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Profile image of Norm Masaji Ibuki

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 Dr. Jiro Takai's Journey of Becoming From the Soo to Nagoya University — Part 1
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Canadian Nikkei Series
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 …

Thumbnail for Takeuchi's Shapes In Between Retrospective: 60 Years and Counting - Part 1
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Canadian Nikkei Artist
Takeuchi's Shapes In Between Retrospective: 60 Years and Counting - Part 1

July 23, 2023 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

“Trying to figure out what it means to be Japanese Canadian is messy work. To sum it up: to me, being JC means feeling conflicted. After all these years of being who I am, I still seem to have to convince myself that I’m Canadian. I’m very aware that no matter where I go, whether it’s to restaurants, art galleries, or the curling rink, I look different from everyone around me. “The prevalence of racism and the reflections in the …

Thumbnail for Japanese Canadians Speak Up for Raymond Moriyama’s Iconic Toronto JCCC - Part 3
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Japanese Canadians Speak Up for Raymond Moriyama’s Iconic Toronto JCCC - Part 3

June 27, 2023 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Read Part 2 >> Diana Morita Cole, Nelson, BC (born in Minidoka concentration camp) One of my greatest pleasures is hiking the rugged Kootenay mountains where I live. Last fall, when I was climbing Baldface, an experienced hiker jabbed her pole into ground and asserted, “You people! You didn’t help us fight the Axis.” In that moment, I knew there were greater obstacles to my journey than the mere crevices and boulders I would encounter in the trail ahead. “That’s not …

Thumbnail for Japanese Canadians Speak Up for Raymond Moriyama’s Iconic Toronto JCCC - Part 2
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Japanese Canadians Speak Up for Raymond Moriyama’s Iconic Toronto JCCC - Part 2

June 20, 2023 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Read Part 1 >> Lillian Michiko Yano, Newmarket, ON I know who I am because of 123 Wynford Drive… so long ago…48 years ago, in 1975.             In 1952, my family came to Toronto after their forced removal to excruciating lives in Alberta sugar beet fields. My father had decided that the best way for our future was to assimilate into mainstream Canadian culture. But secretly, like all Japanese Canadians seeking a new beginning in Ontario, he was proud to be …

Thumbnail for Japanese Canadians Speak Up for Raymond Moriyama’s Iconic Toronto JCCC - Part 1
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Japanese Canadians Speak Up for Raymond Moriyama’s Iconic Toronto JCCC - Part 1

June 13, 2023 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

On a sunny afternoon in June 1964 at 123 Wynford Drive in Toronto’s Don Mills area, Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson stood at the podium at the entrance of the brand-new building and officially opened the Japanese Canadian Centre (now Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre - JCCC) before hundreds of spectators, stating: “For me, this centre is a reminder of the multi-racial heritage on which our nation is being built, surely and strongly. It is a new living monument to …

Thumbnail for History Lessons with Professor Masumi Izumi — Part 3: Postwar Community Revitalization and Redress Movement
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History Lessons with Professor Masumi Izumi — Part 3: Postwar Community Revitalization and Redress Movement

April 18, 2023 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Read Part 2 >> As a historian, Izumi says that the ongoing use of euphemistic language to describe the WWII experience can be problematic. “I now use the term ‘internment/incarceration’ for the confinement of the ethnic Japanese in the camps in the United States and Canada,” she explains. “The reason is that the ethnic Japanese included both Japanese nationals and American/Canadian citizens at the time of World War II. Legally speaking, Nisei, Sansei, and naturalized Canadians of Japanese descent were …

Thumbnail for History Lessons with Professor Masumi Izumi — Part 2: Japanese American vs Japanese Canadian Internment/Incarceration
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History Lessons with Professor Masumi Izumi — Part 2: Japanese American vs Japanese Canadian Internment/Incarceration

April 11, 2023 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Read Part 1 >> Izumi first learned about the Japanese American incarceration experience in 1984: “I saw the NHK TV drama titled Sanga Moyu, a drama based on Toyoko Yamazaki’s novel, Futatsu no Sokoku. The story was about a Japanese American family, and in the story, one brother joined the US Army and his younger brother joined the Japanese Army. The family in the US had to go to Manzanar. I didn’t know about the Canadian internment/incarceration, until I read …

Thumbnail for History Lessons with Professor Masumi Izumi — Part 1: Family Background
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History Lessons with Professor Masumi Izumi — Part 1: Family Background

April 4, 2023 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

I had the honour of interviewing History Professor Masumi Izumi earlier this year. Dr. Izumi is Japanese. Her scientist doctor father’s work took the family to Australia, where she attended elementary school. Years later, she returned to Kyoto and attended public school. She received her B.A. in Anglo-American Studies from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, and went on to attend Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, for her Master’s studies in Political Science and International Studies. She also studied at the …

Thumbnail for Toronto Japanese Canadian Duo Releases Groundbreaking EP
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Canadian Nikkei Artist
Toronto Japanese Canadian Duo Releases Groundbreaking EP

March 2, 2023 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

“Quiet now, there is not a thing besides the low, humming sound of the bodyIn my mouth, chewing on the wordsI cannot speak to them out loud until I’m ready….” From “Stone Between The Lips” by Brian Kobayakawa (aka Brava Kilo) and Annie Sumi Like stepping into a time machine, Kintsugi takes its audience back more than 80 years in time when we lived on Paueru Gai (Powell Street), up and down BC’s west coast, suffering through the injustices of …

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