Jeffrey Masuda – Principal Investigatorjeff


Jeffrey is Associate Professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies and Department of Geography at Queen’s University, and the founding Director of the Centre for Environmental Health Equity. Jeff is a human geographer trained in the sub-discipline of health geography and his research and teaching foci encompass environmental justice, urban health equity, community-based participatory research, human rights, knowledge translation, homelessness and housing, and Indigenous environmental health.


Sonia Bookman – Co-Principal Investigator (Link)


Audrey Kobayashi – Co-Investigator (Link)


Joyce Rock -Co-Investigator


Sherri Kajiwara – Co-Investigator, Nikkei National Museum


Aaron Franks – Postdoctoral Research Associate and Data Analyst (completed 2015)aaron


Aaron studied theatre at the University of Alberta and worked as a performer – from children’s theatre in school gyms to the Stratford Festival and all in between – for a decade.  Increasingly dissatisfied with mainstream theatre, he rebooted my interests and skills as an activist and researcher.  In 2006 Aaron returned to university, receiving degrees in Social Justice and Equity Studies (MA, Brock, 2008) and Human Geography (PhD, Glasgow, 2012).


Aaron began work with RJ in 2012, and have worked closely with our community partners, DTES residents, and our students and research staff since.  He has largely been responsible for organizing and analyzing interviews with DTES residents, communications with our partners and community advisors, all project administration and most recently working with our Right to Remain Community Fair Arts Team.





trevorTrevor James Wideman (MA, Geography; completed 2015)

(Re)assembling “Japantown”: A critical toponymy of planning and resistance in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (see Publications for Abstract and link to full thesis)


Jenna Drabble (MA, Geography; completed 2015)Jenna Drabble

The Right to Food and the Right to the City: An argument for ‘scaled up’ food activism in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (see Publications for Abstract and link to full thesis)


Scott McCulloch (MA Sociology; completed 2014)

Reimaging urban space: the festival as a (re)branding vehicle for inscribing Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside as Japantown. (see Publications for Abstract and link to full thesis)


Right to Remain Artist Team

Kathy Shimizu


Ali Lohan


Quin Martins


Andy Mori


Herb Varley


Project Partners


Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre


The Nikkei National Museum is proud to partner on this the exciting community-based research project.  Our mission is to preserve and promote Japanese Canadian history, arts and culture through vibrant programs and exhibits that connect generations and inspire diverse audiences. The Nikkei National Museum collects, preserves and makes accessible archives and artifacts related to Japanese Canadian heritage. Currently the collection includes more than 4000 photographs, 400 oral history recordings, over 50 metres of archival and textual materials, and over 100 artifacts.

The traditional Japantown in Vancouver has a rich history that is often forgotten with today’s political situation in the Downtown East Side. From the 1880s until 1942, Powell Street was a vibrant commercial and residential district for thousands of Japanese Canadians.The history of Japanese Canadians in the area from 1949 through the 1970s is less studied, yet it is significant to understanding the post-war history of the Nikkei community. This project will be an important means to remind people of the solidarity of the Japanese Canadian community and its relationship to the diverse communities to tie the past and present together.



Gallery Gachet


Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens Association


Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall



Potluck Café Society 


An award winning Social Enterprise, the mission of Potluck Café Society is to transform lives by creating jobs with training and life skills support and provide healthy food for people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES).  Potluck Café Society owns and operates Potluck Café & Catering at 30 West Hastings Street, sustaining jobs for neighborhood residents facing barriers and earning revenue to support its 5 community programs.  These include the DTES Kitchen Tables Project, Recipes for Success Project , Community Kitchens and Community Meal Programs.


Potluck is partnering with the “Revitalizing Japantown?” project because we see the fundamental connection between the Right to Food for the low-income community and the broader struggles for Human Rights which the DTES has faced for decades.  We also see this project as a fantastic space for further dialogue among the neighbourhood’s five founding communities, and we are proud that the Potluck Café has been able to play a key role in furthering that dialogue.



PACE (Providing Alternatives Counselling and Education Society) 


“By, with, and for sex workers”


PACE is a Sex Worker led and driven organization offering low-barrier programming, support and advocacy for survival Sex Workers in Vancouver.  We support and serve the city’s most marginalized populations; people who often fall through the cracks due to ineligibility for services that require a fixed address or sobriety can access our services. PACE promotes safer working conditions by reducing harm and isolation through education and support. We believe that Sex Workers are valuable members of our community and are entitled to the same rights as all other human beings. We envision a future where all Sex Workers are free from the risk of violence, discrimination, social stigmas and harms so they may enjoy the same rights as all other Canadian citizens, including the rights to life, liberty, security of the person and equal protection under the law.  We hope for long-term commitments to social change within all levels of government and individual citizens to eradicate systemic issues that lead to survival sex work such as poverty, homelessness, health and addictions so that individuals can make safe, healthy and informed decision in their lives.

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