Japanese Canadian Youth Cohort

volunteer 2014

2023 applications are now closed.

Powell Street Festival Society is excited to accept applications for the 2023 Japanese Canadian Youth Cohort!

Congratulations to our 2022 Cohort!

My name is Rani Kobayashi, and I am a 22-year-old, half-Indian, half-Japanese Yonsei (fourth generation) born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. My inspiration for applying to the 2022 Japanese Canadian Youth Cohort stems from my family’s strong history of involvement in the Japanese Canadian community. I am the proud granddaughter of a previous Toronto NAJC President, Bill Kobayashi, and niece of the current President, Lynn Kobayashi. I graduated from McMaster University’s Life Sciences program in 2021 – and have since been fostering my passions for research and healthcare. I am currently working at the Kensington Vision and Research Centre and am involved in two formal research projects. My goal is to attend medical school and be a leader in the healthcare industry. 

What’s your favourite food? 

Udon Noodle Soup! 

Hi there! My name is Tamiko Chase Kavanagh, and I am a mixed-race Yonsei born and raised in Winnipeg, MB; Treaty 1 Territory. I am a graphic designer currently working as an after-school visual art instructor with local not-for-profit Graffiti Art Programming.  

As a queer Japanese-Canadian artist, the intersections of race, culture, and gender play a crucial role in my practice. Professionally, I have worked with local arts organizations and initiatives to create visual identities, logos, illustrations and large-scale murals. Personally, I enjoy working with printmaking, animation, and digital illustration! 

I am passionate about engaging with my community and encouraging youth to foster their creativity. I also love to travel, watch movies and cartoons, and sing karaoke with my pals! 

What’s your favourite food? 

Fresh Melon Pan 

anaïs peterson (no pronouns) is a climate justice organizer, mixed blessing, prose poet, and big fan of sunsets. anaïs has a ba in english writing and urban studies and now works as a petrochemicals campaigner at earthworks and the digital content coordinator at off menu press. anaïs lives on the occupied land of the Osage, Hopewell, Monongahela, Lenape, and Shawnee peoples, at the headwaters of the Ohio river (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). anaïs tweets from @anais_pgh. 

What’s your favourite food? 

any dessert 🙂 

What is the Japanese Canadian (JC) Youth Cohort? 

The JC Youth Cohort is a free summer program for young Japanese Canadians, 19-29 years old, raised outside of British Columbia. Do you have an interest in cultural heritage and community building through live events? This program will provide training and education in event production, culture, history, interpersonal communication skills development, networking with cultural event producers and artists, inter-generational relationship building and hands-on tasks to create an embodied experience of Japanese Canadian identity as vibrant and vital. Three applicants will be accepted each year.


  • Build hands-on skills in live cultural events production 
  • Educational and personal growth through Cultural Workers Training  
  • Networking with Japanese Canadians across the country 
  • Tangible connection for people outside of the province to connect with Japanese Candian history and their furusato (hometown) 
  • Mentorship through engagement with elders and non-profit professionals 
  • Diverse volunteering experience with over 200 Festival volunteers 

Eligibility and Requirements 

  • We are accepting applicants from Japanese Canadians 19-29 years old, raised outside of British Columbia.  
  • As a portion of the program will be remote and online, a stable internet connection and a device with a video camera and microphone are necessary.  
  • You must be available to travel for the in-person Production Residency, Sunday, July 30 to Wednesday, August 9, spanning the Powell Street Festival weekend (August 5 & 6, 2023). Proof of full vaccination and COVID-19 testing may be required before travel, depending on Coastal Health Orders. Travel, accommodations, and a per diem will be covered.  
  • Travel, accommodation, and per diem costs will be covered for travel within Canada. International travelers must cover their costs to get within Canada – we will cover the final leg of travel to Vancouver.
  • Manual labour will be required over the production week, which includes lifting heavy objects and standing and walking for long periods. Please let us know in your application if these are barriers to your participation.  
  • A Criminal Record Check will be needed as you will be working with vulnerable populations. 


Expect this to be a three-hour weekly commitment up until the in-person component, Sunday, July 30 to Wednesday, August 9, 2023.   

  • May: online meetings begin (i.e. there are a series of videos to watch, online discussions)    
  • June: online training continues   
  • July: online training continues    
  • Sunday, July 30 to Wednesday, August 9: Travel to Vancouver for the Production Residency   
  • August/September: Online debrief and Post Program Survey   
  • Online meeting times will be determined based on accepted applicants’ availability.

Application Deadline: Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 11:59pm PST

Application Process: You can apply through our online form, or you are free to submit a video, audio, or written application answering our questions located in the PDF below. 

Please email your application to the Program Coordinator ( miki [@] powellstreetfestival.com ) and include “JC Youth Cohort 2023” in the subject line. No phone calls, please. Powell Street Festival Society thanks all applicants in advance for their interest. All applicants will be contacted in early AprilQuestions or need support with your application? Email: miki [@] powellstreetfestival.com

Program News

About Powell Street Festival Society 

The Powell Street Festival Society’s (PSFS) mission is to celebrate Japanese Canadian art and culture to connect communities. The main activity is producing the Powell Street Festival (PSF), an annual celebration of Japanese Canadian arts, music and culture in Vancouver’s historic Japanese Canadian neighbourhood, Paueru Gai in the Downtown Eastside (DTES). With the support of over 250 volunteers, this two-day free event is the largest of its kind in Canada and the longest running festival in Metro Vancouver, entering its 46th year. PSFS is a non-profit professional arts presenter that is progressive, diverse, contemporary, and compelling.