Yoko Matsuno was born in Gifu prefecture, Japan and started taking dance lessons when she was 4 years old. She liked it so much that she decided to proceed with the intensive study to master the art form through the Nishikawa school of Japanese classical dance. In 1962, she received her “natori” (professional dance name), Nishikawa Kayo. Yoko not only dances but also plays the shamisen, a three-stringed instrument used for accompanying dance. In 1973 she became a certified shamisen player specializing in the “nagauta” style and received another stage name, Katsuyuya Kineya.
In 1976, she started teaching Japanese dance to members of the Japanese-Canadian community. The following year, she began teaching “matsuri-ondo” (festival dancing) for the Powell Street Festival and the Japanese-Canadian Centennial celebration. (She has lead the cultural impact of this art and introduced it to virtually people all over Canada.
Through dance and kimono dressing, Yoko has been introducing Japanese culture to the Canadian community for many years, and has contributed to the enrichment of the greater community. As recognition for her 40 years of activity, Yoko was the recipient of the 2016 Nikkei Place Community award and 2018 Kiyukai Distinguished Services Award.