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Norm Masaji Ibuki

@Masaji

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


Stories from This Author

Thumbnail for The Art Gallery of Ontario Honours Japanese Canadian Artist, Kaz Nakamura—Part 2
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Canadian Nikkei Artist
The Art Gallery of Ontario Honours Japanese Canadian Artist, Kaz Nakamura—Part 2

May 6, 2024 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Read Part 1 >> Akira Yoshikawa, Artist, Toronto My first encounter with Kazuo Nakamura’s artwork was at the Art Gallery of Ontario. I was still a teenager trying to decide what direction to take after my graduation from high school. I knew I had strong interests in design and architecture. As I was roaming around the gallery, one painting in particular caught my attention. The painting depicted stacked architectural blocks in a minimal modernist landscape. The artist had only used black, …

Thumbnail for The Art Gallery of Ontario Honours Japanese Canadian Artist, Kaz Nakamura—Part 1
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Canadian Nikkei Artist
The Art Gallery of Ontario Honours Japanese Canadian Artist, Kaz Nakamura—Part 1

May 5, 2024 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto is featuring an exhibition of the works of Japanese Canadian artist Kazuo Nakamura (1926-2002), one of the giants of the Canadian art scene. The exhibition is scheduled to be up for the next two years. You can view it on Level 2 in Gallery 225 (Bovey Gallery). “Kaz,” as he was affectionately called, is celebrated for his abstract paintings that engage with the geometric forms and universal laws of nature. Distinguished by …

Thumbnail for Book Review—White Riot: The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots in Vancouver
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Canadian Nikkei Artist
Book Review—White Riot: The 1907 Anti-Asian Riots in Vancouver

Jan. 29, 2024 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

“Anti-Chinese sentiment is on the rise yet again, especially since 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic, and with it a dramatic increase in anti-Asian violence. Fanned by anti-China sentiment, animosity and blame extended into a pan-East Asian discrimination that targeted vulnerable people, especially lower-income seniors and women, which in turn became its own epidemic. If there was ever any doubt about whether events in the past impact our current lives, this is yet more proof.” — Author Henry Tsang (1964- ), …

Thumbnail for Dr. Jiro Takai's Journey of Becoming From the Soo to Nagoya University — Part 6
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Dr. Jiro Takai's Journey of Becoming From the Soo to Nagoya University — Part 6

Oct. 22, 2023 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Read Part 5 >> As Dean of the School of Education at Nagoya University what are your responsibilities? You travel a lot to the US and Canada. What is that about? JT: I serve mainly as the representative of the School (of Education), given a seat at various meetings for university management. I joked with my wife that I would have calluses on my ass from sitting through meeting after meeting. Actually, it wasn’t really a joke. My buttocks have flattened …

Thumbnail for Dr. Jiro Takai's Journey of Becoming From the Soo to Nagoya University — Part 5
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Dr. Jiro Takai's Journey of Becoming From the Soo to Nagoya University — Part 5

Oct. 15, 2023 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Read Part 4 >> I remember well when I first went to Japan in the '90s and how that changed how I regarded myself as a Canadian of Japanese descent. In a way, when you went to California you were returning to a culture that you were already well familiar with. Did your sense of yourself change in any way when you were in California? What was your wife Junko's experience like? JT: Twelve years since my return to Japan, my wife, …

Thumbnail for Dr. Jiro Takai's Journey of Becoming From the Soo to Nagoya University — Part 4
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Dr. Jiro Takai's Journey of Becoming From the Soo to Nagoya University — Part 4

Oct. 8, 2023 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Read Part 3 >> 1982 Vincent Chin Murder in Detroit We both remember the murder of the Chinese American, Vincent Chin. Until then I didn’t realize how visceral Anti-Asian hate, specifically against Japanese, was in America. What effect did Chin’s murder have on you? JT: My short stay in Nagoya had compelled me to toy with the idea of applying to a university in Japan, and I learned that only two universities would accept kikokushijo (returnees). Sophia (上智大学) offered a humanities …

Thumbnail for Dr. Jiro Takai's Journey of Becoming From the Soo to Nagoya University — Part 3
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Dr. Jiro Takai's Journey of Becoming From the Soo to Nagoya University — Part 3

Oct. 1, 2023 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Read Part 2 >> Forging Asian Canadian Identity JT: Being someone who prides himself on having the name Chink, I feel that people of the modern age are just too sensitive, and they take any cheap shots taken at their race, ethnicity, or sexuality way too seriously. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me, eh? Hell, back then, a joke was a joke, meant to be a friendly tit-for-tat (can’t even say that word no …

Thumbnail for Dr. Jiro Takai's Journey of Becoming From the Soo to Nagoya University — Part 2
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Dr. Jiro Takai's Journey of Becoming From the Soo to Nagoya University — Part 2

Sept. 24, 2023 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Read Part 1 >> Jiro’s Parents Remembering his father who has since passed on, Jiro shares his own experiences. JT: He was a wonderful man, who never got angry, and had a great sense of humour. He was super sociable, and loved to have parties at our home. That kind of bugged me, as a youth, since these old geezers (in their 40s) would come over, get drunk and loud, whilst I was trying to study. His friends were mainly fellow …

Thumbnail for Dr. Jiro Takai's Journey of Becoming From the Soo to Nagoya University — Part 1
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Dr. Jiro Takai's Journey of Becoming From the Soo to Nagoya University — Part 1

Sept. 17, 2023 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

My childhood friend, Jiro Takai, and I have been on parallel life paths of sorts. We first met in elementary school in Sault Ste. Marie (the Soo), northern Ontario, Canada. Growing up, unbeknownst to each other, we would forge careers in education. Having since reconnected in recent years, Jiro has become a wonderful friend and ally. Over the decades, our lives have crisscrossed many times from Canada to Japan, back to Canada and Japan again… the tettertottering between cultures continues. …

Thumbnail for Takeuchi's Shapes In Between Retrospective: 60 Years and Counting - Part 2
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Canadian Nikkei Artist
Takeuchi's Shapes In Between Retrospective: 60 Years and Counting - Part 2

July 24, 2023 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Read Part 1 >> Prior to 1995, Norman admits that he had little contact with the JC community: “My focus was on the local (Ottawa) art community and producing my own work and there appeared to be no one from the JC community who was part of this.” He designed the 1977 poster for the JC Centennial based on Arthur Irizawa’s Centennial logo as the main image in the poster.” His first and only trip to Japan was in 1969-1970 to …

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