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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 Japan Journal: A Repat's Story - Part 2
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Japan Journal: A Repat's Story - Part 2

Jan. 4, 2010 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Continuation of Hiroshi Kumagai’s story. Read Part 1 >>  Going to Japan My father had land there (in Japan). That was the reason why he came to Canada: to send back money and hold on to the land he was responsible for. He didn’t want to lose it all in his generation. After father died, mother didn’t have much to do. She used to teach me Japanese. The Matsushitas were in Lemon Creek too. So Lily would come over to …

Thumbnail for Japan Journal: A Repat's Story - Part 1
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Japan Journal: A Repat's Story - Part 1

Dec. 28, 2009 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Since I arrived in Japan a year ago, I’ve wanted to speak to Canadian Nikkei about their experience living here in Japan. I’ve met and talked with a couple who refused to be interviewed so I was especially pleased when Mr. Lloyd Hiroshi Kumagai contacted me after reading an article I’d written about aikido. Mr. Kumagai, 65, is a Canadian nisei who was born in Burquitlam, B.C., on March 15, 1931. His parents, Takeshi and Masako (nee Sasaki), were both …

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The Artistry of Kimiko Koyanagi

Dec. 18, 2009 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Even long after I’ve seen them, some of the sculptured figures that artist Kimiko Koyanagi has created haunt me in the way their long vertical lines rise upward and finding their nadir of expression in faces that are contemplative, inward feeling, seeking some kind of inner peace. What I find most striking about her creations is the lines she creates. Anyone who has ever looked at the brush strokes of Zen master Hakuin Ekaku (1685-1768) or swordsman/artist Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645) …

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Tadaima Sendai!

Nov. 27, 2009 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

It had been about three years and I was really itching to get back to Japan this past summer. I figured that having taken all of those teacher courses over the past three years and going through all of the excruciating things that one does to get resettled after living abroad for so long, that we deserved this journey back to Japan. With the recession, tickets were actually pretty cheap. It was a necessary trip back to see old friends …

Thumbnail for Defining A New Nikkei Paradigm with Junko Mifune
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Defining A New Nikkei Paradigm with Junko Mifune

Nov. 4, 2009 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

What does being Nikkei mean to you? Do I have a greater claim on Nikkeiness because my grandparents immigrated to Canada before World War Two, were interned and dispossessed of their property? Does it matter that my father served in the Canadian army? Does it matter that you can speak better Japanese than me? Does it matter that your spouse is white and mine is from Japan? Does it matter that I was born here and you weren’t? Does being …

Thumbnail for Memoir Celebrates Yoneyama Family of Haney, B.C.
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Memoir Celebrates Yoneyama Family of Haney, B.C.

Oct. 5, 2009 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

The hands that brought me into this world were Dr. Misao Yoneyama’s at Toronto’s Women’s College Hospital and it was about 30 years later that I met her and husband Dr. Wes Fujiwara during the Ghost town bus tour that was part of Homecoming, outside the Ainsworth Hot Springs Hotel in B.C. As Dr. Yoneyama was my mom’s gynecologist, I grew up hearing the name always spoken with a great deal of respect and reverence. Mom also pointed out that …

Thumbnail for The Lemon Creek Harmonica Band Plays On 65 Years Later
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The Lemon Creek Harmonica Band Plays On 65 Years Later

Aug. 12, 2009 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

“Hail to new Canadians. Pledge loyalty with the land that gave us birth and our destiny yonder gleam the challenge bright, though the way be dark. All together with one voice onto victory…” words by Dr. Irene Uchida, first principal of Lemon Creek School, Officer of the Order of Canada (1993) Rare are the stories that have continued in our community for the past sixty years. But the Lemon Creek Harmonica band, certainly one of Canada’s oldest, are now into …

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Jero and Me

July 22, 2009 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Even though American Enka-singing sensation JERO is being proclaimed at the “first black Enka singer” in Japan, I would like to claim him as one of us. JERO is one of the newest ‘gaijin’ (foreigner) talents to make their mark on the Japanese entertainment scene. Following the release of his first recording, Covers, in 2008, and subsequent Yakusoku (“Promise”) in 2009, JERO has become a popular guest on the TV talk show circuit. While he gets away with visually challenging …

Thumbnail for Making “Henry’s Glasses” with Brendan Uegama
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Making “Henry’s Glasses” with Brendan Uegama

June 26, 2009 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

B.C. filmmaker Brendan Uegama is intensely involved in the exploration of what-it-is-to-be Nikkei today. Brendan, along with co-producer Shin-Ijusha Miho Yamamoto, is working on a short film called “Henry’s Glasses” which is based loosely on his family history, primarily grandfather, Imataro “Sam” Uegama who fought for Canada in World War One, his dad, Walter’s family internment experience at Greenwood, B.C. and Uegama’s artistic interpretation of these events. Brendan, 29, discovered a love for photography while a skateboarding high school student …

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