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 7

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These Covid times, emerging from our third lockdown in Ontario, as well as teaching online, has given me some pause to dwell upon our next generation of mentors/leaders as the times necessitate. In 2021, there has been a lot to celebrate nationally in the JC community with the news of artist, curator and activist Bryce Kanbara (Hamilton, ON) winning a Governor General's Visual Arts Award and fashion executive Sansei Susan Langdon (Toronto), whose parents were interned in New Denver, BC being appointed a member of the Order of Canada on December 31st, 2020, Canada's highest honour. …

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Chiru Sakura-Falling Cherry Blossoms: A Book Review

“My mother had, throughout it all, kept a diary as many of her generation were doing; thus minute details, often easily forgotten, about specific events and names appear in her memoir.”

—Vancouver Author Grace Eiko Thomson

In an intriguing way, Chiru Sakura-Falling Cherry Blossoms: A Mother & Daughter’s Journey Through Racism, Internment and Oppression is an important book for these Covid times when we have more moments of idleness, perhaps, to contemplate upon where we have come from, where we might be for the moment, and where we might possibly be heading when, as the title of Grace Eiko Thomson’s …

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The Wakayama Canada-Japan Friendship Totem Pole Project

Factoring in Japan with Canada has always been a juggling act. For generations it has been a “S/he loves me, s/he loves me not” relationship. Some find it necessary while others don’t: more than ever, identity is a complex selection of personal choices.

So, does being Japanese Canadian in 2021 even require a relationship with Japan, I wonder? Should we choose to include “Japanese”, then how do you define it for yourself? Are you simply gleefully (happy face emoji) Nikkei, or might there be something more substantial to that self identity?

Most recently, at least since the Sister City (Oakville, …

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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 6: Let’s Dance!

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So far, dancing is not on the list of prohibited activities under the current Ontario Emergency Lockdown.

In Part 6, we’re featuring three JC dancers who make their living as dancers: Vancouver Budoh dancer Jay Hirabayashi, son of Gordon Hirabayashi, and his partner Barb Bourget are the founders and teachers at Kokoro Dance. Denise Fujiwara operates the Fujiwara Dance Inventions in Toronto and Hiroe Hoshi (aka “Nema”) is a well known Victoria, BC belly dancer, performer and teacher.

In going through some of my pictures from my nine years in Japan, I came across one of …

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Kizuna: Nikkei Stories from the 2011 Japan Earthquake & Tsunami

Remembering: The Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami 10 Years Later

This past Feb. 13th, there was a magnitude 7.1 earthquake in Fukushima. I froze. Cold sweat and a familiar sense of panic came raging back.

Flashback: March 11, 2011. 

I clearly recall waking up for school and getting an odd, frantic phone call from CBC radio asking for a comment about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. What the hell was going on? I wondered, annoyed by the early morning disruption. All morning at school, I was preoccupied by finding moments to check on the news out of Japan, specifically Tohoku and seeing terrifying images of black waves and …

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