Born in Tohoku, the northeast of Japan, Koko Kikuchi has been involved in Katari almost since its inception. He specializes in the folktales of his native region of Iwate, northern Japan. Aisha Masaoka is currently running her own home daycare. She is a mother to a sweet 5-year-old boy and 2-and-a-half-year-old girl. She recently moved to Listowel, Onario and is enjoying the small town life. Yusuke Tanaka is a veteran translator, writer, and director of the Katari since 1994. He has been telling Ainu people’s stories and his own adaptations of Japanese folklore in many places around the world, including New York, Seoul, Kyoto, Tokyo and Sapporo. Noriko Yamamoto is a professional dancer, mime, silent storyteller, and visual artist. Since moving to Toronto from Tokyo in 1994, Noriko has added Nia to her repertoire. She performs regularly at schools, libraries, festivals, and at various other events. Nathalie Vachon is a writer/storyteller and painter whose work is described as whimsical, magical, and heartwarming. She lived in Osaka for a year and a half and loves to share, hear stories, and travel back into memories of Japan and Asia. Rui Umezawa is a Toronto writer and storyteller. His novel The Truth About Death and Dying was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize for Best First Book. His past participation in Katari inspired his latest publication, Strange Tales Afar: Tales of the Supernatural from Old Japan.