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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 40 Years of Toronto Taiko with Kiyoshi Nagata — Part 2
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Canadian Nikkei Artist
40 Years of Toronto Taiko with Kiyoshi Nagata — Part 2

Jan. 12, 2023 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

  Read Part 1 >> Another career highlight came in 2005 when the group had two tours in Italy and one across the US, which evoked a feeling that ‘we made it.’ The reception they received was overwhelming: “The people welcomed us with open arms and the hospitality we received was incredible. We played in many old opera houses where the stages are slanted downwards which proved a very big challenge for us as all our drums are on wheeled …

Thumbnail for 40 Years of Toronto Taiko with Kiyoshi Nagata — Part 1
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Canadian Nikkei Artist
40 Years of Toronto Taiko with Kiyoshi Nagata — Part 1

Jan. 11, 2023 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

“I continue to practice and perform taiko because I feel it is a lifelong commitment as well as a way of living for me. Taiko has taught me many things about discipline, perseverance, and aiming to be the best person you can be as a performer but also as a human being. I am constantly learning which fuels my desire to keep on improving and continuing on this lifelong journey.” — Taiko master Kiyoshi Nagata Toronto’s Nagata Shachu founded by …

Thumbnail for The Artistry of British Columbia’s Tsuneko Kokubo: <em>Of Light Itself</em>
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Canadian Nikkei Artist
The Artistry of British Columbia’s Tsuneko Kokubo: Of Light Itself

Oct. 14, 2022 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

“My true understanding of art began when I met Koko at the Vancouver School of Art so many years ago. By listening to what she had to say and watching her work, I learned that making art meant going beyond the obvious and searching for something more, and I’ve tried to stay on this path ever since. Amazingly, after all these years, her total dedication to dancing and to making beautiful art has remained undiminished, and has been an inspiration. …

Thumbnail for Japanese Canadians Remember Internment 80 Years After — Part 2
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Japanese Canadians Remember Internment 80 Years After — Part 2

Sept. 12, 2022 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Read Part 1 >> Masumi Izumi, Fulbright Scholar, 2004-2005; Professor, Faculty of Global and Regional Studies at Doshisha University (Kyoto, Japan) The courage of Japanese Canadians to break the silence about their World War II experiences of the uprooting forever changed the course of Canadian history. It revealed the ominous side of the Canadian past, which is filled with Anglo supremacy, racial violence, exclusion, and the denial that such a past is a part of Canada’s identity. The Redress movement …

Thumbnail for Japanese Canadians Remember Internment 80 Years After — Part 1
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Japanese Canadians Remember Internment 80 Years After — Part 1

Sept. 11, 2022 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Happy 80th Anniversary of the 1942 Internment? As I reflect on who to contact for this article about this auspicious anniversary, I think mostly about those who are gone: mom and dad, aunts and uncles, who were innocent kids back in 1942. My Ibuki grandparents who lost their Strawberry Hill farm. On a 2019 visit to that location, it pained me to see the Ibuki farm paved over at a busy Surrey intersection at Scott Road now occupied by BC …

Thumbnail for Ottawa artist Norman Takeuchi:  <em>Long Division</em> Exhibition
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Canadian Nikkei Artist
Ottawa artist Norman Takeuchi: Long Division Exhibition

Aug. 31, 2022 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

“Ever since we both attended the Vancouver School of Art back in the 1950s, I have always respected Norman. He is a creative, seriously dedicated, focused, hard-working and disciplined artist. His work, with many references to two cultures, is constantly changing and growing. It is wonderful that we are both still painting and showing our work in our mid-80s…. We were so young!” —Artist Tsuneko Kokubo (Silverton, BC) whose own Of Light Itself: RetroPERSPECTIVE is now showing at the Langham …

Thumbnail for A Nisei and Yonsei: The Power of Art & Isshoni - Part 2
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Canadian Nikkei Artist
A Nisei and Yonsei: The Power of Art & Isshoni - Part 2

Aug. 24, 2022 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Read Part 1 >> Life After Internment in Edmonton “At age 14, I had no ambitions but once I left the internment camp, I had the good fortune to live in the Misericordia Hospital, as did my sister. We were relief elevator operators for which the nuns provided us with room and board for working on weekends. We were enrolled into Garneau high school, which was across High Level Bridge, a 2 km walk or 10 minutes, by streetcar. Another …

Thumbnail for A Nisei and Yonsei: The Power of Art & Isshoni - Part 1
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Canadian Nikkei Artist
A Nisei and Yonsei: The Power of Art & Isshoni - Part 1

Aug. 23, 2022 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

The paintings of Dr. Henry Shimizu, retired Edmonton Nisei plastic surgeon, were presented in a show at the University of Victoria’s (UVic) Legacy Gallery entitled Isshoni: Dr. Henry Shimizu’s Paintings of New Denver Internment that brought together Nisei Dr. Shimizu, curators Yonsei Samantha Kuniko Marsh (Vancouver, BC), and Sansei Bryce Kanbara (Hamilton, ON). Well timed during this year, the 80th anniversary of the internment, one might wonder: How are we Japanese Canadians going to remember the internment and, importantly, how …

Thumbnail for Vancouver’s Tonari Gumi: Keeping Jun’s Magnificent Dream Alive - Part 4
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Vancouver’s Tonari Gumi: Keeping Jun’s Magnificent Dream Alive - Part 4

July 12, 2022 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Read Part 3 >> How might the future needs of the JC community be different from what they are today e.g., a Nisei senior versus a Yonsei senior? Ijusha? This is an interesting set of questions. While we are not yet discussing how we deal with Yonsei seniors, we are definitely discussing what the future holds for Sansei seniors. In order to usefully discuss these issues, it’s important to differentiate some of the characteristics of these different generations: Nisei: almost …

Thumbnail for Vancouver’s Tonari Gumi: Keeping Jun’s Magnificent Dream Alive - Part 3
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Vancouver’s Tonari Gumi: Keeping Jun’s Magnificent Dream Alive - Part 3

July 5, 2022 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Read Part 2 >> Who uses Tonari Gumi (TG)? What kind of services do you provide? The most frequent and loyal users of TG are Japanese-speaking seniors aged 75-plus. Although we do have some activities and programs that target English-speaking seniors, such as a Japanese conversation class and our craft club, most of our programs cater to Japanese speakers. In 2019, prior to the pandemic we started our Nikkei Social Club on Saturday afternoons where mostly English-speaking Nisei and Sansei …

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