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.

Actions – 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.

Committee Members

Fourth generation Chinese Japanese Canadian, Kevin Takahide Lee descends from a family who experienced the head tax and the Japanese Canadian Internment of WWII. Growing up in BC’s Lower Mainland he witnessed the challenges his family and immigrants faced regarding accessibility to services and preservation of their culture. This led him to work in the performing arts and advocacy. He is a seasoned performer with the Surrey ReEnactors and has performed with Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre, Carousel Theatre, Vancouver Opera and various TV shows. For the past decade he has taught music at City of Burnaby recreation facilities. As a firm believer that the arts must be interwoven with social needs he created and directed the Newcomers’ Choir as a way to bridge divides between immigrants and established Canadians. He has participated in panels and conferences in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto and Ottawa concerning Truth and Reconciliation, disability and youth, as well as exhibited at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.

Currently, Kevin is working as a samurai for film, has received multiple grants to study shamisen and the Japanese language and is preparing to tour “Hold Theses Truths,” a play about the life of activist and Medal of Freedom recipient Dr. Gordon Hirabayshi, through the University of Alberta.

For the past eight years, he has been a member of the Powell Street Festival Programming Committee. When not working or playing music Kevin enjoys going for long walks, hitting the gym and re-searching the vastness that is Canadian history.

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.

Mike Shin’Ichi Hillman is a second generation Japanese originally from Hamilton, Ontario. Though, since moving West almost a decade ago, Vancouver is now his home. Working at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in local technical television news production, Mike embraces community and heritage as being the pillars which bring people together. Since his daughter was born, Mike has strived to engage more in the Japanese Canadian community so that she may learn, understand and connect more with her ancestral heritage.

Jason Sakaki is a fourth generation Japanese-Canadian who works as an actor in Film, Television and Theatre. Born and raised in Richmond BC, Jason has been seen across almost every major stage in the province. He has appeared in roles on Netflix, Disney+, CW, Warner Bros, GAC Family, Paramount+ and AMC.

Naomi Aris Horii (they/she/her) is a sansei mixed heritage Japanese Canadian. Born and raised in Vancouver/Vancouver Island, Naomi has been coming to the Powell Street Festival since being a young pup. As the years rolled by, Naomi has been a PSF volunteer in various capacities, worked on the admin team, as well as collaborated with the programming committee in the past. A highlight to share was being a part of Spatial Poetics XVII with her bandmate to create soundscapes for the intricate and layered stories of Japanese Canadian maritime histories. She continues to explore sonic art through ’noizing,’ while completing a masters degree in clinical counselling. While truly honoured to be a small part of the PSF, Naomi is looking forward to contributing to the incredible collective work of everyone who helps this organization situate itself as part of the vibrant DTES community.

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

If you would like to join this committee, please email the Program Coordinator, Miki Konishi at miki[at]