Over sushi and beer at a local North York restaurant, the businessman of Japanese descent passionately described his family’s heritage and how they laid down roots in Stevenson, a fishing village close to Vancouver.
His father’s ambitions to pursue his studies were quickly put to an end when the Allies declared war with Japan in 1941. Like thousands of other Japanese-Canadians, Marty’s father Coby Kobayashi was sent to an internment camp. He lived in a rural shack in Manitoba for several years. His determination and ingenuity led him to a job working as a clerk in a Toronto radio store, an entrepreneur, a real estate developer and finally as the head of an investment firm. Just like his father, Marty exudes a remarkable amount of kindness and friendliness. The offices of the financial and investment advisory firm he manages are located in the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC) complex, which was established by his father and other compatriots. Born in 1955 to a family of three children, Marty earned a degree in computer science from Ryerson College in 1976. Until he entered the financial field in 1989, he held several positions at Xerox. His new life motivated him to assume the qualities of a winner, being: motived, ambitious, passionate and a devoted to his clients. The skills he acquired were certainly responsible for securing his role as president of the largest Japanese cultural centre outside of Japan; a position he has held for over 12 years.
Having experienced bullying as a child, Marty recognizes that some groups in Canada are now facing discrimination, which is unacceptable. The very cornerstones of contemporary Canadian society, immigrants contribute to building this nation through their talent, know-how, cultures and efforts in regional development. Marty describes himself as a perfectionist, who as a young boy was forced to learn piano and Japanese by his mother Yone. He does, however, admit to being happy he escaped the strict discipline many children face in Japan. His numerous trips to the Land of the Rising Sun allowed him to observe the common features of this unique society, where meticulousness, efficiency, tenacity, and respect for authority enabled the Japanese people to achieve great things. Entirely devoted to the JCCC mission, Marty has always demonstrated extraordinary discipline, an excellent sense of organization and incredible commitment. He did reveal that he lets loose during trips to his Muskoka-area cottage with his daughter Kristin and son Kevin.
In January 2016, Marty received the Order of the Rising Sun, the highest distinction awarded to a civilian by the Japanese Government. His dedication to and achievements in promoting Japanese culture across Canada were specially recognized by the Consul General of Japan in Toronto, who described Marty as reliable, responsible and humble.