Director, Programs & Partnerships
Kaoru Utada is the Director of Programs & Partnerships at the U.S.-Japan Council (Japan), working out of the Tokyo Office. She is a Japanese American Shin-Nisei (new second generation) “reverse import” originally from the Big Apple (NYC) with ancestral roots in Yamaguchi and Tokyo. She is also part of the inaugural class (2010) of the USJC Emerging Leaders Program. Kaoru first joined the team in 2012, taking on various roles in TOMODACHI where she developed and managed over 20 programs, created a new wing for alumni engagement, and provided opportunities for students and young professionals to be empowered to take on leadership roles and be engaged in U.S.-Japan relations. Prior to joining USJC, Kaoru worked for close to ten years in the broadcast news industry where she directed and produced news segments at both American and Japanese television networks (ABC News, Fuji TV, and NHK) covering a wide variety of topics related to social, economic, political, and international news. Kaoru also founded the Hoshuko Alumni Association, Inc. (HAA, Inc.) a 501(c)3 nonprofit that unifies young bilingual bicultural Japanese Americans who have been educated in the Japanese Weekend School system across the 50 states and beyond. She's passionate about helping others and also volunteers her time to disaster response and was motivated to move to Japan after her time helping out in the Tohoku Region after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Kaoru is an alumna of Skidmore College with a BA in Asian Studies and Psychology.