Programming Committee

Mandate: To research and identify artists, curators, art forms, and art organizations that give voice to the Japanese Canadian community and/or represent Japanese heritage.


In consultation with the Program Coordinator:

  • Research, review and recommend long-term program plans.
  • Participate in recommendation process for annual Festival theme and assists in selection of invited Festival performers and artists.
  • Participate in the selection and evaluation process for Festival applicants (professional and community artists).
  • Present ideas for possible programming.
  • Program, curate or coordinate special projects (optional).
  • Liaise with local organizations in order to identify and implement specific programs (ie. Sponsor Japanese film in other film festivals, co-present a Japanese artist, etc.) and assist in the development of co-operative events and programs
  • Identify specific social issues in contemporary art practice.

If you would like to join this committee, please email the Program Coordinator- Samantha Marsh: samantha [at]

Current Members

Kevin Takahide Lee

Mike Okada

Emily Wu

Samantha Marsh, staff

Emiko Morita, staff

Members’ Bios

Tenor Kevin Takahide Lee has a Bachelor’s of Music degree in Opera Performance from the University of British Columbia and a Master’s of Music in Voice Performance from The University of Western Ontario. Currently, Kevin’s musical roles include Vancouver Opera chorus, choir directing, teaching and music recreation for senior homes and the city of Burnaby. This past year Kevin had the honour of portraying Japanese Canadian settler, soldier and internee Zennosuke Inouye. In addition, Kevin participated as a Japanese Canadian panellist with the Inspirit panel, a part of Reconciliation week. Finally, Kevin is directing the New Comers choir which is based out of the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre. To follow Kevin you can go to

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.

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.

Samantha Marsh is a hapa-yonsei who has worked in the culture and heritage sector for over 6 years. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Samantha first came to Vancouver to complete her BA in Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Since then, she has fallen in love with the land, the people, and all that Vancouver has to offer. Samantha completed her Msc in Museum Studies at the University of Glasgow where she focused on cultural revitalisation of postindustrial cities through the utilisation of festivals, heritage sites, and museums. She is passionate about making art and culture engaging, relevant, and accessible for underrepresented communities. 

Emiko Morita became the Executive Director of Powell Street Festival in Vancouver 25 years after she first worked as an intern for the festival in 1990. In between, she was Marketing Director at Douglas & McIntyre Publishers, Export and Special Sales Manager at Raincoast Books and Marketing Manager at Polestar Press. She co-founded the Access Copyright Foundation and served as a board member there as well as the Association of Book Publishers of BC, Asian Canadian Writers Workshop and Modern Baroque Opera Society.