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TomoeArts' Board - Biographies

Maiko Behr
Japanese Art Consultant and Translator
Maiko is a freelance translator and consultant specializing in Japanese art and traditional culture. After receiving her M.A. in classical Japanese literature and visual culture in the Department of Asian Studies at UBC, she spent several years as a curator at museums and private collections of Japanese art in the US, before moving back to Vancouver in 2001. She currently provides Japanese to English translation for some of the most prestigious art and historical museums in Japan and North America and is a frequent interpreter for Japanese cultural presentations in the Vancouver area. Maiko is also a certified instructor of Japanese tea ceremony in the Omotesenke tradition and offers introductory courses as well as private instruction in this traditional Japanese art form.

Ryan Caron
Theatre Director and Producer
Ryan Caron is a Vancouver-based theatre director, producer, and designer. His work focuses on pop-culture theatre, interactive and improvised theatre, and character movement and physicality drawing on mask traditions, Laban movement analysis, and Japanese dance. Ryan holds a BA in Psychology from the University of British Columbia, and is in his sixth year of study of Nihon Buyoh/Japanese Classical Dance with TomoeArts.

Michael Huenefeld
Operations manager, School of Trades, Technology and Design, Vancouver Community College.
Michael has a longstanding interest in Japanese culture and history, with a special focus on the Heian period and 20th Century Japanese politics. He has also studied Japanese language. In 2009-2010 he served on the Vancouver Mokuyokai Society's Board of Directors. In 2011, through the Mokuyokai, Michael made a public presentation comparing the Japanese and British monarchies. Michael has worked in government, finance, and higher education. He currently volunteers as a mentor for university students through Simon Fraser University's Mentors in Business program. He has also taught business courses as a visiting lecturer at SFU's Beedie School of Business. Michael is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the Canadian International Council's Vancouver Branch. In 2012-2015 he served on the Board of Directors of the Alliance Française de Vancouver. Michael is fluent in French and Spanish. He holds MBA (Finance) and MA (Political Science) degrees from SFU, and a BA (Honours) from UBC.

Gary J. Matson
Lawyer, Remedios and Company
Gary's interest in Japan began about 1968 when he attempted to read every English language book available on Zen Buddhism. In 1972, he graduated from UBC with a B.A. in Asian Studies. He spent the next four years teaching English in Tokyo. In 1976, Gary returned to Vancouver to begin graduate studies in Modern Japanese Literature at UBC. A Mombusho Scholarship enabled him to do research studies at Hiroshima University from 1978 to 1980. Since his return to Vancouver in 1980, he has obtained an M.A. in Modern Japanese Literature and a law degree from UBC. Gary has been practicing law in Vancouver since 1986. Most of his clients are Japanese and since becoming a lawyer, he has been actively involved in local clubs and associations which have a Japan connection. He is legal counsel for the Consulate General of Japan in Vancouver and Kiyukai Vancouver Japanese Business Association. Gary is past president of the Japanese Canadian Citizens' Association of Greater Vancouver, the Japan-Canada Chamber of Commerce, Tonari Gumi Japanese Community Volunteers Association, and the Vancouver Mokuyokai Society.

Keiko Minato
Food and Beverage Service, Empire Landmark Hotel
Keiko was introduced to TomoeArts by a friend and has attended events and meetings over the past years. She was amazed and happy to see a group trying to extend the knowledge of Japanese culture here in Vancouver. She appreciated the work of TomoeArts and joined the board in order to help support the company's activities. Keiko has been a volunteer for the BCSPCA and the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House, where she has worked with seniors, children and differently-abled communities. She appreciates being able to be part of the TomoeArts' Board of Directors and will do her best to help make upcoming activities a success

Julia Poissant
Credit Administrator, Kuehne + Nagel Services Ltd.


Edward Takayanagi
Lawyer, Coast Mental Health
Originally from Alberta, Edward attended university in Japan on the Monbusho Scholarship and lived in Kyoto for 4 years studying archaeology. He moved to Vancouver upon returning to Canada and attended Law School at UBC. After working for a Japanese plastics company for a number of years and practicing with a full-service firm in Vancouver he now manages the Trust Program at Coast Mental Health. Edward is also the vice president of the Powell Street Festival Society board, a past-president of the Vancouver Mokuyokai Society and is heavily involved in the community.