personal experience, how well is the JC story known today in BC? In Ontario?

Lillian: The Japanese Canadian story was relatively unknown in Ontario. The ROM exhibition On Being Japanese Canadian: reflections on ...

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On Being Yukiko: New Kids Book Explores Japanese Canadian Identity - Part 1

In many ways, On Being Yukiko, a new graphic novel by Lillian Michiko Blakey (Newmarket, Ontario) and Jeff Chiba Stearns (Vancouver, BC) is a book for these Covid-19 times.

As so many of us are trying to define and redefine ourselves, there is a scramble for meaning of any sort during these times. In a time of Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, 18 Million Rising, the spectre of Donald Trump, there is a clear clarion call challenging people to take a stand, to define themselves as individuals and communities.

On a grassroots level, Sansei artist and retired teacher, Blakey, who participated ...

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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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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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