For the past three years, a group of youth associated with the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) have been working to address the dearth of young people in leadership positions. A youth meeting and digital storytelling workshop at the 2012 NAJC Annual General Meeting in Kamloops, BC gave rise the following year to the first Japanese Canadian Young Leaders Conference which took place September 20-22, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario. This September, a second conference for Japanese Canadian youth will take place in Vancouver. Once again running concurrently with NAJC AGM, the Japanese Canadian Young Leaders Conference will take place from Friday, September 19 to Sunday, September 21. In the words of conference coordinator Lisa Schoenhofer, “The conference will educate, inspire, and connect youth with powerful ideas that can help motivate you and your community. Great speakers, interactive discussions, networking, and facilitated workshops will ensure you make new connections and energize your inner leader!”
Lisa Harumi Schoenhofer was born in Tokyo Japan and raised in Ottawa, Canada where she currently resides. The twenty-something has been involved with the Japanese Canadian Community in Ottawa since her arrival in Canada at the age of 2 1/2, and has formally been involved as a board member since 2005. She currently sits on the executive board of the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) and is the lead for the Young Leaders Conference. As a self proclaimed foodie, Lisa is always seeking new food trucks, mystery meats, and various ethnic foods (don’t ask her if she wants to try a bite of your food, because she might end up devouring the whole thing). Some of her favourite Japanese foods include umeboshi ochazuke, matcha ice cream, and barbecued aji fish. When she is not eating or traveling, she is coordinating marketing activities for a medical company that manufactures cancer therapy machines.
Nisei. Japanese Canadian. Okinawan roots. Métis-Cree. German/Ukranian. Vancouver hometown. Social Justice. Settler. Aboriginal. Poet. Planner. Powell St. Festival Society (PSFS) Director. PSFS Advocacy Committee. BA Philosophy. MA Planning. Daniel Akihiro Iwama.
Tomoko McGaughey is a yonsei (fourth generation) Japanese Canadian from Vancouver, British Columbia. Tomoko started her work with the Japanese Canadian community as a summer student with the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association in 2011. Today she continues her work in the Japanese community as an executive of Simon Fraser Universities Japanese Network, and as a committee member of the Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association: Human Rights Committee. Outside of the Japanese community Tomoko is a 3rd year undergraduate student of Simon Fraser Universities Health Sciences (B.Sc.) Program, focusing on Life Sciences.
Lisa Kiyomi Uyeda (MAS, H.Bsc) is a yonsei (fourth generation) Japanese Canadian from Toronto, Ontario. While in Toronto, Lisa worked as the coordinator for the Japanese Canadian Legacy Project: Sedai, and captured over 400 hours of recorded oral histories. Lisa has been and continues to be dedicated to the growth of the National Japanese Canadian community through participation in such committees as the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre: Heritage Committee and the Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association: Human Rights Committee. Her commitment to cultural education is demonstrated through her public outreach, articles, presentations, and media interviews. Recognized for her contributions to the Japanese Canadian community, Lisa was nominated and selected as the Toronto representative for the Japanese Canadian Leadership Program through the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Her professional interests include community archives, digital media management, records management, cultural education, and Japanese Canadian history. She currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Leanne Kiyomi Murao is a yonsei (fourth generation) Japanese Canadian currently residing in Steveston, British Columbia. Leanne has always held an interest in her Japanese heritage and studied the history and culture of Japan during her years at UBC. She currently holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Asian Area Studies. In her spare time Leanne practices the Japanese marital art of kendo and holds the rank of 2dan (second degree black belt). She also performs Japanese traditional dance with the Tatsumi Ryu Dance Society. Presently, Leanne works as Assistant Manager at Blenz Canadian Coffee Company and enjoys making new drinks and crazy latte art for her customers. Hobbies include watching anime, reading novels and manga, roller blading and being an avid Game of Thrones fan.
Kenji Michael Aja Ishida is a hapa yonsei (fourth generation) Japanese Canadian of Eurasian and Indigenous Hawaiian descent who was born in California and grew up in Vancouver British Columbia. As a child Kenji played with Chibi Taiko for three years and regularly performed at Powell Street Festival as well as other community events. Kenji is a manager at Havana restaurant, a popular hangout in the commercial drive community.
Chika (知加) Buston is a ‘hapa’ of Japanese and Euro-Canadian heritage raised in Burnaby BC, where she currently works as a library/administrative employee. She began her involvement in the JC community as a musician for Tonari Gumi’s Coffee House events, and joined the executive board of the GVJCCA this year with an interest in human rights activism, cultural development strategies, and Redress history. Some of her favorite things include reading, hiking, and “lawn-lounging” with family and friends every August at the Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival.
Alex Murata is a younsei, a lover of Japanese food, and a native Vancouverite. Alex studied Communications at the University of Ottawa and is currently attending the University of British Columbia in pursuit of a second degree in Psychology. A lover of sport and all things outdoors, Alex enjoys working with and engaging youth in any capacity involving recreation.
Angela May Kruger is a hapa gosei (fifth generation) Japanese-Canadian of Eurasian descent. She grew up at her grandparents’ house in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she developed strong ties to her Japanese and hapa roots (her grandfather, Ian Belcher, was also hapa). She recently graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Political Science. Since graduating, Angela has moved back to the mainland and become involved with the Asian Canadian community, helping to organise the Hapa-palooza Festival and editing away at Ricepaper Magazine. In her spare time, Angela reads, writes, draws, and paints. She is passionate about creativity and social justice, and believes that the one can empower the other.
Seara Yoshida was born and raised in Nagoya, Japan. Her strong involvement in the local community as well as her multicultural educational background encouraged her to move to Vancouver, BC in 2009 to pursue her Political Science degree at the University of British Columbia. Seara has been involved as a Coordinator at the Powell Street Festival since 2012. She hopes the JCYLC will be inspiring and stimulating for all participants from various backgrounds. Currently, Seara is looking forward to this year’s Powell Street Festival on August 1-3, where she will be stuffing herself with some delicious Japanese food.
Rachael Nakamura is a yonsei (forth generation) Japanese Canadian from Vancouver, BC. As the never ending student, she holds a bachelors degree in communications and cultural studies from Simon Fraser University, is completing a post-baccleareate diploma in art history at the University of British Columbia, and plans on pursing graduate studies. Faced with aging grandparents and a fragmented family history, Rachael was pleased to join the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre this summer their museum assistant where she could both preserve and promote the history while also uncovering what it means to be a part of the contemporary Japanese Canadian community. Outside of the classroom, library, and museum, Rachael becomes the quintessential Vancouverite spending lots of time upside down in yoga, pretending she likes to drink kale, and eating her weight in delicious seafood.
Hikari Rachmat is half Japanese and half Indonesian. He was born and raised in Vancouver, BC, and is graduating high school this year. He has been attending the Vancouver Japanese Language School since he was three years old, and is currently the President of its Student Council. He visits Japan every year, in order to continue learning more about Japanese culture keeping up with his Japanese. He is proud of his Japanese heritage, and wants to raise awareness about the history of Japanese Canadians. He attends seminars and lectures about Japanese history in Vancouver. He holds many leadership positions in the community, as he plans events with various committees. He is looking forward to seeing the growth of the Japanese Canadian community and meeting more Japanese Canadian Youth.