The Kizuna Board of Directors has launched a search for a new executive director to lead the organization as it continues to build a future for the Japanese American community through education, empowerment and engagement of the next generation.

Kizuna seeks a strategic and innovative leader who is dedicated to its mission and values, and can lead the organization into its next phase of growth. A search committee composed of board members and advisory council members has been formed to lead the search efforts.

Michelle Yamashiro

After serving as Kizuna’s founding executive director, Craig Ishii stepped down from the organization in April. “We are incredibly grateful for Craig’s vision, enthusiasm and dedication to Kizuna these past seven years,” said Janet Hiroshima, Kizuna board chair. “We thank Craig for his leadership and commitment to the organization, and grateful for the strong foundation he has built in ensuring that Kizuna’s legacy continues for future generations.”

In the interim, the Board of Directors has appointed Michelle Yamashiro, Kizuna’s program director, as interim executive director. In this role, she will oversee day-to-day operations during the search and assist the board during the transition.

Kizuna’s office is located in the heart of Little Tokyo. Kizuna’s programs serve multi-generations from kindergarten age to adults, and are focused on building a leadership pipeline in Southern California and beyond. The organization has also initiated programs in Seattle, San Jose and Salt Lake City.

The job posting for the executive director position can be found on the Kizuna website at Qualified applicants are encouraged to submit a cover letter and resume to

Kizuna was founded in 2011 to address a need for next-generation involvement in the Japanese American community. Kizuna’s mission is to build a future for the community through the education, empowerment and engagement of the next generation. Kizuna has the largest network of programs for Japanese American community and programs teach the importance of culture, traditions, giving back, philanthropy and community engagement.

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