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.

Samantha Marsh (she/her) is a mixed-race yonsei cultural worker and curator. She is passionate about making art and culture engaging, relevant, and accessible for underrepresented communities. After completing her BA in Anthropology from the University of British Columbia, she went on to complete an Msc in Museum Studies from the University of Glasgow where she specialised in creating greater community representation in festivals, heritage sites, and museums. Samantha has worked with the Powell Street Festival Society since 2020 as Program Coordinator.

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.

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