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Japan Journal


Jan. 1, 2013 - Jan. 31, 2014

A collection of Norm Ibuki's writings from 1995 to 2004 about his experiences while living in Sendai, Japan. Originally published in the Nikkei Voice (Toronto) newspaper.


Stories from this series

Thumbnail for Growing up Korean in Japan - Part 2 of 2
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Growing up Korean in Japan - Part 2 of 2

Jan. 31, 2014 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Read part 1 >>Hearing Joomi’s story reminded me of my own restless feelings growing up yearning to melt into the Canadian mainstream, to be embarrassed to tell people my Japanese middle name, Masaji, to somehow erase the reasons for the laughing finger pointing and vicious name calling. There wasn’t anything glorious about growing up Nikkei in Canada either. Our similar immigrant’s stories of initial hardship, hard work, being scorned, made prisoners, persevering, keeping their dreams in sight, and, one or …

Thumbnail for Growing up Korean in Japan - Part 1 of 2
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Growing up Korean in Japan - Part 1 of 2

Jan. 30, 2014 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 1999. Since it was written, the situation of Koreans in Japan has changed, but since many issues persist today, we thought this was still important to share. From time to time the topic of xenophobia in Japan comes up in my higher level English class. The other week, I had one such class with a group that included an eye doctor, two Ph.D. students, and one university professor. At the beginning of …

Thumbnail for No More Bombs: The Legacy of Hiroshima and the A-Bomb - Part 3 of 3
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No More Bombs: The Legacy of Hiroshima and the A-Bomb - Part 3 of 3

Aug. 14, 2013 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Read Part 2 >> There’s a model of the city before the bomb, a bustling metropolis of about 350,000 with a good reputation for higher education, and a military base. While the pictures of the physical damage to Hiroshima are devastating, I’ve seen similar ones of the aftermath of the bombings of Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Fukuoka, and Sendai that show a similar scale of physical destruction as unimaginable as it seems today. In March 1945, Tokyo was fire bombed for …

Thumbnail for No More Bombs: The Legacy of Hiroshima and the A-Bomb - Part 2 of 3
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No More Bombs: The Legacy of Hiroshima and the A-Bomb - Part 2 of 3

Aug. 8, 2013 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Read Part 1 >> August 5th, Hiroshima I have recently been looking for some answers about how to live “correctly”—meaning, I suppose, with personal integrity and respect for all people and nature. I’ve read quite a bit along these lines: Buddhism, Shintoism, Hinduism, the Koran, and Bahai faith and even the pleasure of talking occasionally with a Jehovah Witness fellow who is always kind enough to drop off free copies of the “Watch Tower” for me. I am a product …

Thumbnail for No More Bombs: The Legacy of Hiroshima and the A-Bomb - Part 1 of 3
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No More Bombs: The Legacy of Hiroshima and the A-Bomb - Part 1 of 3

Aug. 2, 2013 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

I remember the moment when the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima finally hit me. I was interviewing Mrs. Hoshino of New Denver, B.C. some time in the early ‘90s. She was recalling the moment. She and her family were interned at the Harris Ranch, in their home, sitting by the radio on the kitchen table. The way she explained hearing the first reports of the A-Bomb on August 6, 1945. What she said exactly wasn’t what I remember. …

Thumbnail for Talking With A “Returnee” - Part 2 of 2
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Talking With A “Returnee” - Part 2 of 2

July 31, 2013 • Norm Masaji Ibuki

Read Part 1 >> (Continuation of Mrs. Kamata’s story) I guess I longed for Canada…Naturally, as I did in Canada, I wore my Japonica (rusty orange) coloured veiled hat, a fur coat, and high heels when I went outside. People would look back and stare as though I were doing something wrong! In those times the women wore hyojyun fuku as standard clothing, somewhat like the upper half of a kimono with tight sleeves and baggy pants (monpe), tight at the ankles …

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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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