The Powell Street Festival Society is run primarily by a group of committed volunteers comprising the board of directors, several committees, and hundreds of other volunteers during Festival weekend.
Our active and dedicated volunteer Board of Directors sit on four volunteer committees (Advocacy, Programming, Fundraising, Festival) along with other community members. Our directors bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Society and share a love of the arts, Japanese culture and food!
Originally from Alberta, Edward Takayanagi attended university in Japan on the Monbusho Scholarship and lived in Kyoto for 4 years studying archaeology. He moved to Vancouver upon returning to Canada and attended Law School at UBC. After working for a Japanese plastics company for a number of years and practicing law in Vancouver, he is currently working Coast Mental Health Foundation. Edward has also been the president of the Vancouver Mokuyokai Society, is on the board of the Tomoe Arts Society and volunteers frequently with other community organizations.
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.
Emily Wu is currently an Internal Coach and a Program Lead at University of British Columbia. Her current work involves developing, delivering, and managing innovative educational programs for adult professionals. As a first generation Taiwanese Canadian living and blending in multiple cultures, Emily finds stimulation in language, culture, and diversity. Emily has volunteered with Powell Street Festival since 2007. She loves the spirit of PSF, in particular connecting with community groups, celebrating arts and culture, and working with like-minded individuals that believe in the Society’s mission and values.
Shoko Kitano is a non-profit professional who currently works as a Program Lead at CNIB. Born and raised in Tokyo, she moved to Vancouver, B.C. in 2001. As an immigrant, a woman, and a person with visual impairment, she is passionate about community-based actions that bring about a positive change to the society. She was originally drawn to the festival for its amazing food, and after learning about the socially-minded mandate and sense of community that it fosters, she became interested in joining the board. She hopes to help more people come out to, volunteer at, and feel the warmth of the festival and its community.
Mike Okada works in the marketing industry, where he specializes in copywriting and brand consulting, and he is excited to be bringing his skills to continue building upon the successes of festivals past. Born and raised in BC, Mike is a fourth generation Japanese Canadian who has been coming to the Powell Street Festival since he was young. As a member of the board, he looks forward to working with an amazing team, getting back in touch with his roots, and helping the next generation make their own lasting memories of the festival in the years to come.
Kohei Yoshino is currently the Manager of Operations and Planning at BC Children’s Hospital. His expertise includes strategic planning, financial management, continuous business process improvement, people and culture management, and coaching and mentoring. He first participated in Powell Street Festival back in 2015 as a performer/singer-songwriter and since then he has been regularly performing at the Festival while being an active member of its Fundraising Committee. He holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from UBC, and is a Project Management Professional (PMP) as well as Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP). When he’s not working at the hospital, he performs as a singer-songwriter Ko-Ko (www.iammrkoko.com) and can be found busking on Granville Island on sunny weekends.
Angela May is a community activist, writer, and scholar. Her activism has changed over the years, originally more focussed on the Japanese Canadian community itself, and now more focused on the relationship between the Japanese Canadian and Downtown Eastside communities, particularly as they overlap in history, place, and politics. Her written work has been published across creative and academic publications, including Nikkei Images, The Volcano, and Canadian Literature, as well as emerge20, an anthology from Simon Fraser University’s The Writer’s Studio program, which Angela completed from 2019-2020. Angela also holds a BA in English (University of Victoria), an MA in Socio-Cultural Studies of Health (Queen’s University), and is currently completing her PhD in English at McMaster University under the supervision of Dr. Amber Dean. Alongside her doctoral studies, Angela is working on her next book project, a collection of linked short stories inspired by her master’s fieldwork in the Downtown Eastside.