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

community en ja es pt

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 swirling hellish waters …

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Canadian Nikkei Artist

Miya Turnbull: The Face Behind the Mask - Part 2

Read Part 1 >> If you were to design a mask for yourself for these times, what might it look like? My favourite recent mask that has come out of the pandemic is a “Woven” mask. I cut up two self-portrait masks and wove the pieces together. Because they don’t fit exactly together, there are pieces of extra eyes and lips which gives a “glitchy” look to it. The interlaced pieces can be seen in terms of mixed race identity or different aspects of our persona woven together. The best part about this mask is that it falls apart when I wear it which I found ti…

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Canadian Nikkei Artist

Miya Turnbull: The Face Behind the Mask - Part 1

“The artist is meant to put the objects of this world together in such a way that through them you will experience that light, that radiance which is the light of our consciousness and which all things both hide and, when properly looked upon, reveal.” —Teacher, translator and author, from The Hero With A Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)   By now, we all understand what it is to be the face behind the mask, don’t we? Reflecting on this and on doing some research about masks, one other quote really stood out for me. It is from Quebec writer a…

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identity en

Hey, Did You Call Me a Nikkei?! - Part 2

Read Part 1 >> Vancouver Speaks... Sansei Howard Shimokura of Vancouver, 82, says: “I use both terms but never interchangeably. They are not equivalent. In fact I think we in Canada often use Nikkei inappropriately as if it means Japanese Canadian (JC). For example, Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre (NNMCC) is a very inappropriate use. It should be JCNMCC. I have often felt embarrassed to have to explain that it is a museum dedicated to JC history and culture. Also, although its public use is growing, Nikkei is often misused and remains an unknown term in the general po…

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Hey, Did You Call Me a Nikkei?! - Part 1

When I got a “No comment,” response from Karah Goshinmon Foster, Executive Director, Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre (NNMCC), speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors when asked to explain the rationale for changing the name from Japanese Canadian Museum to Nikkei National Museum, it prompted me to dig deeper into the significance of how we name ourselves. The responses were quite revealing, prompting me to write the following: Dear NNMCC Board of Directors, Getting this response to a fair question from arguably our most important Japanese Canadian institution w…

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