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https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/series/canadian-nikkei/

Canadian Nikkei Series


March 13, 2014 - July 4, 2024

The inspiration for this new Canadian Nikkei interview series is the observance that the gulf between the pre-WW2 Japanese Canadian community and the Shin Ijusha one (post-WW2) has grown tremendously. 

Being “Nikkei” no longer means that one is only of Japanese descent anymore. It is far more likely that Nikkei today are of mixed cultural heritage with names like O’Mara or Hope, can’t speak Japanese and have varying degrees of knowledge about Japan.

It is therefore the aim of this series to pose ideas, challenge some and to engage with other like-minded Discover Nikkei followers in a meaningful discussion that will help us to better understand ourselves.

Canadian Nikkei will introduce you to many Nikkei who I have had the good fortune to come into contact with over the past 20 years here and in Japan. 

Having a common identity is what united the Issei, the first Japanese to arrive in Canada, more than 100 years ago. Even in 2014, it is the remnants of that noble community that is what still binds our community today.

Ultimately, it is the goal of this series to begin a larger online conversation that will help to inform the larger global community about who we are in 2014 and where we might be heading to in the future.


Stories from this series

Thumbnail for Art Miki Talks About New Memoir  <em>Gaman</em>—Part 2
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Art Miki Talks About New Memoir Gaman—Part 2

July 4, 2024 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Read Part 1 >> Ibuki: How should our historical experience as Japanese Canadians be remembered by the broader Asian Canadian community? Miki: I would like to have the broader Canadian community remember how a small minority community was able persevere through the setbacks they encountered from the government officials and some Canadians to eventually overcome those obstacles in achieving a just and meaningful redress settlement from the Canadian government. The Japanese Canadian redress settlement of September 22, 1988 was to become …

Thumbnail for Art Miki Talks About New Memoir <em>Gaman</em>—Part 1
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Art Miki Talks About New Memoir Gaman—Part 1

July 3, 2024 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

As I flip through the pages of Justice In Our Time (Talonbooks, 1991) by Roy Miki and Cassandra Kobayashi, I realize just how out of touch with the Japanese Canadian community I was in 1988. Concurrently, as I read through Art Miki’s new memoir, Gaman: Persistence: Japanese Canadians’ Journey to Justice  (Talonbooks, 2023), I’m reminded of his passion for justice and tenacity. Whenever I have had the good fortune to meet Art, I am always taken aback by his grace …

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 …

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Author in This Series

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

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