Urinetown, Youth Theatre Northwest
Mimi firmly believes in the power of theatre to transform and connect people. Originally from Tokyo, Mimi came to the US as a foreign student in 1983 and never left. After four decades (gulp!), she now has two degrees, is bilingual, and has acquired skills and life experience in directing, choreography, teaching, performing, and producing, which is far beyond what she imagined for herself when her journey began.
Mimi is drawn to works that involve strong ensemble and physical expressions, as well as stories that are Japanese or Japanese-related. She looks for collaborative opportunities with like-minded artists to tell stories that need telling in a safe, playful environment. Through her work at Youth Theatre Northwest, Mimi also cultivates the next generation of artists and arts patrons who are confident, empathetic, and creative.
Still firmly connected to her native country, Mimi actively looks for opportunities to bridge her two cultures. She has brought Japanese artists to Seattle, and Seattle artists to Japan for teacher and student workshops. She also creates opportunities for Japanese college students through internships. She has a Japanese podcast with her long time colleague Minako Ikeuchi, a voice coach for professional actors in Japan, to talk about actor training and cultural differences in theatrical environments.
She is forever grateful to her parents who broke the mold of Japanese parenting and let her go at such a young age and hopes to honor their wish they had for her in her work. Above all, Mimi feels her biggest accomplishment is her role of being a wife and a mother to endlessly compassionate, weird, and funny people.