Our Team

The Powell Street Festival Society would not be possible without the support of our generous and committed volunteers, who make up the Board of Directors, several committees, and hundreds of volunteer positions during Festival weekend. Staff work collaboratively with volunteers throughout the year, to ensure programming and events are inclusive and representative of the communities we serve.

Board of Directors

Our active and dedicated volunteer Board of Directors sit on four volunteer committees: Advocacy and Outreach, Programming, Fundraising, and Festival (seasonal). Our directors bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Society and share a love of Japanese Canadian art and culture.

Edward Takayanagi is a child of post-war immigrants, born and raised in Alberta. He attended Kyoto University on the Monbusho Scholarship and lived in Japan for 5 years. After graduation he returned to Canada and moved to Vancouver to attend Law School at the University of British Columbia. He has worked for a Japanese multi-national company, in private practice, for non-profit organizations and government agencies. He has been appointed as a member of the Human Rights Tribunal in 2022.

Carly Yoshida is the breaking news producer for CTV Vancouver and has been working in the broadcast industry for more than four years. She has Japanese-Canadian heritage, and her family originally hailed from B.C. before settling in Toronto after the Second World War. Although she grew up in Toronto, she has many fond memories of visiting family on the west coast and volunteering at the Powell Street Festival. Carly recently moved to Vancouver with her husband. She is looking forward to her first year as a board member and is excited to be part of an organization that celebrates Japanese-Canadian culture in Vancouver.

Kyle Yakashiro grew up in Abbotsford, BC. Attended the University of British Columbia earning a BA with a double major in math and economics. Previously he worked in marketing for a Toyota dealership. Today he works in financial services as an Account Manager at Vancity Savings Credit Union.

Russell Chiong is a law student at the University of Victoria. Born and raised in Vancouver, Russell has been attending the Powell Street Festival for as long as he can remember, and looks forward to contributing this year as a board member.

Nakama Volunteers

Nakama Volunteers play a large role in our outreach, events, and governance. They bring a range of skills and expertise to the committee. Please contact emiko [at] powellstreetfestival.com if you are interested in joining any of these committees.

Programming Committee researches and identifies artists and arts organizations that give voice to the Japanese Canadian community. Learn more ›

Advocacy and Outreach Committee promotes the profile of the organization to the cultural, social, political and mainstream communities; and participates in Downtown Eastside community-building efforts. Learn more ›

Fundraising Committee solicits and secures financial support. Learn more ›

Festival Committee (seasonal) coordinates the logistics and production of the Festival.

Staff

Emiko Morita is a third-generation mixed-heritage Japanese Canadian who has been active in Vancouver’s cultural scene for over 30 years. Her earliest grassroots experiences include the Powell Street Festival and the Chinese Cultural Centre’s art event Racy Sexy. She has worked in the publishing industry with some of Canada’s leading writers and has served on the boards of the Asian Canadian Writers Workshop, Modern Baroque Opera, Access Copyright and the Association of Book Publishers of BC. Morita joined Powell Street Festival Society as Executive Director in 2015, is a member of the BC Arts Council’s Equity Advisory Network and a founding member of the DTES Community Land Trust Society.

Miki Konishi (he/him) is a mixed, nisei Japanese-American who grew up in the suburbs of Washington D.C. From young age, he has been involved in the Japanese community through cultural and educational practices such as kendo and Japanese Saturday school. He became more involved in social justice advocacy beginning in college, where he co-founded MULTI, a student organization for multiracial and multiethnic students, while completing his BA in Critical Theory and Social Justice at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. After college, Miki moved to Miyazaki prefecture in Japan to teach English to elementary and junior high school students for two years. Following his time in Japan, he moved to Washington state where he worked as an Admission Officer for Whitman College and remotely as an Assistant Teacher for the Japanese Saturday school he attended as a kid. Miki is excited to serve the Downtown Eastside community and contribute to the important work of Powell Street Festival Society

Kathy Shimizu is a sansei, graphic and web designer, artist, and community organizer. She has worked for the Powell Street Festival Society in various roles since 1991, is a co-founder, collective member, and administrator of WePress, serves on the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association Human Rights Committee, and is a member of Sawagi Taiko. She works to use the importance of history, and the power and joy of arts and culture, to build community, fight for social justice and change, and help create space for the voices of communities and individuals marginalized by our existing systems.

Sena Cleave is an artist, writer, and cultural worker born in unceded Snaw’naw’as and Snuneymuxw territories on Vancouver Island. At Powell Street Festival Society, they coordinate community outreach and assist with curating the upcoming 50th anniversary celebrations. With a BFA in visual art and creative writing, Cleave looks to Japanese diasporic practices to model reciprocity in the arts, exploring care and exchange through sculpture, photographic experiments, and writing. Cleave is one half of a duo operating The Couch, a mobile art space consisting of a purpose-built couch and coffee table. On its furniture, The Couch hosts exhibitions addressing support and precarity in the arts. Cleave has worked for the Contemporary Art Gallery, artist Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill, and The Only Animal Theatre.

Megumi Yamaguchi is a Japanese immigrant who grew up in Chiba, Japan. Since childhood, she has been passionate about Japanese traditional arts, including calligraphy, the tea ceremony, and kimono. With a background as a Visual Designer specialising in User Experience Design, she has dedicated herself to assisting small businesses in building their online presence. She is thrilled to be working for the Powell Street Festival Society and the surrounding neighborhood communities.

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